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Vodafone to make sustainability a strategic priority – Interview with Anita Orbán, External Affairs Director of Vodafone Hungary

Anita Orbán will be one of the speakers of the Budapest Climate Summit, to be held on 7-8 October 2021.

Anita Orbán joined Vodafone Hungary at the beginning of this year as External Affairs Director. She spoke to CEENERGYNEWS about Vodafone’s strategy, targets and reflected on the telecommunication industry’s challenges and changing face in light of increased climate ambitions and digitalisation.

Before joining Vodafone Hungary earlier this year Anita Orbán spent several years in the energy sector working for large international energy companies. She says that this interest and expertise in the energy industry can be combined very well with the telecommunication sector, which is undergoing extremely rapid development in recent years.

Vodafone, as a leading technology and communications company, is at the forefront of this change. Aiming to build a digital future, Vodafone took on a major challenge this year by scheduling a number of significant developments, some of which have already been completed.

“The developments are part of a comprehensive organisational transformation that will allow for simpler, more transparent and more efficient operations – the benefits of which Vodafone’s customers will also reap,” says Ms Orbán adding that with all these measures, Vodafone is moving towards a next-generation telecommunications company.

“The ultimate goal is to allow Vodafone to become a technology communications company in the future. This is a precondition to ensuring that society, industry and business all strongly benefit from digitalisation.”

In fact, digitalisation, as a driver of our future economies, is on the top of policymakers’ considerations. It offers the potential of growth in a more sustainable way with innovations enhancing the welfare of citizens and supporting economic resiliency. This has been further reinforced by the global pandemic situation.

A study titled Digitalisation: An opportunity for Europe prepared by Deloitte for Vodafone Group has concluded that the level of digital advancement has a significant impact on the national economy. Speaking about Hungary’s digital infrastructure Anita Orbán says that it’s right at the forefront of Europe, however, only some of the businesses take advantage of the benefits offered by digitalisation.

“At the same time, if you think about it, it was the businesses that were able to switch to online operations to some extent that managed to survive the pandemic in an economic sense,” points out Ms Orbán.

“When it comes to the competitiveness of the country and businesses, flexibility and adaptability are of primary importance, the right conditions for which are, in many cases, put in place by digitalisation.”

For a long time, the environmental impact of the telecommunication sector has remained relatively unnoticed. However, this is changing rapidly and the industry is well-positioned to respond positively to this challenge and cut back on its emissions while also actively supporting its customers to reduce their environmental footprints.

As Anita Orbán puts it: “protecting the planet is in our common interest and no manufacturer or operator can escape this fact.”

“We, at Vodafone, are committed to protecting and safeguarding the assets offered by our Planet Earth, and through this approach, we have set and fulfilled a number of significant climate protection and sustainability goals,” she says.

In recent years, Vodafone has taken several important steps towards reducing its carbon footprint and operating in an environmentally friendly manner. Ms Orbán underlines that more than a year ago, Vodafone Group announced that by July 2021 at the latest, it will operate its European network with 100 per cent renewable energy, thus creating a green energy network that will continue to grow sustainably in the future as well.

“I am proud to say that we are the first European subsidiary to fulfil this commitment, well ahead of the Group’s other subsidiaries. Vodafone Hungary’s customers have been able to use environmentally conscious services relying on renewable energy sources since October 2020.”

But it doesn’t stop here, as Vodafone has already planned its next steps to make its operations more sustainable in the coming decades. There are two major commitments for the future.

“By 2030, Vodafone will eliminate all CO2 emissions from its own operations and also from the energy it purchases and uses,” says Ms Orbán.

“By 2040 Vodafone Group will reduce the company’s total global CO2 emissions to net-zero.

Ms Orbán also reveals that Vodafone is one of more than 500 companies whose greenhouse gas emission reduction targets have been validated by SBTi that defines and promotes best practices in science-based target setting.

Vodafone has joined several leading companies in this field by setting ambitious reduction targets that limit global warming growth to 1.5 °C, in line with the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement.

“I trust that, similarly to Vodafone, more and more companies will take part in protecting our planet and start operating in a sustainable way, using green energy, allowing us to leave a liveable environment behind for our grandchildren,” concludes Ms Orbán.

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