South African mobile communications company Vodacom pledges to halve its environmental impact by accelerating the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.
The company is eyeing to buy electricity from renewable energy resources as part of its commitment within the next three years.
Vodacom says it will contribute nationally to a transition to a low carbon economy thereby helping government achieve its Paris Agreement goal, which requires countries to cut GHG emissions to keep global temperatures below 1.5°C or 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
“Our new target for energy consumption is one of the many ways we’re tackling our own environmental impact, because we understand that South Africa can only transition into a sustainable, climate-resilient, low-emission economy if everyone plays their part,” notes Vodacom external affairs director Takalani Netshitenzhe.
Helping the government achieve a Just Transition
South Africa’s Presidential Climate Commission (PCC) emphasised the urgency of transitioning to a low-emission economy. President Cyril Ramaphose in 2020 launched the body, which was tasked to find avenues to address climate change.
“This is particularly important for workers in industries most affected by global warming, such as energy, construction, mining, and farming,” explains Netshitenzhe. “As we transition to a low carbon-economy we also have a responsibility not to leave anybody behind.”
Vodacom says climate change must be viewed through the lens of socio-economic structures. The PCC is advocating the “Just Transition,” a plan for gradually moving into a low-carbon economy while keeping in mind job security for all workers.
The Just Transition framework requires such collaboration through engagements like the Just Transition Multi-Stakeholder Conference from 5 and 6 May at the Vodacom Conference Centre in Midrand, a municipality in South Africa. Vodacom was the sponsor for the event which saw participants contribute their ideas to the discussion.
Vodacom’s commitment unpacked
Vodacom is continuing its investments in efficient solutions such as solar-powered sites—to date, Vodacom has 1088 across its market.
Additionally, there will be a continued focus on purchasing renewable energy through innovative Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with Independent Power Producers. In the previous financial year, Vodacom says it sourced 1 183 898kWh of energy through such PPAs, which helped the TechCo save 11 971MWh of electricity, while reducing its GHG emissions by 12 272mtCO2e.
Vodacom’s own Internet of Things (IoT) solutions have ramped energy-saving efforts.
Its subsidiary, IoT.nxt, deployed IoT-based controls to over 7,232 of its base stations in South Africa, resulting in a 2.8% decrease in energy consumption in the last financial year.
Vodacom will highlight how IoT can be leveraged to protect against climate change at an upcoming conference.
“We are honoured to be afforded an opportunity to take lessons from climate change experts and also to contribute our insights on the all-important matter of a Just Transition, bringing the unique perspective of a TechCo experienced in sustainable digital transformation to the table,” concludes Netshitenzhe.
This first appeared in the subscription newsletter CommsWire on 9 May 2022.
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