Vodafone is rapidly expanding its networks in emerging markets. The company has over 250 million customers in emerging markets, which exceeds the number of customers it has in developed markets. Vodafone believes its biggest opportunities for business growth are in two key areas: boosting economic development in emerging markets and combating climate change by enabling the transition to a low carbon economy in developed markets. To this end, Vodafone has launched M-Pesa, a solution that brings financial services to people without access to bank accounts, such as rural agricultural producers. To combat climate change, Vodafone is expanding its partnerships to supply M2M, or machine-to-machine, technology, which allows wireless and wired systems to communicate with other devices. Examples of the improved efficiency of this technology include connected transportation fleets or the remote monitoring of equipment.
Vodafone does not manufacture its mobile phones or network equipment and must rely on strong supplier guidelines to ensure its environmental and social codes are met. For example, in recent years Vodafone strengthened its approach to mineral sourcing. Vodafone's top tier suppliers (producing over 85% of the company's branded devices) had previously provided written assurances that they do not use tantalum from the Congo. Beginning in 2010, these suppliers tracked minerals back to the smelter through their participation in a due diligence pilot program from the Global e-Sustainability Initiative and the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition. Vodafone has set a carbon dioxide reduction target for its mature and emerging markets, however, its emerging market target is ambiguous in terms of its measurement metric. Portfolio 21 has requested additional clarification.
To the best of our knowledge the above information is accurate and was obtained from sources we believe to be reliable. Neither the information presented above nor any opinion expressed shall be construed as an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy the security. The views expressed are those of portfolio management as of 11/30/11 and may not reflect current opinions or subsequent events.