Building a circular economy
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 6,307 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.
Since launching at the start of 2020, we estimate that this has allowed for financial savings of over €10 million and enabled the avoidance of 1,250 tonnes of CO2e. We are currently assessing the possibility of expanding the solution to partner markets and other operators.
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.
Circular Electronics Partnership
Given a large part of the solution to drive circularity for devices depends on industry action, we recently joined the Circular Electronics Partnership, which brings together leaders across the value chain—from manufacturing, reverse logistics, material recovery to e-waste management—to drive circularity solutions for electronics.
Beyond what we can directly and indirectly influence, we also support societal change to more circular economy models. Digital and connected solutions are an essential part of the solution towards lower resource use and improved reuse and recycling.
We are also eliminating all unnecessary plastics and other disposable single-use items where there are lower impact alternatives across all our retail stores and offices.
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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