Posted on 22 Nov 2022
New ‘one million phones for the planet’ programme launched to support circular economy drive

Vodafone and WWF today announced a major global partnership that will support Vodafone’s goals to reduce carbon emissions to ‘net zero’ by 2040, help to eliminate e-waste and encourage a more circular economy for mobile phones. The partnership launches with a new programme – one million phones for the planet – to help accelerate and refine Vodafone’s circular economy strategy by increasing the number of traded-in, refurbished and recycled devices.

Purchasing a refurbished smartphone saves around 50kg of CO2e (Carbon Dioxide Equivalent) – making its contribution to climate change 87% lower than that of the equivalent, newly manufactured smartphone – and removes the need to extract 76.9 kg of raw materials.1

The programme will inspire Vodafone’s customers in Europe and Africa to hand in their old devices as part of a trade-in, for a donation to social causes, or to be recycled responsibly. Starting from 22 November 2022, every phone collected during the programme will see £1, or the local equivalent, donated by Vodafone to WWF conservation projects across the world.

Nick Read, Vodafone Group Chief Executive, 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.”

Tanya Steele, Chief Executive of WWF-UK, 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 alsousing 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.”

Vodafone’s three-year partnership with WWF will see strategic initiatives launched across Vodafone markets in Europe and Africa. These will include apps to help Vodafone customers make more sustainable choices, as well as projects in South Africa, Germany, and the UK that use mobiletechnology to help address conservation and sustainability challenges.

Vodafone will harness WWF’s global network of expertise in environmental issues and internationalcapability for leading the fight against the climate and nature emergency.

One million phones for the planet will run alongside existing device campaigns including Germany’s One For One appeal and the Vodafone UK’s Great British Tech Appeal.

Vodafone’s circular economy plan for mobile devices

One million phones for the planet will help accelerate Vodafone’s four-pronged approach for device circularity, announced in February 2022, to help the mobile industry move towards a more circular economy that minimises waste and further reduces carbon emissions2 :

Trade-in – Vodafone will offer competitively priced trade-in offers, delivered through a new digital platform making it straightforward for customers to agree trade-in options for their existing phones.
Refurbish and resell – Through devices received via trade-in and other device partnerships, Vodafone expects to increase the overall number of high-quality, competitively priced refurbished smartphones that it can offer customers at retail.
Repair – To prolong the life of existing devices, Vodafone is rolling out a comprehensive and convenient suite of services for customers in Europe, including insurance, support, and repairs.
Recycle – Any redundant devices that Vodafone receives will continue to be recycled responsibly or repurposed for social or charitable causes whenever possible.

Vodafone believes business success should not come at a cost to the environment and is committed to reducing the impact of the company’s activities. Vodafone’s digital networks and technologies are a key enabler in helping to address climate change by saving energy, using natural resources more efficiently and creating a more circular economy.

Vodafone is working to reduce its environmental impact to reach ‘net zero’ carbon emissions across its full value chain by 2040, while helping business customers reduce their own carbon emissions by 350m tonnes by 2030.  Vodafone is also driving action to reduce device waste and progressing against its target to reuse, resell or recycle 100% of its network waste.

Vodafone was proud to be a principal partner for the COP27 UN Climate Change Conference in Sharm-el-Sheikh from 7-18 November 2022. As Principal Partner for Communications, Vodafone worked alongside the Egyptian government to provide advanced telecommunications services connecting COP27 and its visitors. In addition, the company demonstrated how digital technology can address climate change, use energy more efficiently, deliver a more circular economy and increase food security.

For further information on Vodafone’s environmental activities and performance, please visit:

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For further information:

Vodafone Group

Notes for editors

  1. Source is a lifecycle assessment study (Erwann Fangeat, ADEME, et al, Assessment of the environmental impact of a set of refurbished products – Final Report (2022)), which found that a refurbished phone used for 2 years creates 24.6kg CO2e less carbon emissions per year when compared to a new phone used for 3 years (according to the study results shown on page 64).  Over the 2-year period of use of the refurbished phone, this avoids around 50kg CO2e of carbon emissions.  The study found that a refurbished phone has an 87% lower contribution to climate change (or ‘GWP’) compared to a new phone.  The study also found that buying and using a refurbished phone instead of a new phone requires the extraction of 76.9kg less raw materials (page 64). For the full study, see https://librairie.ademe.fr/dechets-economie-circulaire/5833-assessment-of-the-environmental-impact-of-a-set-of-refurbished-products.html
  2. News release: Vodafone announces circular economy plan to extend life of mobile phones and increase reuse and recycling

About Vodafone

Unique in its scale as the largest pan-European and African technology communications company, Vodafone transforms the way we live and work through its innovation, technology, connectivity, platforms, products and services. 

Vodafone operates mobile and fixed networks in 21 countries, and partners with mobile networks in 47 more. As of 30 September 2022, we had over 300 million mobile customers, more than 28 million fixed broadband customers, and 22 million TV customers. Vodafone is a world leader in the Internet of Things (IoT), connecting more than 150 million devices and platforms.

We have revolutionised fintech in Africa through M-Pesa, which celebrates its 15 th anniversary in 2022. It is the region’s largest fintech platform, providing access to financial services for more than 50 million people in a secure, affordable and convenient way.

Our purpose is to connect for a better future by using technology to improve lives, digitalise critical sectors and enable inclusive and sustainable digital societies.

We are committed to reducing our environmental impact to reach net zero emissions across our full value chain by 2040, while helping our customers reduce their own carbon emissions by 350 million tonnes by 2030.  We are driving action to reduce device waste and achieve our target to reuse, resell or recycle 100% of our network waste.

We believe in the power of connectivity and digital services to improve society and economies, partnering with governments to digitalise healthcare, education and agriculture and create cleaner, safer cities. Our products and services support the digitalisation of businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs). 

Our inclusion for all strategy seeks to ensure no-one is left behind through access to connectivity, digital skills and creating relevant products and services such as access to education, healthcare and finance. We are also committed to developing a diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects the customers and societies we serve. 

For more information, please visit www.vodafone.com, follow us on Twitter at @VodafoneGroup or connect with us on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/vodafone.

About WWF

WWF (Worldwide Fund for Nature) is one of the world’s largest independent conservation organisations, active in nearly 100 countries. Our supporters – more than five million of them – are helping us to restore nature and to tackle the main causes of nature’s decline, particularly the food system and climate change.

We’re fighting to ensure a world with thriving habitats and species, and to change hearts and minds so it becomes unacceptable to overuse our planet’s resources.

WWF. For your world. For wildlife, for people, for nature.

© WWF / Vodafone

© WWF / Vodafone