Reducing emissions in our operations
We are committed to be net zero for emissions of our operations by 2040.
We have set a Science Based Targets initiative approved 2040 target in line with reductions required to keep warming to below 1.5c. Vodafone is the first major telecoms operator to follow the emission reduction pathway developed for the ICT sector which sets out specific emissions reduction trajectories for mobile, fixed and data centres.
Despite ever-growing use of data and expansion of our networks, this year, our total Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions decreased by 30% to 1.37 million tonnes of CO2e, due to our ongoing focus on energy efficiency and an increase in the proportion of renewable electricity purchased.
We are committed to continually improving the energy efficiency of our base station sites and in our technology centres, which together account for 96% of our total global energy consumption. During FY21, we invested €65 million of capital expenditure in energy efficiency and on-site renewable projects across our business, which has led to annual energy savings of 135 GWh.
Our approach to reducing emissions
We have defined a hierarchy of actions which defines our approach towards meeting our commitments:
Our first principle is that it is best to to avoid energy consumption (and associated carbon emissions)
Focus includes purchasing more efficient equipment as we all as deploying cooling technologies for servers and other network equipment
On-site renewables and alternatives
Renewable generation on our sites (e.g. ground roof-top, car parks)
Zero carbon alternatives (EVs, f-gases, H fuel cells, bio fuels)
Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)
Long-term supply contracts with renewable developer
We estimate that by 2040, PPAs will cover approximately 20-40% of out electricity demand
Renewable Electricity Certificates (RECs)
Electricity with high quality RECs / Guaratees of Origin or renewable tariffs
Carbon removal offsets via credible certified sources, covering a maximum of 5% of owned emissions
This is our least preferred option
Optimising our energy consumption
We are committed to continually improving the energy efficiency of our base station sites and in our technology centres, which together account for [95%] of our total global energy consumption. During 2021, we invested €65 million capital expenditure in energy efficiency and on-site renewable projects across our business, which has led to annual energy savings of 135 GWh.
Our commitment to energy efficiency has been underpinned by the implementation of the ‘best-in-class’ ISO 50001 Energy Management System framework. To date, Germany, Spain, Albania, Ireland, UK, Greece and Turkey have been awarded certification, with other markets due to be implemented in the framework in the next year.
How we use energy at Vodafone
Key energy efficiency initiatives we have focused on during this year include:
sourcing and deploying more efficient network equipment and powering-down carriers during times of low traffic
gradually switching off the 3G network (which is typically 70% less energy efficient than 4G) and decommissioning legacy equipment in our core network
deploying high-density pods (modular blocks with concentrated power and cooling technology) to maximise the performance of servers and minimise cooling requirements within data centres
reducing energy demand by installing lower-energy power and cooling technologies
using AI algorithms in our passive infrastructure, allowing us to optimise energy use in cooling
We continue to work with eSight Energy to implement an energy data management system using data feeds from our electricity suppliers and from smart meters. This system is now live across 12 markets in Europe, with smart meters installed at 62,000 sites. This year, we developed additional functionality, including a module to validate energy savings from projects, forecasting of energy consumption, tenant billing reports and capacity and meter calibration reports.
Purchasing renewable electricity
This year, we spent approximately €760 million on purchasing electricity. During the year, 56% of our electricity purchased was from renewable sources (2020: 23%).
In July 2020, we committed that all of our European operations would be purchasing 100% renewable electricity no later than July 2021, significantly accelerating our previous target of 2025.
This year, 80% of our purchased electricity in Europe was from renewable sources (2020: 33%), and we are confident that we will meet our July 2021 target.
We currently have Power Purchase Agreements (‘PPAs’) in Spain and the UK. Electricity prices agreed under PPA contracts are broadly comparable to wholesale electricity prices and also provide us with more certainty, as well as helping to create new capacity within the markets. In addition, Italy, Germany, Ireland, Hungary, Romania, Spain, Greece and the Czech Republic all sourced Renewable Energy Certificates (‘RECs’) or tariffs during the year. The incremental cost of RECs (or their equivalent) is small in the context of our overall energy spend.
Our strategy in action
Contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals
We aim to build a inclusive and sustainable digital society. Through our connectivity and digital innovations (SDG 9) and through our partnerships (SDG 17) we can accelerate and scale delivery across multiple SDGs.