Why this matters

For decades, scientists have been laying out how humanity is driving the three planetary crises: the climate crisis, the biodiversity crisis, and the pollution crisis, all linked to unsustainable production and consumption. Changes in consumption and production patterns can help promote decoupling of economic growth and human well-being from resource use and environmental impacts. It can also trigger the transformations envisaged by global commitments on biodiversity, climate and sustainable development at large. COVID-19 provides a window of opportunity to explore more inclusive and equitable development models underpinned by sustainable consumption and production.

In 2019, the amount of e-waste generated was 7.3 kg per capita, and only 1.7 kg per capita is documented to be managed in an environmentally sustainable manner. E-waste generation is expected to grow by 0.16 kg per capita annually to 9.0 kg per capita in 2030. The realized annual growth rate of e-waste recycling in the past decade was 0.05 kg per capita and will need to be more than 10 times higher to ensure recycling of all e-waste by 2030.

Content from the UN, read more here.

Our response

Apart from carbon emissions, electronic waste is a material environmental issue for our business. We have consistently sought to manage our own impact in a responsible manner and also support our customers with their efforts.

To deliver our 2025 goal to reuse, resell or recycle 100% of our network waste, we have launched an internal asset marketplace, a business-to-business solution within Vodafone that allows us to re-sell and re-purpose excess stock or large decommissioned electrical items like masts and antennae.

Apart from addressing our network waste, we are working on a series of actions to reduce device waste. We are increasingly adopting circular economy approaches and take a life-cycle management approach, which includes extending the lifespan of devices through repair, refurbishment and resale before encouraging the responsible recycling of devices at the end of their useful life.

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