Our Planet
    23 April 2019

    Michaela Stehr

    How to reduce your carbon footprint

    We all have a responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint. Here are some easy-to-apply, actionable ideas to play your part in the preservation of our precious planet.

    With climate change on the rise, Vodacom recognises that we all have a responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint. Every little bit counts, so here's how you can play your part.

    What is your carbon footprint?

    It may sound like just another buzzword, but knowing what carbon footprint means and understanding yours is vital to the survival of our planet. Carbon footprint refers to the total amount of greenhouse gases emitted by an individual as a result of personal daily activities or the activities of a group, organisation or company. You can calculate your personal carbon footprint online and then work towards reducing this number by making lifestyle decisions and changes that benefit the greater environment. Here are some easy-to-apply, actionable ideas to get started on reducing your carbon footprint.

    Use eco-friendly transport

    One of the most obvious ways to reduce your carbon footprint is by driving less. You can try walking or riding a bicycle to completely remove carbon emissions from your travel. If this isn’t a viable option, use carpooling apps, such as Lifti, or public transport to drastically reduce C02 emissions by sharing the load with other travellers. Investing in a lower carbon vehicle or lowering unnecessary acceleration will not only keep your footprint down but also save on petrol. You can also cut down on your petrol consumption by avoiding heavy traffic (traffic apps such as Waze can help plot the route with the least amount of traffic). And, where possible, try to run multiple errands at one time.

    Eat less meat, grow more vegetables

    Where possible, aim to eat locally grown, sustainable and organic food, preferably free from packaging and in season. Food production and transportation make up a large percentage of CO2 emissions, and many fertilisers used to preserve and grow inorganic foods are made from fossil fuels. Add a variety of fruits, vegetables, beans and grains into your diet and limit your meat consumption as red meat uses 11 times more water and produces five times more emissions than that of white meat. You can also add a compost heap to your garden and use your organic, meat-free scraps to feed your own veggie patch or plants.

    Move to clean and sustainable energy

    Moving from fossil fuels to green energy is easier than it sounds. Many options such as solar, wind, water and geothermal power are available and will save you money and energy in the long run. Being conscientious about electricity use, in general, will also significantly contribute to decreasing your footprint. Ensure that plugs are turned off, lights are off when nobody is home, and unnecessary energy waste is a priority within your household.

    Vodacom’s mission is to contribute to sustainability and green living in every country we operate in. The recently released 2019 Vodacom Sustainability Report shares that we have made significant strides in this regard over the past year. Vodacom now operates 955 solar and solar-hybrid sites across all our markets, as well as a number of green-powered sites through a recently signed Purchase Power Agreement (PPA) in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

    The report also highlights that Vodacom recently became South Africa’s first telecommunications company to ban the issuing of plastic bags to customers at its stores across the country. With effect from 1 April 2019, Vodacom replaced plastic bags with brown paper bags, affirming Vodacom’s commitment to operating its business in a sustainable manner. This approach prioritises the reduction, reuse and recycling of materials and resources where disposal to landfill is the last option.

    Vodacom is also looking at innovative ways to help reduce electronic waste. Last year, Vodacom reused more than 180 tonnes of network equipment and rejuvenated more than 74 tonnes of batteries. At its head office, Vodacom has reduced 38 tonnes of waste sent to landfill through a baling operation and has also contracted a company that converts food waste from canteens into compost. In 2018, 34 tonnes of waste from canteens was turned into compost used to fertilise the gardens at the Vodacom Midrand campus.

    Vodacom also heeded the call from government to assist with drought-relief measures by engaging with the Department of Water and Sanitation to offer support to use technology to assist with drought relief measures.

    A prime example is the role Vodacom is playing in transforming the utilities industry through the Smart Utilities Management Service. These solutions are reshaping and digitising municipalities by installing electricity and water smart meters that will improve revenue collection, customer satisfaction and the adoption of IoT solutions in the municipal space. In South Africa, five provinces are using this service, with 42,972 active water and electricity smart meters in use.

    Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Vodacom Group Corporate Affairs, said: ‘In the 25 years of Vodacom’s existence, we have proactively made efforts to minimise our impact on the environment through identifying our key environmental impacts, which are consumption of energy, generation of waste and water consumption in offices. Our sustainability drive not only saves costs but has the added benefit of reducing our environmental impact, which forms part of our commitment to grow Vodacom sustainably.'

    Find out more about Vodacom's sustainability initiatives online. 

    Michaela Stehr