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Our 2025 goals

To reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 40%

To purchase 100% of the electricity we use from renewable sources

Data growth

Mobile data traffic has grown over the past five years1 and will continue to rise at a rapid rate.

It is predicted that:

  • by 2020, mobile data traffic will be equivalent to 15 times the volume of all data carried in the global internet in 20051;
  • global IP traffic will increase nearly 100-fold by 2020 from 20051; and
  • there will be an increase to 5 billion mobile internet users and 9 billion mobile connections by 2025, up from 3 and 7.8 billion respectively in 20172.

67% increase anticipated in mobile internet users between 2017 and 2025

We will meet our targets through a combination of further investment in energy efficiency initiatives across our networks, particularly in power supply and cooling, and moving towards purchasing 100% of our electricity from renewable sources.

Optimising our energy consumption through efficiency measures

As customer demand for data continues to grow at a rapid rate, ever-greater demands are placed on our access networks and technology centres. We are prioritising new and existing measures to increase our energy efficiency in order to reduce the GHG emissions associated with our operations.

We are committed to improving energy efficiency in our base station sites and in our technology (data and switching) centres, which together account for the vast majority of our total global energy consumption.

This year, we focused on implementing improved efficiency savings for power supply and cooling systems at our sites. We use large numbers of servers and other network equipment to manage the vast amount of data passing across our networks and the heat generated by all of those devices can be significant. Too much heat will destroy components and lead to network failure. Cooling technologies are therefore an essential part of our energy strategy.

 Network base station sitesTechnology centresOfficesRetail
20163,8171,73143857
20174,0231,73738552
20184,0311,80634056

The amount of energy our business uses varies across our operations

65%

for

Our base station sites

29%

for

Our technology centres

5%

for

Our offices

1%

for

Our retail stores

Optimising our power-intensive equipment

We work with our equipment vendors to ensure that increased demand and business growth do not result in a similar percentage increase in electricity usage.

Using adiabatic cooling solutions in hot climates

We have been using free-air cooling systems in many of our technology centres for several years. They are more cost and energy efficient than conventional air conditioning solutions but are not always effective in hot climates. To address this limitation, we are introducing adiabatic cooling systems.

Moving to 100% renewable electricity

We rely on on-grid power sources for most of our energy needs. To date, the proportion of our electricity taken from renewable sources accounted for just 13% of the energy we use. Our new goal will help us to drive the use of an ever-increasing amount of renewable energy over the coming years.

Having set a new target to purchase 100% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2025, we need to play an active role in stimulating the expansion of renewable power generation capacity. We will do this by:

  • signing power purchase agreements (PPAs) with developers and suppliers of renewable energy assets to procure longer-term energy contracts;
  • purchasing renewable electricity backed by renewable energy certificates (RECs) – market-based instruments issued to power generators to track renewable electricity production and consumption; and
  • purchasing RECs for the equivalent electricity consumed to support an equal supply of renewable electricity production.
Grid electricityGrid renewable energyOn-site renewable energyDiesel and petrolOther
20164,9047127301120
20175,094692731986
20185,015804932283

Increasing integration of renewable energy into national grids

The expansion of renewable energy sources for on-grid electricity generation is a critical aspect of efforts to mitigate climate change. However, two of the most common renewable sources – wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) generation – fluctuate in efficiency depending on weather conditions. This inconsistency of supply has important implications for national power transmission grids that must be able to route electricity from power stations dynamically to make up any shortfall in capacity.

Solar-powered headquarters in Lesotho

This year we opened our first green building in Lesotho – the new Vodacom Lesotho headquarters in Maseru. Thanks to an array of solar panels on the roof, the building utilises on-site renewable energy. In Vodacom Lesotho, more than 25% of our telecommunications network is powered by on-site solar panels.

Our greenhouse gas emissions

Our total 2018 global GHG emissions, including emissions over which we have direct control (Scope 1) and emissions from purchased electricity (Scope 2), were 2.58 million tonnes of CO2e. This was an increase of just over 1%, predominately as a consequence of a slight increase in our energy consumption and increased use of carbon-intensive on-grid power sources elsewhere.

We are also working to analyse our Scope 3 emissions, which are the indirect emissions over which we have no direct control, but may be able to influence. They include emissions from our suppliers when providing us with goods and services, emissions from our joint ventures over which we do not have operational control, and emissions associated with the use of our products and services by our customers.

Our efforts to reduce Scope 3 emissions are concentrated where we believe we can make the biggest impact: our suppliers, joint venture businesses and business travel.

Scope 1Scope 2Total
20160.3922.54
20170.3922.54
20180.3822.58

Our contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Our approach is contributing to SDG 13

SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

We are also contributing to SDG 7

SDG 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Find out more about our contribution to the UN SDGs
SDG 4: Quality education SDG 5: Gender equality SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure SDG 13: Climate action

We believe we can have the greatest impact on five of the UN SDGs through our networks, products and services and through the work of the Vodafone Foundation.

Our commitments to reduce our GHG emissions, move to renewable electricity sources and improve our energy efficiency particularly support SDG 13, which is focused on climate action, and SDG 7, which includes a focus on clean energy. In parallel, our Internet of Things (IoT) services play a significant role in helping our customers meet their own commitments to the SDGs, enabling them to operate more efficiently and reduce their GHG emissions.

References

  1. Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) 2016
  2. GSMA The Mobile Economy 2018