Supporting Vodafone’s Net Zero ambition

We began our longstanding partnership with Vodafone Group in 2012. Since then, we have supported its decarbonisation journey as it paved the way for climate action in the telecommunications sector.

Image
Vodaphone headquarters

Client: Vodafone Group

Service: A comprehensive decarbonisation strategy and delivery support for Vodafone Group and its subsidiaries. This included Scope 3 measurement, setting science-based targets (SBT), a Net Zero feasibility assessment and a carbon enablement strategy.

Outcomes: 

  • An ambitious decarbonisation roadmap, from target setting to delivery
  • Scope 3 emissions inventory, to assist decision making and assess progress
  • A carbon enablement tool to measure avoided emissions from Vodafone’s products and services, then communicate this to customers.

What was the challenge?

Vodafone Group is committed to helping society decarbonise by taking advantage of potential technology and connectivity, as well as reducing its own emissions to Net Zero.

To substantiate this commitment, Vodafone first wanted to set science-based targets, including Scope 3 emissions (all indirect emissions such as business travel, procurement and investments). Scope 3 emissions often represent the largest portion of a company’s total carbon footprint and are generally more difficult to address because they require collaboration and engagement with suppliers and customers in the value chain.

Next, Vodafone wanted to explore the feasibility and implications of a Net Zero commitment. Particularly from an emissions reduction and financial perspective. 

Beyond its own value chain, the company also wanted to understand how it could have a positive impact on its wider sphere of influence through carbon enablement. This is the reduction in carbon emissions occurring outside a business’ value chain through its activities or products. 

Finally, Vodafone was keen to ensure it not only set ambitious targets, but also implemented effective processes to deliver these.  

Explaining why they chose to work with us, Bobbie Mellor, Head of Sustainability for Vodafone Group, said: “Vodafone is committed to not only reducing our carbon emissions but also supporting our customers and stakeholders to do the same. There’s a lot of work needed to make that happen and the Carbon Trust offers the expertise and broad background knowledge to tackle the huge data challenges. As they developed the ICT industry pathway, working with them ensures we have credible targets and implementation plans on carbon reduction across our extensive global footprint.” 

How did we help?

Our modelling, methodological and SBT expertise in the ICT sector helped us support Vodafone with setting ambitious targets.

We developed two different models simulating different carbon reduction scenarios to meet the science-based and Net Zero targets. These models drove internal discussion around what actions would be required to meet targets, which ultimately resulted in the setting of targets which were approved by the SBTi, even exceeding its requirements. 

The targets set were:

  • By 2030, Vodafone will fully abate all carbon emissions from its own activities and from energy, purchases and uses (Scope 1 and 2), as well as halving carbon Scope 3 emissions
  • By 2040, Vodafone will have achieved Net Zero emissions across its full value chain.

The next stage of the project involved assisting Vodafone with its carbon enablement (this refers to the amount of carbon emissions its solutions and services could help customers avoid). We created a sales enablement tool to calculate avoided emissions from its products and services and communicate to customers. Finally, we helped Vodafone set an ambitious absolute enablement target to enable the reduction of 350 million tonnes of CO2 over 10 years (between 2020-2030). 

Our ongoing work focuses on building capabilities and continuously improving Vodafone’s tools to effectively deliver their decarbonisation roadmap. For instance, we have been improving their Scope 3 accounting methodology to better capture product specific carbon impacts of goods and services. This will help them to make better procurement decisions. 

“There’s a high level of trust and understanding between Vodafone and the Carbon Trust. They quickly got to grips with Vodafone’s business and understood the subtleties involved. They also augmented the knowledge base of our teams and made the topic engaging,” said Mellor.

What were the benefits? 

The collaborative approach to setting SBTs helped secure internal support for these ambitious and credible targets, ensuring the definition of Net Zero was aligned to the SBTi’s definition. This involved encompassing Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions and utilising certified greenhouse gas removals to remove residual emissions once deep reductions have been realised.

The enablement target goes beyond Scope 3 and differentiates Vodafone as a climate leader within its sector. Its sales tool then turns this into a commercial opportunity by meeting the growing demand from customers wanting to reduce their climate impact.  

Our partnership with Vodafone Group aims to provide the company with the best tools to keep tracking and delivering progress against its targets, constantly improving methodologies to accelerate the transition to Net Zero.