CSR And Sustainability Spotlight: Vodafone

13 Aug 2021 | 03.00 pm

CSR And Sustainability Spotlight: Vodafone

Vodafone's Irish operations 100% powered from renewables

13 Aug 2021 | 03.00 pm

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At Vodafone Ireland, we aim to connect for a better future and have identified several goals to reduce our environmental impact, while continuing to build an inclusive and sustainable digital society – supporting our customers with greener choices here in Ireland and across all our markets.

The issue of climate change is something that we must all tackle together. It cannot be de-prioritised, and it is imperative that global companies show leadership in this area. Urgent and sustained action is required, and businesses’ success should not come at a cost to the environment. At Vodafone Ireland, we believe that, as a society, we must look to new thinking and smart solutions to reduce our carbon footprint. Digitalisation plays a decisive role in this respect.

Green Network

Vodafone customers across Ireland can be assured that the connectivity that they use is now entirely green, as our entire Irish operations – mobile and fixed networks, data centres, retail stores and offices – are now 100% powered by electricity from renewable sources. This has been achieved four years ahead of our target, and it is a major landmark on our journey to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2030. Vodafone’s entire European operations are also powered by electricity from renewable sources, following an investment of €65m in 2020.

Reducing Waste, Circular Thinking

Our ambition now is focused towards committing to net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, and we pledge to reuse, resell or recycle 100% of our network waste by 2025. All of the network equipment in Ireland is recycled or reused by another market, with 11,455kg sent for recycling between 2019 and 2020. On average, every adult in Ireland has two devices that he or she no longer uses, with 4.9 million smartphones shelved. We are encouraging our customers to use our Fix and Go device repair centres and trade-in offers, as part of our circular-economy strategy.

We are also one of four main operators in Europe to launch a new, pan-industry Eco Rating labelling scheme for mobile phones, to help consumers and suppliers make sustainable choices. As part of this initiative, we have launched an eco-friendly accessory range, which includes phone covers for all major handsets, as well as charging banks and docks. All products are made from sustainable materials and come in plastic-free packaging.

Vodafone has also become the first mobile operator in Ireland to offer eSIMs to our customers on 25 of our top devices. Virtual SIM cards provide the same service as a physical SIM, but they reduce carbon emissions by eliminating the need to manufacture and ship the associated plastic.

Digital Solutions

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are all leveraging connectivity and technology to a greater extent, both personally and professionally, to stay connected. This has resulted in a halving of harmful emissions from the reduction of traffic on our roads.

As such, greater adoption of technology by businesses and governments could see a significant step change in tackling our overall carbon emissions in the near future. Through our partnership with Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR), we have launched Ireland’s first 5G standalone Mobile Private Network (MPN). We can now test and trial new solutions alongside Irish manufacturers that will revolutionise the industry, through a greater use of robotics and automation, and, in turn, provide greener methods of working. In time, such solutions will transform every industry, most public services, and many aspects of consumers’ daily lives.

We are confident that we can go even further. Vodafone is committed to working with government and industry to help incorporate a broader role for digitalisation, to help facilitate the move to a digital, green and more inclusive society.

Photo: CEO and Chair at Vodafone Ireland Anne O’Leary (Pic: Naoise Culhane)

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