The Climate, Cables and Advocacy – An Opinion

Kristian Nielsen of WFN Strategies discusses how and why the submarine cable industry needs to take steps towards sustainabilityBy Kristian Nielsen
May 26, 2021

Innovation has always been a tricky subject in our industry.

Technologically speaking, new transmission materials, armoring methods, terminal equipment, and terminal equipment have seen tremendous transformations over the 170 some odd years we have been laying cables. As innovation has been driven by demand for better faster and safer communications, this literal industrial revolution marvel has remained mostly unchanged in its methods since the first telegraph was laid in the 1850s.

Sure, the core is faster, the armor stronger and we’re shooting light instead of electrical impulses over glass instead of precious metals. But the core of how a cable is laid and how said cable is operated has remained largely unchanged.

Even today, the primary concern for innovations has been how to keep systems secure and fast with reliable uptime. Power consumption is a concern insofar as how to acquire it and maintain it.

In other technology-based industries there has been a groundswell of support for a new normal, a cleaner one, a sustainable one.

In my opinion, this very well established, best kept secret of the telecoms world, niche industry is at an intersectional point in time – we have the opportunity to pivot and make this world a genuinely better place.

What are we going to do about it?

On April 22, 2021, Earth Day, WFN Strategies was pleased to announce joining The Climate Pledge alongside Amazon, Verizon and over 100 other companies from across dozens of industries.

WFN Strategies is a long-time innovator in the submarine telecommunications industry, this felt a natural progression for us. Since 2001, we have been at the forefront of Polar and Offshore Energy fiber cable engineering, as well as attaining industry-first ISO certifications for Quality Management and Information Security. In an industry over 170 years old, they have in recent years set many industry firsts in engineering and management.

The submarine telecoms industry is due for a new change, one that is renewable and sustainable. From vessels burning fuel to lay cable, to powering the data centers those cables connect to, the telecommunications industry is replete with opportunities for positive change. WFN proposes to not only reach carbon neutral operations by 2040 but also become the industry champions for powering submarine cable systems with renewable sources.

Our unique position within this industry allows them to act as Green Evangelists with system suppliers, developers, and everyone within the supply chain.

“WFN has long committed to sustainable practices, ranging from volunteer work with the Scouting movement to supporting environmental conservation initiatives.” Said Wayne Nielsen, Managing Director. “With this Pledge, and with the ISO 14001 certification, we take our work into the global scale and refocus our efforts for Renewable Advocacy back into this tremendous and dynamic industry. It’s a very exciting time.”

To continue reading the rest of this article, please read it in Issue 118 of the SubTel Forum Magazine on page 64 or on our archive site here.