Vodafone has detailed a series of initiatives that will make it easier for European customers to repair, reuse, and recycle their mobile devices in order to save money and reduce their environmental impact.
The operator says it already offers trade-in and repair programmes in several markets but wants to adopt to a consistent approach across the continent.
A new digital platform will simplify the process of agreeing a trade-in, while customers will also be offered insurance, fast repairs, and the ability to responsibly dispose of devices they no longer need.
On top of this, the company will also offer a range of high-quality refurbished devices in its retail stores thanks to a new partnership with Recommerce.
Vodafone circular economy
“Vodafone has a leading role to play in developing and driving a circular economy for mobile devices that significantly reduces their impact on the environment,” said Alex Froment-Curtil, Vodafone Group COO. “We are pioneering a comprehensive, digital offering that makes it easier for our customers to extend the life of their current smartphone, or to buy and own a refurbished device.”
Cost and environmental concerns are driving the market for refurbished phones, with consumers eager to recycle their devices and get money off a new one or hoping to get new technology for a lower price. Meanwhile, recent supply issues and the increasing average sale price (ASP) of premium handsets is fuelling demand for cheaper, older technology.
“Keeping a phone handset for an extra year can reduce its lifetime CO2e impact by up to 29%. Purchasing a refurbished smartphone saves around 50 Kg CO2e – 20% or less than the equivalent newly manufactured smartphone – and removes the need to extract 164 Kg of raw materials,” explained Augustin Becquet, Recommerce CEO. “More than 50,000 tonnes of CO2e could potentially be avoided for every million smartphones Vodafone receives via trade-in that are subsequently refurbished and resold.
The ‘circular economy’ plan will build on Vodafone’s other environmental initiatives. The company has committed to using renewable energy across its network, reusing or responsibly disposing of excess or decommissioned equipment, and taking a potential supplier’s environmental and social credentials into account during procurement.
“In recent years Vodafone has made significant progress in eliminating our carbon footprint, improving energy efficiency across our operations, revamping our procurement to support sustainability, and driving carbon enablement for our customers,” added Joakim Reiter, who leads Vodafone’s ‘planet’ activities in his role as Chief External and Corporate Affairs Officer.
“The next frontier of our planet strategy is now focussed on building a more circular economy for consumers and industry, and through own actions and in collaboration with partners developing innovative programmes that can tackle the growing challenge around electronic waste.”
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Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.