Vodafone and WWF launch closed-loop programme for smartphone collection

Vodafone and WWF have unveiled a new partnership that will improve the circularity, collection and recycling of smartphones, while driving progress towards the company’s net-zero target for 2040.


Vodafone and WWF launch closed-loop programme for smartphone collection

Image: Vodafone Italy

The new “one million phones for the planet” launched on Tuesday (22 November), and ties into both Vodafone’s circularity and net-zero ambitions.

Vodafone’s customers in Europe and Africa will be incentivised and educated to trade in old mobile devices to be repaired, refurbished or recycled. Every phone collected during the programme will see £1, or the local equivalent, donated by Vodafone to WWF conservation projects across the world.

Vodafone states that a refurbished smartphone saves around 50kg of CO2e compared to newly manufactured versions and removes the need to extract 76.9 kg of raw materials.

The initiative forms part of Vodafone’s three-year partnership with WWF. Initiatives are aimed at helping customers make more sustainable choices.

WWF UK’s chief executive Tanya Steele said: “Every one of us has a role to play in helping to bring our world back to life, and the technology we use every day can play a major role in tackling the climate and nature emergency.

“Through our partnership with Vodafone, we will be exploring how everyone can reduce their environmental footprint using digital technologies and services, while also using mobile technology to drive forward key WWF conservation projects around the world. We look forward to working together on our shared vision for the planet.”

The new initiative builds towards Vodafone’s target to reuse, resell or recycle 100% of its network waste. It will also build towards the flagship net-zero target.

Vodafone committed to reducing its carbon emissions to net-zero globally by 2040 back in November 2020 and will eliminate emissions from its activities and energy and halve scope 3 emissions by 2030.

For the UK, Vodafone confirmed last year that it will eliminate carbon emissions from its operations by 2027. As of July 2021, the company’s European network will be powered by 100% renewable electricity.

Globally, Vodafone has science-based targets to eliminate carbon emissions from Scopes 1 (operations) and 2 (power-related) and halve Scope 3 (indirect) emissions, including joint ventures, supply chain purchases, the use of sold products and business travel.

After joining the Climate Group’s RE100 initiative in 2018 and pledging to source 100% renewable electricity for its global operations by 2025, Vodafone revealed that it would reach the 100% milestone in Europe by July 2021.

Vodafone’s chief executive Nick Read said: “WWF and Vodafone strongly believe that we can all make greener choices about how we use technology. Our partnership with WWF will create new initiatives to encourage our customers to take actions that could help reduce their carbon emissions and reduce pressure on the planet’s natural resources.”

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