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Protecting the planet

We provide connectivity and digital solutions that help to enable the climate transition and aim to empower others to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improve the efficiency of resource usage and protect nature.

We are working to minimise the environmental footprint of our operations, our value chain and our products and services and improving the circularity of the technology we use and sell. 

Responding to climate change Committed to a low-carbon future and playing our part in addressing the climate crises.

We address the global climate crisis through our efforts to mitigate and address our climate-related impact and risks.

At the core of our climate action, we are: 

  • Embedding climate change into our governance process
  • Assessing the actual and potential impacts of climate-related risks and opportunities on our business strategy to better understand and build resilience in the transition
  • Leveraging the Group’s enterprise-wide risk management framework, which includes identifying, assessing and responding to climate-related risks.

Managing climate-related risks and opportunities

Vodacom’s TCFD programme

The Group’s Climate and TCFD report includes our GHG emissions reduction strategy as well as additional information on our climate transition plan and associated activities. We validated our key climate risks and opportunities and participated in a global Vodafone risk review process.

Notable severe weather impacts

Climate change-related weather events are escalating, with cyclones and flooding impacting areas in southern Africa

  • We donate to support relief efforts, including providing daily hot meals, blankets, and personal hygiene items, among other essential items.
  • Our Foundations launched a campaigns to support affected communities, which included free calls, SMS and data, free money transfers through M-Pesa, and community recovery programs.

Advocating for change

Creating customer and employee awareness

Our RedLovesGreen journey aims to unite Vodacom, our customers and our partners to create environmental awareness and encourage action towards a more sustainable future. Through this, we communicate and educate for a positive impact on climate change.
Activities such as inter business challenges to recycle electronic waste take place across our OpCos to mark World Environmental Day. We also launched the Tweak Carbon Calculator in South Africa, a platform that supports employees with profiling their individual GHG emissions inventory.

Forging partnerships and collaborations

Partnerships are essential to addressing the climate and nature crises and reducing environmental impact. We work with global, regional and local partners to deliver on our planet strategy initiatives. We are a signatory of the UN Global Compact African Business Leaders Coalition’s climate statement, and we partner with organisations such as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

Read more in papers where we have collaborated on various business and sector initiatives:

  • GSMA: Energy Challenges for Mobile Networks in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • UNGC ABLC Policy blueprint paper

Delivering net zero operations (scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions) Increasing our efficiencies to reduce energy consumption and sourcing alternative energy to reduce our GHG emissions,

We are committed to working with the public and private sectors to reduce GHG emissions in the telecommunications sector.

As we move towards a more digital society, with increasing volumes of internet use and mobile data traffic, we are committed to reducing our GHG emissions in absolute terms, in line with what science requires to avoid catastrophic climate change. We are making progress towards net zero for our operations.

Our approach to energy management prioritises energy efficiency first, followed by onsite and offsite renewables, and finally, offset mechanisms.

Driving energy efficiencies

Managing network consumption

We manage network consumption by sourcing and implementing more efficient network equipment and reducing energy demand by:

  • Introducing energy-saving network features;
  • Modernising our network equipment and ancillary equipment like cooling; and
  • Designing and selecting energy-efficient equipment for new sites.


Managing building and technology-centre consumption 

We maintain best practices in our technology centres and properties by installing efficient cooling equipment, lighting and control systems, and ensuring good housekeeping. Ongoing energy efficiency initiatives include:

  • Hot and cold aisle containment where possible;
  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) upgrades are implemented where technology centres are due for refurbishment (with more advanced controls, including AI); and
  • Improved controls and configurations to reduce unnecessary use of equipment such as lighting and managing heating and cooling set points (for example, through a building management system).

Switching to renewables

Investing in onsite renewable energy

Our footprint of base stations extends across multiple geographies. Most electricity supply from these national grids is intermittent and suitable replacements for diesel generators are required.

Investing in offsite renewable energy 

We engage governments to facilitate the development of renewable energy infrastructure. By working with governments, we are creating new opportunities for renewable power purchasing in Africa, and building a more accessible market for renewables in regions where access to reliable, safe and environmentally friendly power has been challenging. 

Market-based instruments 

Purchasing RECs forms part of our energy management strategy in the following instances:

  • In countries where fossil fuel-based electricity consumption is high, where grid availability is low or full onsite conversion to renewable electricity supplies are limited; and
  • As an interim mechanism to achieve our renewable energy sourcing commitments until we find suitable renewable solutions.

Managing diesel use

Increased diesel consumption increases our scope 1 GHG emissions and impacts our ability to decarbonise. This further introduces reputational risk due to the noise and air pollution caused by diesel generators near communities.

In the short term, we focus on prioritising batteries over diesel generators. In the long term, we seek alternatives to diesel, including connecting offgrid sites to the grid where possible, deploying wind and solar where applicable, and exploring newer technologies such as microturbines and hydrogen fuel cells.

