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Case study: How Vodafone is reducing energy use in its general business and administrative activities

As one of the world’s largest mobile operators, whose products and services play a central role in the daily lives of over half a billion people across more than 26 markets, Vodafone has a number of programmes and initiatives in place to reduce the energy requirements for its office buildings and administrative systems and to help employees reduce their own carbon impact.

This case study is based on the 2017 Sustainable Business Report by Vodafone published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Abstract

Improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions across its network and activities is a top priority for Vodafone.  Tweet This! In order to reduce energy use in its general business and administrative activities Vodafone took action to:
  • achieve a green building certification
  • implement innovative sustainable building techniques
  • modernise stores

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2017 Sustainable Business Report Vodafone identified a range of material issues, such as digital rights including privacy, data protection and security, socio-economic benefits arising from Vodafone’s products and services, business conduct and ethics, employee equality and diversity. Among these, reducing energy use in its general business and administrative activities stands out as a key material issue for Vodafone.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The organization should identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Vodafone engages with:

Stakeholder Group
Consumer and enterprise customers
Shareholders
Employees
Suppliers and partners
Governments and regulators
Local communities
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and

civil society activists

Industry peers

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Vodafone engaged with peers, NGOs, civil society activists and sustainable business specialists to obtain their views on the most important social, economic, environmental and ethical issues for the company and society as a whole.

What actions were taken by Vodafone to reduce energy use in its general business and administrative activities?

In its 2017 Sustainable Business Report Vodafone reports that it took the following actions for reducing energy use in its general business and administrative activities:

  • Achieving a green building certification
  • Many Vodafone offices are certified to the green building certification LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), which provides a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of green buildings. Accordingly, the following Vodafone buildings have been awarded a certification under the category for Commercial Interiors:
    • Vodafone Spain headquarters – platinum standard
    • Vodafone Germany headquarters – platinum standard
    • Vodafone Turkey office and call centre – platinum standard
    • Vodafone Czech Republic headquarters – gold standard
    • Vodafone Italy – silver standard for headquarters building in Milan and gold standard for offices in Padua
    • Vodafone India – seven Vodafone buildings have LEED certification
  • Implementing innovative sustainable building techniques
  • Vodafone’s carbon-neutral SSIC (Site Solution Innovation Centre) in South Africa generates enough renewable energy to meet comfortably its own power consumption. It was the first ever building to be awarded the maximum six stars from the Green Building Council of South Africa. The building incorporates a wide range of innovative sustainable building techniques, such as thermal rock stores to capture and store thermal energy, mechanical solar panels that move with the sun and technologies which reuse greywater to limit freshwater consumption.
  • Modernising stores
  • Vodafone owns and operates almost 8,000 retail stores worldwide. To modernise all stores (including those that are operated under franchise) and improve their energy efficiency, Vodafone is implementing an extensive programme, with 5,500 stores already refurbished.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 302-1 Energy consumption within the organization

2) Disclosure 302-4 Reduction of energy consumption

3) Disclosure 305-4 GHG emissions intensity

4) Disclosure 305-5 Reduction of GHG emissions

 

Disclosure 302-1 Energy consumption within the organization corresponds to:

Disclosure 302-4 Reduction of energy consumption corresponds to:

Disclosure 305-4 GHG emissions intensity corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  • Business theme: GHG emissions
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  • Business theme: Ocean acidification
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  • Business theme: Forest degradation

Disclosure 305-5 Reduction of GHG emissions corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  • Business theme: GHG emissions
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  • Business theme: Ocean acidification
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  • Business theme: Forest degradation

 

80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.



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By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI-Standards Certified and IEMA approved Course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.

 

References:

1) This case study is based on published information by Vodafone, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) http://www.fbrh.co.uk/en/global-reporting-initiative-gri-g4-guidelines-download-page

3) https://g4.globalreporting.org/Pages/default.aspx

4) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

Note to Vodafone: With each case study we send out an email requesting a comment on this case study. If you have not received such an email please contact us.

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