We believe society needs to move to a more efficient, circular economy focused on eliminating waste.
Vodafone is committed to playing our part in this transition.
As technology continues to develop at ever-faster speeds, and as populations and living standards increase, networks continue to be upgraded and the devices we use become redundant more quickly.
According to the UN, up to 90% of the world’s electronic waste, worth nearly €16.5 billion, is illegally traded or dumped each year.
Of this, less than 20% is recycled and only 5% of all metals used in electronics are typically recycled. E-waste is a significant and growing environmental issue. For example, in the US e-waste accounts for 2% of all waste but 70% of toxic waste.
Managing waste across our business and network
Vodafone is committed to eliminating all unnecessary plastics and other disposable single-use items where there are lower impact alternatives across all our retail stores and offices.
Last year in our own operations, we generated an estimated 8,483 tonnes of waste. Globally, 99% of our network waste was sent for reuse and recycling.
To support our goal to reuse, resell or recycle 100% of our network waste, we launched Asset Marketplace, a business-to-business solution within Vodafone that allows us to re-sell and repurpose large decommissioned electrical items like masts and antennae, helping us reduce carbon emissions and resource use by not needing to purchase new items.
We have started to extend the scope of Asset Marketplace to partner markets and to assess alternative procurement models to increase circularity beyond Vodafone. With the aspiration to develop an industry-wide circular economy, we are also initiating collaboration with other operators via cross-industry forums, such as the Joint Audit Committee (JAC).
Building a circular economy for devices
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 taking 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.
Most of our markets operate trade-in and device buyback schemes and repair services to encourage customers to repair or return their old devices. For example, this year, Vodafone UK launched a phone trade-in tool accessible via the MyVodafone app. The tool assesses device eligibility and provides a guaranteed trade-in price, encouraging greater trade-in rates.
We strive to refurbish and reuse fixed-line equipment multiple times, with significant associated environmental and cost savings.
Partnering with WWF
In 2022, we established our partnership with WWF, that will support Vodafone’s goals to reduce carbon emissions to ‘net zero’ by 2040, help to eliminate e-waste and encourage a more circular economy for mobile phones.
We are working together with WWF on a new programme – to collect one million phones for the planet. This programme aims to increase the number of used mobile phone devices returned to Vodafone for trade-in, donation or recycling. Increasing used phone recycling rates helps to build a more circular economy for mobile devices. Our campaign with WWF raises consumer awareness of the environmental benefits of returning used devices. It will also enable Vodafone to establish processes for more mass-market collection of used devices through our retail stores, which will help to develop one aspect needed for a circular system for devices at scale. Insights from the campaign will support Vodafone to accelerate and refine our circular economy strategy.
Our strategy in action
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Contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals
We aim to build a inclusive and sustainable digital society. Through our connectivity and digital innovations (SDG 9) and through our partnerships (SDG 17) we can accelerate and scale delivery across multiple SDGs.
Vodafone provides women with access to life-enhancing services which help to unlock socio-economic opportunities and help to address inequality. We also champion the inclusion of women in the workplace.
Vodafone is committed to helping people develop their skills in order to address the mismatch between future workplace needs and the current skills of the new generation.
Vodafone is committed to continuing to make significant investments in the network infrastructure, coverage and quality, allowing individuals and businesses to connect confidently anywhere and at any time.
Read about our planet focus areas
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