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.
Our 2025 Goal
To reuse, resell or recycle 100% of our network waste
Managing waste across our business and network
We implement resource efficiency and waste management programmes in all our local markets in order to minimise emissions from the end-of-life treatment of network waste, IT equipment and other office waste. Our Group policy on waste management prioritises the reuse or recycling of unwanted equipment, safely and responsibly, to help keep resources in use for as long as possible, extracting the maximum value from equipment while in use and then recovering and re-using materials before recycling them responsibly.
Our electronic-waste (e-waste) impact includes network waste such as base station equipment, air conditioning units, cables, waste from handsets, routers, transmission equipment and device waste such as mobile phones, accessories and tablets.
Last year in our own operations, we generated an estimated 8,500 tonnes of waste and we recovered and recycled 93.9%. Globally, 99.5% of our network waste was sent for reuse and recycling.
Building a circular economy model for devices
As well as managing network waste, we are also working on ways to improve the reuse and repair of devices across our business.
A number of our markets operate trade-in and device buy-back schemes, drop-off boxes in retail stores, freepost return envelopes and repair services to encourage customers to repair or return their old devices and routers.
We recently announced a strategic partnership with Fairphone to offer the more ethical, reliable and sustainable Fairphone 3 to Vodafone retail customers in European markets including the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and Ireland by the end of 2019. Vodafone and Fairphone will also collaborate on best practice and share knowledge on key industry sustainability issues including the circular economy, electronic waste and responsible sourcing.
Our contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Our approach is contributing to SDGs:
Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
(our primary focus)
Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
(our primary focus)
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.