Managing scope 3 GHG emissions Engaging our supply chain to reduce our indirect GHG emissions.

Reliable and standardised data from across an entire value chain is fundamental to reducing scope 3 emissions.

To further improve the quality of our scope 3 GHG emissions inventory and identify the appropriate reduction levers, we are onboarding two workstreams in the short term. We are focusing on improving data quality first, which entails data gap closure and improved accuracy, and includes agreements with suppliers on data privacy and data use. Secondly, we are identifying appropriate plans to reduce emissions at a Group and OpCo level. 

Driving circularity Following a circular approach to reuse, resell and recycle resources to reduce waste in our production and service ecosystem.

E-waste is our business’s second most material environmental issue, and encouraging circularity is a key enabler of our planet strategy.

We aim to use resources for as long as possible to maximise the return on capital employed following which we recover and reuse materials responsibly. We seek to manage our impact sensibly and support our customers’ efforts.

Our e-waste circularity initiatives consider two types of e-waste:

  • Network equipment, including radio equipment used to run our fixed and mobile access networks; and
  • Electronic devices, including smartphones and other devices we sell to customers.

Circularity of network waste

Our resource efficiency and waste disposal management programmes minimise the environmental impacts of network and IT equipment waste. When reuse options (either through resale or redeployment) are exhausted, we recycle obsolete equipment responsibly using approved recycling agencies.

Circularity of devices

We are committed to reducing our impact by implementing circularity initiatives with our partners and other operators. To raise consumer awareness of e-waste and incentivise our customers to bring back their used devices for trade-in, donation or recycling, we have the following programmes:

  • Vodafone’s WWF ‘1 million phones for the planet’ campaign (Egypt and South Africa only).
  • RedLovesGreen campaign encourages customers to return their devices to any of our 35 repair centres in South Africa.
  • Good as New programme aims to drive smartphone penetration and reduce e-waste by providing certified pre-owned smartphones at an affordable price in South Africa.
  • e-TADWEER solution, which drives circularity solutions for electronics and devices in Egypt.

Reducing virgin plastic use

We continue replacing single-use plastics with lower-impact alternatives across all our retail stores, offices and logistics operations in collaboration with our logistics providers.

Managing general waste

Our general waste management programmes involve reviewing our consumption choices, making more sustainable decisions and working with suppliers to reduce environmental waste. We responsibly manage the waste streams involved in delivering our products by digitalising branch processes to become completely paperless; pursuing green lease agreements for stores including water, waste and electricity management targets; and reducing our plastic usage.

Using water responsibly

While we are not a water-intensive user, majority of our operations are in countries which are classified as medium-high to extremely high-water risk and so we work to reduce our water usage across all our operations. Our water management focuses on different areas including:

  • Water use assessment: We have a structured water data sharing and monitoring system across our OpCos. Water use assessments are conducted to identify opportunities for water efficiency improvements. Each OpCo aligns its local water use and efficiency programmes with its local context and sustainability objectives.
  • Actions to reduce water consumption: Water saving measures include installing low-flow fixtures and aeration taps with reduced water flow, smart irrigation systems and water wise gardens, waterless urinals, chemical toilet flushing, waterless hand sanitising stations, rainwater harvesting, pressure-reducing valves, efficient cooling systems, regular leak detection and maintenance.
  • Education and awareness: Environmental days are used to bring awareness around efficient water use. Capacity building is undertaken with property teams who have the main responsibility of improving water efficiency.
  • Digital solutions: Our digital solutions and IoT products can help our customers, such as governments and businesses, reduce their water consumption through real-time monitoring and early detection of water leaks.

Supporting biodiversity Understanding and managing our biodiversity impact while collaborating with partners to minimise loss through technology solutions.

Although our effect on biodiversity is low, we aim to better understand its extent and minimise our infrastructure’s environmental and visual impact.

We also work with conservation agencies to explore how technology can minimise biodiversity loss.

Understanding and managing our impact

We have a large and widespread infrastructure footprint. We conduct environmental impact assessments and cooperate with the relevant authorities to minimise negative impacts. Some of our sites are in or near biodiverse-sensitive areas.

We require an environmental permit from the national environment agency in most countries to construct base stations owned by us or through a third party. We enable this through environmental impact assessments of the actual or potential impact on habitats and species from the construction and maintenance of base stations.

Supporting biodiversity protection

We partner with various organisations to protect biodiversity on land and at sea. This support combines programme funding, connectivity, and innovative technology solutions for conservation efforts.

Some of our most recent biodiversity projects include:


Match 100% of the grid electricity we use with electricity from renewable sources by 2025

Achieve net zero GHG emissions from our operations (scope1 and 2) by 2035

A percentage of our suppliers by emissions based on our scope 3 model covering purchased goods and services, capital goods, fuel and energy related activities and upstream transportation and distribution will have science-based targets by 2030

To reuse, resell or recycle 100% of our network waste by 2025

Read more on our progress in our latest ESG report and Climate and TCFD report