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On 24 March from 20:30, people around South Africa will switch off the lights for an hour to remind ourselves of our obligation to look after our planet. Earth Hour is an initiative of the World Wildlife Fund, and this year’s theme is #Connect2Earth.
The environment is important to you - and it's important to Vodacom too. Find out what Vodacom is doing to be kind to the planet.
What is Vodacom doing to tread lightly?
Looking beyond Earth Hour, Vodacom is doing its bit to play its role in contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Trisha Govender, Acting Head of Department: Sustainability at Vodacom, filled us in on Vodacom’s many initiatives to become a more sustainable company. 'Although Earth Hour lasts only one hour, the awareness that it creates for the importance of sustainable practices around the world, is priceless. This is why we are committed to showing our support,' says Trisha.
Electricity is, of course, a vital enabler of what Vodacom does. Power is necessary to run shops, offices, and the over 12 000 base stations that keep us all connected.
Trisha says that the Group is committed to reducing its energy footprint through dedicated energy efficiency programmes: this year, Vodacom has pledged is an investment of over R50 million in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
The company has a history in this arena. In 2012, Vodacom launched the largest solar array of panels on a single building in Africa at its offices in Century City, Cape Town. The installation of the solar array was part of Vodacom's ongoing drive to reduce the amount of energy the company consumes.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
Throughout the business, Vodacom has taken great strides in reducing waste. That could be as simple as recycling bins being available in all its office buildings, to initiatives that are a lot more complex.
‘As a tech company, we have large pieces of equipment that form part of our network installations and data centres. Every so often, these need to be upgraded,’ says Trisha. ‘In the past, the old equipment was sent straight for recycling. Over the past year or two, however, that equipment has been sent to our central warehouse in Midrand, and tested for possible reuse and redeployment. It could be refurbed and sent to other parts of the country, or even other Vodafone markets internationally.
All cellphone towers also have batteries as backup when grid power fails. These batteries usually have a useful life of around five years before they don’t work well anymore. Before, they would have been recycled, but now, Vodacom sends them to be tested and rejuvenated, extending their life and saving more waste.
‘In that past year, we have reused over 250 tonnes of network equipment that would normally have been recycled as waste.’
Read more about Vodacom’s commitment to sustainability here.
Join Earth Hour
Earth Hour in South Africa will be at 20:30 on Saturday, 24 March. Read more about it here.