Mobile phone giant also unveils new target to slash emissions from businesses which use its telecoms network and services
Vodafone has announced plans to shift its entire European mobile network to run on 100 per cent renewable electricity by no later than July 2021, alongside a new target to help its business customers slash their climate impact over the next decade.
The telecoms giant on Friday said it aimed to operate a "Green Gigabit Net" for its customers across 11 European markets powered only be electricity from wind, solar and hydro sources within 12 months, covering countries including the UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Italy and Greece.
Around a third of Vodafone's network is currently powered by renewables, and Friday's announcement brings forward Vodafone's existing target date for a fully-renewables-powered mobile network by three years.
Roughly 80 per cent of the energy used by Vodafone's fixed and mobile networks will be supplied by renewables via Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and green electricity tariffs, it explained, with the remained covered by "credible" Renewable Energy Certificates.
Where feasible, the firm added, it will also invest in its own on-site renewable power generation, mostly via solar panels.
Mobile network base stations and data centres account for 95 per cent of Vodafone's energy consumption, with just one base station using around 78kWh of electricity per day, roughly equivalent to the amount of battery power needed in a Tesla Model 3 electric vehicle to travel around 300 miles, it explained.
"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," said 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."
In addition, Vodafone has also worked with climate consultancy the Carbon Trust to develop a new cumulative target to cut the equivalent of 350 million tonnes of CO2 from 2020-2030 across its value chain, which it said would largely be delivered through its Internet of Things (IoT) services, including logistics, fleet management, smart metering and manufacturing activities.
Over carbon savings are expected to be made through Vodafone's healthcare services, cloud hosting and home working, it said, with its IoT services.
Altogether the latest announcements form part of Vodafone's headline ambitions to halve its environmental impact by 2025, resell or recycle 100 per cent of its network waste, and support the shift to a more circular economy.
In 2020 so far, the company said it had invested €77m in energy efficiency and renewables projects, which had unlocked 186GWh of energy savings.
Carbon Trust chief executive Tom Delay said Vodafone had been working together with the organisation for the best part of a decade to quantify the carbon impact of its products and services.
"There is a growing and important opportunity for the ICT sector to develop and enable new solutions that help drive decarbonisation and this target represents a very high level of ambition for Vodafone to continue to drive this strategy, further developing its IoT and other services, and engaging with its business customers," he added.
Winners of BEIS funding round revealed as it launches research initiative to explore and design zero emissions aviation technology
Environment Secretary George Eustice announces £9m for policy pilots as he promises to 'build back greener' after Covid-19 and Brexit
Environment Secretary George Eustice's speech at Green Alliance event setting out his vision for a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic
REACT-FIRST consortium aims to turn CO2 captured at Drax’s biomass power plant in Yorkshire into sustainable animal feed