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Lessons in sustainability from MWC Americas

16 Nov 2021

By Editorial Team

For companies across a wide array of industries, meeting corporate sustainability goals is not just a branding exercise. It’s both a moral imperative and a critical business strategy.

At the recent Mobile World Congress Americas conference in Los Angeles, our Country Sales Manager for Vodafone Americas, Tarun Sheshraj Uppala, spoke alongside executives from VMware and IoT.nxt on a fascinating panel titled “Reducing your Carbon Footprint with Technology''.

It was clear from the animated discussion that we share a joint goal to find innovative ways to use technology to reduce carbon emissions. We caught up with Tarun to find out more.

Hi Tarun, can you tell us a bit more about how this opportunity came about?

At Vodafone Business, we’re passionate about this topic and have committed to reducing our carbon emissions across the business to net zero by 2030, and across our entire carbon footprint — supply chain, joint ventures, business travel, and all products — by 2040.

We have also committed to helping our customers reduce their carbon emissions by a cumulative total of 350 million metric tonnes globally by 2030 through the deployment of our IoT solutions.

We still have a lot of work to do to reach these goals, and it will take collaboration from our stakeholders, partners, and customers. That’s why it was so energising and inspiring to speak alongside Dr. Nicola Peill-Moelter, director of sustainability innovation at VMware, about what her company is doing to help its customers around the world fight climate change.

We were also joined by Eric Steller, President of Americas for IoT.nxt, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vodacom, our African mobile operator business.

What is Vodafone Business doing to make a difference?

At Vodafone Business, we’re helping our business customers in diverse sectors — from forestry and farming, to logistics, utilities, manufacturing, and transportation — deploy mobile-connected IoT sensors to save energy and reduce emissions.

For example, we have launched three projects targeted at understanding and protecting forests for future generations: Connected Forests, Forest-Connected Carbon Absorption, Smart Forest.

Meanwhile, our mobile cloud platform MyFarmWeb is empowering farmers to collect and visualise data gathered through agricultural IoT sensors to reduce water and fertilizer usage.

And our IoT Electric Car Recharging system is an app that provides electric vehicle owners with information about the location of nearby charging stations, helping to make cities greener and healthier with more efficiency.

These are just a few examples of how Vodafone is partnering with other companies and our customers to meet our commitment to the environment.

What was the highlight of Nicola’s presentation for you?

Nicola looked at the magnitude of the ICT sector’s global electricity consumption and carbon emissions and where we have opportunities to reduce them.

These ranged from more efficient 5G equipment and end user and IoT devices, to faster rollout of optical fiber and continued efficiency gains in data center operations.

She detailed how virtualisation of workloads, a technology pioneered by VMware in 1998, had helped to flatten the world’s data center energy consumption over the past decade despite more than a 12-fold increase in Internet traffic and 8-fold increase in workloads.

VMware is helping the telecommunications industry digitally transform its network infrastructure to realise similar gains.

The highlight of her presentation was the revelation that while the energy consumption of the ICT sector is large, roughly 5% of global electricity use, the promise of ICT sector-enabled solutions to achieve enormous energy and carbon efficiencies across all sectors including mobility, agriculture, buildings, manufacturing, and energy, far exceeds its own impact.

We hear our colleagues in Africa have used IoT to save more than 1,648,400 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions, is that right?

Yes, Eric provided some examples of how Vodacom is helping business customers in Africa to do just that by deploying smart IoT platforms to monitor water and energy use, as well helping cities track electricity use from streetlights and buildings.

In fiscal 2021, Vodacom Business had more than 160,000 smart metering solutions and over 616,000 smart logistics and fleet management solutions in use across Africa.

These IoT connections resulted in carbon savings of more than 1,648,400 metric tonnes of CO2 – the equivalent of 325,239 cars on the road for 12 months.

Working for a brighter future

The technology industry cannot solve climate change alone, nor can we do it with a piecemeal approach.

It will take technologists everywhere, working together toward a common goal to reduce carbon emissions.

At MWC Americas, Vodafone Business and VMware were not the only companies showcasing energy-saving and monitoring solutions, and we hope next year to see even more companies putting our planet first.

Discover more about our presence at MWC Americas and how we’re helping improve the way we live and treat our planet.

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