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Image-Sustainable Device Lifecycle Management-H

Sustainable Device Lifecycle Management: reducing the environmental cost of smartphones and tablets

26 Nov 2021
Image-Person-Gareth Hurn

Gareth Hurn

Head of Mobility Portfolio, Vodafone Business

Smart phones have been part of the business world for some time now but as the pandemic invites more flexibility in how and where we work, the use of mobile devices is only going to increase.

Bringing benefits such as a better work life balance, improved collaboration, and greater customer experiences, this change also results in fresh challenges. One of which is the growing problem of electronic waste.

E-waste refers to discarded products with a battery or plug and our landfills are full of them. In fact, smart phones alone contribute to approximately 10% of global e-waste[1]. The toxins released pollute the air and seep into soil and water, contaminating us and the environment.

As we look to better protect our planet, it’s time to find a way to make the entire device lifecycle more sustainable.

Creating a circular economy

At the heart of the issue is a lack of public awareness, preventing countries from developing circular economies for electronic equipment – a model where resources are reused and recovered rather than disposed of at end of life.

In the UK alone, there are 55 million unused mobile phones lying around our homes[2]. That is why we already offer trade-in and buyback schemes such as drop off boxes in retail stores, freepost return envelopes and repair services to both consumers and businesses.

Through our Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) offering, businesses can extend the device lifetime of your end-of-contract mobile phones and tablets. After undergoing a secure data wipe and being restored to the original settings, they are either redeployed or refurbished.

This encourages a lease culture, where 94% of devices are returned and re-used and the other 6% are stripped down for precious metals for re-use.

Now, as part of our improved DLM offering, when new phones and tablets are leased, an equivalent number of scrap devices are also collected from Africa on a one-for-one basis and are shipped back to Europe for responsible recycling. This means the minerals go back into the value chain and e-waste is reduced.

Reducing and offsetting your carbon footprint

At Vodafone Business, we have committed to helping our customers save 350 million tonnes of CO2 emissions by 2030. Reducing e-waste is a big part of this, as it reduces landfill emissions, but by extending the life of devices we are able to cut manufacturing emissions too.

For example, in January 2020, our colleagues in Vodafone Group set up an internal asset marketplace to repurpose excess stock and decommissioned equipment. As a result, we have so far reused more than 26,000 individual items, saving the equivalent of 1,100 tonnes of CO2 that would otherwise have been created if new equipment had to be manufactured.

In addition, our new, greener DLM offering is now offsetting the carbon footprint of your mobile enterprise by investing in the Kasigau Corridor Redd+ Project which protects forests, wildlife and communities in Kenya.

Saving 13,900,000+ tonnes of CO2 emissions to date, the area protected has now expanded to over 200,000 hectares, which will offset 1.7 million tons of CO2 emissions per year over the next 30 years.

There is still a long way to go but our solution is already helping customers successfully reduce their carbon emission in line with their CSR ambitions.

Discover how you can become part of the circular economy and make your business more sustainable.

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