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Sustainable business

We connect for a better future by enabling inclusive and sustainable digital societies.

Vodafone recognises that its role in society is more vital than ever. We are committed to building a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable digital society where everyone is connected.

Our networks keep family, friends, businesses and governments connected, and we play a vital role in keeping economies running and the functioning of critical sectors like education and healthcare.

At the core of our purpose is our commitment to sustainability.

Our sustainable business strategy helps us deliver our targets across three purpose pillars and ensures Vodafone acts responsibly and ethically, wherever we operate.

Our purpose pillars are digital society, inclusion for all, and planet.

We are also committed to supporting the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (‘SDGs’).

Our strategy

Our sustainable business strategy outlines our commitments and goals to help drive positive change for the planet and humanity.

Delivery of our sustainability strategy is embedded in Vodafone’s overarching social contract, which describes the difference we make in supporting the communities where we operate.

Our social contract is integral to helping us drive forward our sustainability initiatives with a structured and coherent approach. It enables us to create new partnerships with governments and other stakeholders to overcome some of our customers and societies’ most critical challenges.

In return, we want governments, policy-makers and regulators to adopt a pro-investment, pro-innovation approach to allow network operators to make sufficient returns on their investments.

Furthermore, in responding to the pandemic–specifically through the five-point plan we implemented in Europe and the six-point plan in Africa–our social contract has accelerated the delivery of our sustainable business goals.

Our purpose is also the basis of our new brand positioning, ‘Together we can’.

It conveys our belief that technology and innovation can help millions of people and their communities to stay connected. We feel positively about the opportunity technology gives us all when combined with the right human spirit.

We believe by harnessing technology and innovation—we can support millions of people and their communities to stay connected.

Our purpose pillars

Our purpose pillars outline our commitments and goals to enabling a fairer, greener and more inclusive digital society.

To achieve our sustainable business goals, we have identified three purpose pillars:

Inclusion for all

Enabling the digital society to be accessible to all, with no one left behind.

Planet

Ensuring commercial success does not come at a cost to the environment.

Digital society

Connecting people, places and things through gigabit fixed and mobile networks

Materiality matrix

In order to identify material and emerging issues to be addressed by our company and in alignment with external and internal stakeholder expectations, we performed a materiality analysis using Datamaran: cloud-based software which supports a comprehensive data-driven process for monitoring external risks, including ESG. Datamaran offers real-time analytics on strategic, regulatory and repetitional risks and opportunities. This helps to strengthen our understanding of ESG, geopolitical, technology and emerging issues.

Datamaran’s materiality analysis leverages artificial intelligence and external data to allow companies to identify their organisation’s material issues. The system gathers data across a series of key sources based on peer groups, jurisdictions, regulators, web sources, news and social media influencers. The assessment also included an employee survey to understand the views of internal stakeholders.

The results and further details on each of the issues analysed in the assessment are presented in the matrix below.

Datamaran sourceStakeholderScope of analysis
BenchmarkPeersMost recently published sustainability and financial disclosures across our sector in the markets in which we operate
RegulationMandatory initiatives (public policy-makers) and voluntary initiatives (NGOs)Mandatory and voluntary regulatory initiatives applicable to companies across our sector in the markets in which we operate
News flowMediaInternational news articles related to non-financial issues within our sector in the markets in which we operate
SocialPublic opinionAny tweet related to non-financial issues

Governance

The Executive Committee has overall accountability to the Board for Vodafone’s sustainable business strategy and regularly reviews progress. In addition, each pillar of our purpose has an executive-level sponsor: Digital Society (Vinod Kumar, CEO Vodafone Business), Inclusion for All (Serpil Timuary, CEO Europe Cluster) and Planet (Joakim Reiter, Group External Affairs Director).

On 11 May 2021, the Board formally approved the establishment of a new Committee of the Board, the ESG Committee. The objectives of the ESG Committee include the oversight of Vodafone’s ESG programme: Purpose (Inclusion for All; Planet; and Digital Socei ty), sustainability and responsible business practices, as well as Vodafone’s contribution to the societies we operate in under the social contract.

The Committee also monitors progress against key performance indicators and external ESG index results.

Key stakeholder interests considered:

  • Investors: strong ESG governance has become a key requirement of an ESG programme.

  • Governments and regulators: ensure compliance with local and international legal and regulatory obligations.

  • Local Communities and NGOs: ESG matters affect the day-to-day lives of the people in our local communities.

  • Suppliers and customers: seek high ethical standards to be upheld end-to-end in the supply chain.

  • Employees: seek protection from health and safety risks, but also take pride in being part of our commitment to ESG matters.

Decision-making:

The Board believed that the ESG Committee will promote the long-term success of Vodafone, for the benefit of its members as a whole and our key stakeholders, by providing the Board with enhanced oversight of ESG matters.

The establishment of a new ESG Committee is a strong signal to all our key stakeholders, and wider society, of the strength of Vodafone’s commitment to its ESG programme and goals, and enhances the commitments made in the social contract

Our approach to responsible business

To underpin the delivery of our purpose, we ensure that we operate in a responsible way. We understand that acting ethically, lawfully and with integrity is critical to our long-term success.

We are committed to:

Protecting Data

Customers trust us with their data and maintaining this trust is at the heart of everything we do.

Protecting People

We are also conscious of the risks associated with our operations and we work hard to mitigate negative impacts, ensuring we keep people safe.

Business Integrity

We are committed to ensuring that our business operates ethically, lawfully and with integrity wherever we operate.

Contributing to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, the United Nations launched 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.

The UN SDGs provide a blueprint for human progress and a clear call to action for businesses to contribute to a better future.

By leveraging our technology and services and partnering with others, we can increase the speed and scale of delivery across many SDGs.

To maximise our impact on UN SDG’s we are committed to:

Strengthening access to connectivity so that everyone—whoever they are and wherever they live—has access to reliable and affordable internet.

Building digital innovations such as IoT solutions and digital platforms like M-Pesa contribute to sustainable development across various sectors, including manufacturing, transport, health, agriculture, education, and energy.

Fostering new models of cooperation through building partnerships between business, governments, international organisations and civil society to deliver process and scale—connecting the unconnected.

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