Vodacom Group is strengthening its partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) South Africa by embarking on a project to help restore and conserve healthy oceans and ensure the sustainable production and consumption of seafood. This project aligns with Vodacom’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by using digital innovation (SDG 9) to address sustainable patterns of consumption and production (SDG 12) to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for the benefit of future generations (SDG 14).
According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), more than a billion people around the world rely on seafood as their main source of protein, and more than 300 million are directly or indirectly employed by the fisheries sector.
“Due to overfishing, illegal and unregulated fisheries, and the impact of climate change and pollution, our oceans are in peril with many species completely depleted. It is clear that large-scale environmental and socio-economic interventions are needed to mitigate the effects of climate change and overfishing. However, these interventions will only be effective if individual behaviours begin to shift. For instance, a key part of the partnership will be the expansion of the WWF-South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative’s (WWF-SASSI) network of young influencers and role models, who are committed to acting as ambassadors and advocating for the oceans”, says Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for External Affairs at Vodacom SA.
Critical to the WWF partnership is leveraging the power of technology to enhance awareness and ocean literacy while encouraging pro-environmental decision-making and action. To this end, Vodacom will use its technological capabilities to digitalise educational resources and launch a fish identification application for learners and in training WWF-South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative’s (WWF-SASSI) chefs. The project aims to build a critical mass of informed seafood consumers who will increase demand for sustainable seafood and help safeguard our oceans.
“We are committed to providing innovative technologies and digital solutions to assist with this and also believe that partnerships are critical in helping save the environment,” adds Netshitenzhe.
For 22 years, the Vodacom Foundation has been committed to supporting education with the belief that technology is a critical enabler throughout the learning process. Equitable access to robust and quality education will form part of the foundation for South Africa’s future. The partnership with WWF South Africa further contributes to the Vodacom ICT strategy and commitment to education. By incorporating environmental education into the Vodacom Mobile Education Programme and providing online training courses, youth and future leaders will be empowered to make informed and environmentally sound decisions that will have a positive impact on the environment.
Our oceans are the heart of our planet. They cover more than two thirds of the earth’s surface and play a critical role in fighting climate change by releasing oxygen into the atmosphere and absorbing and storing carbon dioxide.
The WWF-South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (WWF-SASSI) is a flagship ocean conservation programme that has been running for 16 years with support from a range of different partners, including NGOs, aquariums, zoos, universities, government, education institutions and other public interest groups. The programme is based on behaviour change solutions to encourage consumers to make more informed and sustainable decisions when choosing their seafood.
In addition, the project aims to build more resilient oceans and improve conservation through:
“The WWF mission is achieved by creating meaningful ways in which people and communities will conserve the world's biological diversity, ensure the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promote the reduction of pollution, responsible practices and sustainable consumption of natural resources,” says Pavs Pillay, Behaviour Change Lead and WWF-SASSI Manager.
“These ecological, social and economic challenges are complex. Transformational change requires collaboration and multi-pronged interventions. Hence partnerships with corporates such as Vodacom play such a key role in safeguarding our planets’ resources above and below the oceans, for now and into the future,” says Pillay.