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How Vodafone is reducing its environmental impact and helping society decarbonise

6 Jun 2022Planet news
5 minute read

Yesterday’s World Environment Day had the theme Only One Earth and focused on the need to live sustainably, exploring how the world can shift to a greener lifestyle through both policies and individual choices.

Vodafone believes business success should not come at a cost to the environment, and we are committed to reducing the impact of our activities on the planet.

Our key planet goal is to reduce our own carbon emissions to ‘net zero’ by 2030, and across our full value chain by 2040. Our digital networks and technologies have a pivotal role in helping to save energy and reduce carbon emissions – for ourselves, but more crucially, as a critical enabler for our customers.

Although data consumption continued to rise in 2022 and our networks expanded to meet this demand, our total energy use this year declined slightly to 5,926 GWh (from 5,997 GWh in 2021).

Across our operations, during FY22 the total proportion of purchased electricity from renewable sources stood at 77%, up from 55% during the previous year.

As a result, our total Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions decreased by 23% to 1.09m tonnes of CO2e.

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In July 2021, we achieved a key milestone towards our goal of reaching net zero by 2040 when 100% of the electricity we use in our European markets comes from renewable sources – four years ahead of our original 2025 target. We are working to achieve the same step change in our African markets by 2025. In addition, we have Power Purchase Agreements in Spain, Greece and the UK, and recently announced a new solar PPA deal in the UK that goes live later this year.

Our approach is not only about buying electricity generated renewably, but places significant emphasis on finding and deploying innovative sustainable power solutions that we can deploy at scale and often in remote areas – such as self-powered mobile masts and micro turbines.


There are real examples of this innovation across Vodafone. In January 2022, Vantage Towers committed to installing more than 750 micro wind turbines across 52 sites in Germany, working in partnership with energy startup MOWEA. Vodafone UK, working with Crossflow Energy and Cornerstone has also begun a trial of self-powered mobile masts, using a combination of wind turbines, solar power and battery technology.

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Our ‘net zero’ target commits us to halving our Scope 3 emissions by 2030 (against a 2020 baseline) and fully abate them by 2040. Scope 3 emissions are indirect GHG emissions which we cannot control, but may be able to influence, including our joint ventures, purchased goods and services and the use of sold products.

In 2022, our total Scope 3 emissions were 9.2m tonnes CO2e compared to 9.4m tonnes in 2021. Our supply chain teams have introduced a new CO2 analytics dashboard that tracks progress against our reduction targets and helps our procurement team identify suppliers, markets and categories that contribute higher emissions.

We believe that our technology has a key role in enabling our customers to reduce their emissions, backed by a commitment to helping business customers reduce their carbon emissions by a cumulative total of 350m tonnes between 2020-2030.

Since setting this target in 2020, we estimate to have saved customers 22.7m tonnes of CO2e, savings driven by our IoT services including logistics, fleet management and smart metering. We estimate that nearly half (49%) of our 150.1m IoT connections directly enabled customers to reduce their own emissions in the last year, avoiding an estimated 15.6m tonnes CO2e – more than 14 times the Scope 1 and 2 emissions generated from our own operations.

Aside from carbon emissions, electronic waste is the largest material environment issue for Vodafone. Our goal is to reuse, resell or recycle 100% of our network waste by 2025. In 2022, we generated an estimated 8,800 tonnes of waste and we recovered and recycled 95% of it.

Through our internal asset marketplace, this year we estimate we’ve avoided more than 2,500 tonnes of CO2e and saved €10.8 million of spend as a result.

To build a fully circular economy, however, we also need to tackle device waste and encourage our customers to make more environmentally friendly choices. In February this year we announced our circular economy plan to help extend the life of mobile phones and increase the reuse and responsible recycling of handsets, starting in Europe.

We are offering our customers more ways to keep their existing devices working, including insurance, repairs and support. And we are rolling out a new digital platform that makes it straightforward for customers to agree trade-in options, which will in turn increase the range of refurbished devices we offer to customers.

We estimate that more than 50,000 tonnes of CO2e could potentially be avoided for every million smartphones we receive via trade-in that are subsequently refurbished or sold.

Last November, we kickstarted a consumer drive with our ‘Bring Back Friday’ campaign encouraging customers in several markets to return old devices to be recycled or refurbished, with customers receiving credit toward the purchase of a new device.


Our #SwitchToGreen brand campaign launched in April 2022 to raise awareness among customers, businesses and wider society of making greener choices through technology.

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We were proud to co-launch the new Eco Rating labelling scheme along with other European operators, helping mobile phone customers identify and compare the most sustainable device son the market. The scheme initially launched in 24 markets and has since rolled out in Latin American countries and by Vodacom in South Africa. More than 150 phones from 15 manufacturers have now been assessed by Eco Rating.

More broadly, we are part of the Circular Electronics Partnership, bringing leaders across the value chain together to drive industry action on circularity. This partnership has extended to 22 members including manufacturing, reverse logistics, material recovery and e-waste management.

This progress underscores Vodafone’s wider purpose to connect for a better future by using technology to improve lives and enable inclusive and sustainable digital societies.
You can read more about our Planet strategy and our Inclusion For All and Digital Society purpose pillars in our Annual Report 2022.

  • COP26
  • Digital for Green
  • Innovation
  • Net Zero
  • Planet
  • Reducing emissions
  • SDG 13
  • SDGs
  • Sustainability

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