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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.

Our 2025 Goal

Managing waste across our business and network

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.

Our Group policy on waste management prioritises the reuse or recycling of unwanted equipment, safely and responsibly. We also seek 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.

This year in our own operations, we generated an estimated 9,500 tonnes of waste and we recovered and recycled 84.9%. Globally, 99.9% of our network waste was sent for reuse and recycling.

Working towards our network waste target

This year, 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 by not needing to purchase new items.

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)

SDG 12

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Our commitments to building a circular economy model and tackling e-waste support SDG 13, which includes a target specifically focused on reducing waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse.

We believe we can have the greatest impact on five of the UN SDGs through our networks, products and services and through the work of the Vodafone Foundation.

Find out more about our contribution to the UN SDGs

Learn more about?our enviromental impact

Enabling customers to reduce their emissions

Helping customers to manage their energy use more efficiently and in turn reduce their emissions.

Reducing emissions in our operations

This year we have increased our target to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with our operations.

Download our Annual Report 2020

which provides detail on our sustainable business strategy, approach, focus areas and progress

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