Welcome to the Sustainable Business Report 2015-16

Find our full report here with individual chapters available below, along with our other transparency reports.


Our new sustainable business strategy sets out our commitment to maximise the social and economic benefits our business can deliver while enhancing our strong commitment to corporate transparency.

Women's empowerment

Extending the benefits of mobile to a greater number of women to enable communities, businesses and economies to prosper while working to become the best employer for women.


Improving energy efficiency in our business while helping our customers do the same in order to tackle climate change.


Using our technology to help young people build new skills and find jobs while enhancing development opportunities for young people at Vodafone.

Principles and practice

Acting with integrity in everything we do, from working to prevent bribery and corruption, to respecting human rights and doing what’s right for our people.

Supply chain

Promoting good practice, integrity and transparency in our supply chain and keeping the people who work for and with us safe from harm.

Mobiles and health

Aiming to lead the industry in responding openly and transparently to address public concerns about mobile phones, masts and health.


Establishing clear governance and reporting systems to ensure accountability for delivering our strategy.

Making a difference

Empowering women in our workforce with our world-leading maternity policy

In 2015-16, we became one of the first companies in the world to offer a minimum maternity policy to employees at all levels of the company globally.

In every country where we operate, we are proud to offer new mothers at least 16 weeks fully paid maternity leave, followed by full pay for a maximum 30-hour week for the first six months on their return to work. This global policy sets a minimum benchmark - which is most relevant in those countries with little or no statutory maternity rights. Where there are statutory requirements we continue to meet or exceed these.

This year, over 1,700 of our employees went on maternity leave and were eligible to benefit from our new global maternity policy. The new policy has been very well received internally and externally; we won Company of the Year at the European Diversity Awards and a number of other multinational companies are now following our lead.

Read more about how we intend to extend the benefits of mobile to a greater number of women to allow them to prosper in the Women’s Empowerment chapter of our Sustainable Business Report.

Achieving carbon and cost savings through the smart grid in Spain

We are working with EDP HC ENERGÍA – one of Spain’s leading energy providers – to install more than 650,000 smart meters in homes across Spain, and have already installed over 450,000 meters. These smart meters empower customers to be in more control of, and ultimately reduce, their energy use and carbon emissions. Our technology is also enabling EDP HC ENERGÍA to take remote meter readings and identify faults without dispatching engineers, improving safety and efficiency while significantly reducing their transport costs and emissions.

Read more about how we are improving energy efficiency in our business while helping our customers do the same, in the Energy Innovation chapter of our Sustainable Business Report.

Bringing the gift of education to students in South Africa with Vodacom e-school

The Vodacom e-school programme which launched in 2015 is offering over 100,000 young South Africans from school grades four to 12, free access to interactive and engaging learning materials in all major subjects via their smartphones. All materials are accessible at no cost via a smartphone including free data access for Vodacom South Africa customers.

This online portal is endorsed by the South African Department of Basic Education and uses mobile technology to build on the standard school syllabus, bringing education to students from all backgrounds.

Read more about how we intend to help young people build new skills and find jobs in the Youth Skills and Jobs section of the Sustainable Business Report.

‘Thank you is enough’ in Ghana

Our Thank you is enough campaign in Ghana was created to spread the message among employees, customers and communities that a simple expression of gratitude is all that is ever expected by anyone working for Vodafone.

In Ghanaian culture it is common to provide a small amount of cash as a tip for good service in different environments beyond restaurants, including retail stores operated by Vodafone. Such gestures by our customers, although clearly well-intentioned, are not consistent with our policy of not offering or accepting cash gifts. The campaign is designed to help everyone understand that a simple “thank you” really is all our employees expect and is helping to protect employees and customers against any perceived impropriety.

Read more about our approach to operating responsibly in the Principles and Practice chapter of our Sustainable Business Report.

Promoting motorcycle safety with 'No Helmet, No Ride' in India

We embarked on a series of campaigns to promote motorbike safety for all those who work for us or on our behalf in India, where the number of road fatalities per capita is over five times higher than in the UK.

The ‘No Helmet, No Ride’ campaign in Vodafone India focuses on the importance of wearing a helmet at all times, for both drivers and pillion passengers. Supplying high visibility gear and offering defensive-driver training also aims to further limit the risks that our employees and contractors face on the roads.

Read more about how we work to keep our people safe from harm in the Supply Chain Integrity and Safety chapter of our Sustainable Business Report.

Improving transparency in our supply chain with Labor Link

We are the first telecoms operator in the world to collaborate with the international non-profit organisation, Good World Solutions, to use their Labor Link service to gather confidential and unbiased feedback directly from workers in our supply chain.

Their simple mobile phone-based survey enables workers to respond to pre-recorded questions in their local language at any time and from any location, providing us with important insights into the working hours and working conditions in our supply chain.

During 2015-16, more than 2,500 employees across eight Tier 2 supplier factories were provided with access to Labor Link so they could tell us about their working conditions. Their responses offered important insights that enabled us to focus on specific areas in order to bring practices back in line with our Code of Ethical Purchasing.

Read more about promoting good practice, integrity and transparency in our supply chain in the Supply Chain Integrity and Safety chapter of our Sustainable Business Report.

GRI Index

GRI Index

Our Sustainable Business Report 2015-16 is benchmarked against the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 sustainability reporting guidelines. The GRI standards on sustainability reporting and disclosure ensure that businesses report on the most critical and material sustainability issues.

Previous reports

Previous Reports

Visit our report archive to view and download previous Sustainable Business Reports.

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