Vodafone’s global sustainability strategy is key to how we operate as a business. We’re always looking for ways to be more sustainable as a business, and how we can use technology to drive sustainable living for our customers around the world.
World Earth Day reminds everybody that the actions we take today impact the world we’ll see tomorrow. At Vodafone, we’re proud that our innovations, services and passionate people are helping to protect the one precious planet we’ve got, so we chatted to Sustainable Business Manager, Rebecca Cranshaw and Head of Sustainability and Transparency , Bobbie Mellor, about what we’re doing company-wide to preserve, nourish and respect our environment. Take a look!
Hi Rebecca, we’d love to hear some of the sustainability initiatives you’re involved with at Vodafone?
In my role, I help drive our sustainability agenda across Vodafone globally, to ensure we maintain momentum and leverage our global scale. Everyone involved is passionate about the environment and ensuring we do the right thing to look after it as a company.
This has been a fast-moving area, particularly over the last year. We’ve got several key initiatives underway: the upcoming COP 27 in Cairo and the launch of our circular economy plans (extending the life of mobile phones and ensuring handsets can be reused and recycled) for a start. Our carbon enablement plans with the Internet of Things (IoT) team at Vodafone Business, and our circularity project that will enable customers to trade in and recycle devices, are both really exciting as they have such huge potential to decarbonise.
How are we using technology at Vodafone to drive a sustainable future for communities and societies all around the world?
Many Vodafone programmes and initiatives are utilising technology to protect the planet, particularly using IoT devices. One great example is MyFarmWeb, which is accelerating the digitisation of farming. Decarbonising the agricultural industry will be key to meeting the global net-zero goals. MyFarmWeb gives farmers clear data points with which to make informed decisions that support crop and soil health while reducing water use.
Another really interesting area is the work our teams in Romania and the UK have begun on connected forests. In the UK we are using IoT to monitor tree growth and estimate how trees absorb and store carbon from the atmosphere, helping to understand the role forests play in tackling global warming. In Romania IoT is also helping to prevent illegal deforestation and protect nature.
Hi Bobbie, talk us through some of the key sustainability initiatives at Vodafone you’re particularly excited about right now?
As the Head of Sustainability and Transparency, I am lucky to have overall responsibility for designing and implementing Vodafone’s Sustainability and Social Impact strategy. This spans everything from reaching net-zero carbon emissions, to closing the global digital divide, to ensuring ethics and human rights are embedded throughout our business.
Two Sustainability initiatives I’m really excited about at the moment are our Circularity strategy to reduce our e-waste footprint, and our Carbon Enablement initiative to deploy our technology to help businesses reduce their own carbon emissions. Taken together, these initiatives should have a huge positive impact on the environment and contribute towards mitigating the climate crisis.
Our Executive Committee has been incredibly supportive of our Planet initiatives, allowing us to prioritise sustainability and integrate it into our core business strategy. Whether it’s switching to renewable energy, or reassessing our marketing plans to encourage sales of refurbished phones, the leadership at Vodafone are always open to ideas and initiatives that will have a positive impact on the environment and our societies. This even includes sponsoring me and three other women to row across the Atlantic in 2023 to raise awareness and funds to fight climate change – an amazing example of how Vodafone supports employees to pursue our passions whilst doing good for the planet!
What are some areas you’re seeing Vodafone use its technology and influence to protect the planet?
We have committed to enabling our business customers to reduce their own carbon emissions by a cumulative total of 350 million tonnes by 2030. We use our IoT technology to help them achieve this.
IoT enables organisations to become more efficient and reduce wastage through better monitoring and automation. Whether it’s agriculture, public transport, or a cosmetics supply chain, IoT can find a way to reduce carbon emissions. In the most recent financial year, we estimate that around 54% of our 123 million IoT connections directly enabled customers to reduce their emissions. This resulted in an estimated avoidance of 7.1 million tonnes of CO2e, which is 5.2 times the emissions generated from Vodafone’s own operations.
We also use our influence as a large company to drive forward the sustainability agenda in the technology and government community, by using responsible sourcing practices that encourage our suppliers to become more sustainable themselves.
Further to that, in 2021 we became a founding member of the European Green Digital Coalition. The Coalition brings ICT sector companies and EU policymakers together to drive investment in, and implementation of, digital solutions to climate change.
Happy World Earth Day everybody! Let’s all keep playing our part in protecting our beautiful planet.