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Vodafone to be 100% Powered by Renewables from 1 July

Mobile operator Vodafone has confirmed that it is on track to have all of its UK and European operations powered by renewable electricity from 1 July 2021.

Last summer Vodafone announced that it would accelerate its original target of purchasing 100% renewable electricity in Europe by 2025 to July 2021 and achieve the same goal in Africa by 2025.

Last year, 96% of the electricity Vodafone used in its mobile and fixed-line networks, data centres, retail stores and offices across Europe, including where it is a tenant on other landlords’ sites, was from renewable sources, including wind, solar and hydro power. From next month, that figure will be 100%.

To achieve this goal, Vodafone invested €65 (£55) million over the past year in energy efficiency, including gradually switching off legacy 3G networks, and in on-site renewable projects, for annual energy savings of 135 GWh. This progress is despite mobile traffic on Vodafone’s network increasing 47% year-on-year.

The use of renewable electricity will help Vodafone achieve its goal of eliminating its Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Last year, Vodafone reduced its total Scope 1 and 2 emissions (direct emissions from owned or controlled sources and those from the purchase of electricity) by 30%, to 1.37 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).

However, Vodafone admits that nearly 87% of its 13.74 million tonnes of CO2e of emissions in 2020 were scope 3, including emissions from “purchased goods and services, capital goods, fuel and energy-related activities, waste generated in operations, business travel, upstream leased assets, use of sold products and investments.” The company aims to half these emissions by 2030 and eliminate them entirely by 2040.

Vodafone is already making progress in dealing with waste. 98.7% of its network waste, excluding hazardous waste, was sent for reuse and recycling last year, with total waste down 22.5% year-on-year. The firm aims to reuse, resell or cycle 100% of its network waste by 2025.

Vodafone is also working to re-sell and re-purpose excess stock and large decommissioned electrical items, such as masts and antennae. These projects have let Vodafone avoid 1,250 tonnes of CO2e and save more than €10 (£8.5) million.

Nick Read, Vodafone Group CEO, said: “From 1 July 2021, Vodafone’s customers across Europe can be reassured that the connectivity they use is entirely powered by electricity from renewable sources. This is a major milestone towards our goal of reducing our own global carbon emissions to net zero by 2030, helping our customers reduce their own environmental footprint and continuing to build an inclusive and sustainable digital society in all of our markets.”

Globally, a third of the mobile industry by revenue has committed to net-zero emissions targets by 2050 or earlier, according to the UN Race to Zero. In the UK that includes O2 (eliminate scope 1 and 2 emissions and cut scope 3 by 30% by 2025), EE (2045), Sky (2030), and Virgin Media (2050).

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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