Vodafone’s Europe-wide Green Gigabit Net commitment brings forward by three years an earlier pledge to source 100 per cent renewable electricity for the company’s fixed and mobile networks. The company’s ambitious strategy will accelerate sustainable growth across eleven markets, including Central and Eastern Europe, that will use power exclusively from wind, solar or hydro sources.
In 2019, Vodafone committed to halving its environmental footprint by 2025 through purchasing all electricity from renewable sources and reusing, reselling or recycling 100 per cent of its network waste, supporting this way the move towards a more circular economy. The company’s recent announcement accelerates these commitments and adds a new one: to help customers save 350 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over the next ten years.
“As society rebuilds and recovers from the COVID-19 crisis, we have an opportunity to reshape our future sustainably to ensure that recovery does not come at a cost to the environment,” highlighted Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read.
“Our accelerated shift to 100 per cent renewable electricity on our European networks will change the way we power our technology for good – reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, helping our customers manage their resources more effectively and reduce their carbon emissions while helping to create a healthier planet for everyone,” Mr Read pointed out.
According to the company’s announcement around four-fifths of the energy used by Vodafone’s networks will be from renewable sources obtained directly from national electricity grids via PPA and green tariffs.
The remaining fifth, supplied by Vodafone’s landlords on buildings and other infrastructure, will be covered instead by Renewable Energy Certificates. Where feasible, the company will also invest in self-generation on-site, mostly via solar panels.
The Green Gigabit Net will be enabled across all Vodafone’s markets in Europe no later than 31 July 2021. In Central and Eastern Europe, it will cover Greece, Romania, Albania, the Czech Republic and Hungary. In the meantime, several Vodafone markets have already made major commitments to renewable electricity.
In the Czech Republic Vodafone has been using renewable electricity tariffs for a number of years already. Last year was also a major step as Vodafone Romania, Greece and Hungary all sourced renewable tariffs or certificates (RECs) for the first time. Vodafone relies on on-grid power sources for 95 per cent of its energy needs. To date, the proportion of electricity from renewable sources has still been low, 15.6 per cent of the electricity purchased in 2019, but the new targets will accelerate the use of an ever-increasing amount of renewable energy over the coming years.
In May 2019, Vodafone issued its first 750 million euros green bond to finance or refinance projects to help meet the company’s environmental objectives.