Company Profile


United Kingdom

Telecommunication Services – Wireless Telecommunication Services

Vodafone provides telecommunications solutions and services for individuals and businesses. The company’s product portfolio includes wireless voice, messaging, and data services, in addition to internet access. The company operates globally and is rapidly expanding its networks in emerging markets.

Impacts and Opportunities for Telecommunications Companies

Reduced Carbon Footprint

By 2020, information and communication technology (ICT) enabled solutions offer the potential to reduce annual global emissions by an estimated 9.1 gigatons carbon dioxide equivalent(CO2e), or 16.5% of the total projected CO2e for 20201.

Vodafone aims to help transform society by using its products and technology to offer low carbon solutions and boost economic development. For example, the company’s machine-to-machine technology (M2M) allows both wireless and wired systems to communicate with other devices. In fiscal year 2014, this technology supported 13.8 million M2M connections. These connections primarily enable smart metering and fleet management, which in turn generates energy and fuel savings for Vodafone’s customers.

Market Growth

Emerging markets and mobile data are expected to drive global telecommunication companies’ revenue growth through 2017. Telecommunications operators in emerging markets may benefit from rising gross domestic product and growth of mobile penetration2.

Vodafone has a large presence in emerging markets; in fiscal year 2014, 70% of its 434 million customers resided in these markets. Emerging market growth in the telecommunication sector is expected as a result of migration from rural to urban areas, increased technological penetration into rural areas, and higher average incomes combined with lower costs of services and handsets.

Energy Efficiency

Energy use is anticipated to rise due to the growth in the number of mobile users as well as the increase in number of devices per user. Despite this growth, energy efficiency improvements in the devices themselves and wireless telecom infrastructure are expected to reduce the overall carbon footprint per user by 20% in 2020 from a 2007 baseline3.

Vodafone works to reduce the energy consumption of its more than 250,000 base stations through a variety of techniques, such as replacing outdated components with efficient equipment, installing batteries that can operate at higher temperatures, increasing the temperature at which air conditioning is triggered, installing hybrid generators, and expanding the use of wind and solar electricity generation. In fiscal year 2014, Vodafone reduced the carbon emissions per base station nearly 40% from a 2007 baseline.

Areas for Improvement

Environmental Compliance

The company reports monetary fines associated with breaches of environmental regulations, which have increased year on year.  Unfortunately, Vodafone does not provide an explanation of the breaches or how the company plans to prevent violations in the future. Portfolio 21 has asked the company to improve the transparency of its reporting on this indicator.

Carbon Reduction Goal

Despite the energy efficiency improvements across Vodafone’s network, the company’s absolute CO2 emissions increased year-on-year. In addition, the company reported that it is unlikely to meet its goal to reduce CO2 emissions 50% by 2020 (2006 baseline) in mature markets through energy efficiency alone. Unfortunately, the company does not discuss why it will likely miss its reduction target or what steps it will take to ensure the greatest possible reductions. Portfolio 21 has asked Vodafone to establish comprehensive initiatives and report on results of its efforts.

  1. Global e-Sustainability Initiative.  “GeSI SMARTer 2020:  The Role of ICT in Driving a Sustainable Future,” December 2012.  Accessed February 14, 2014. []
  2. Analysys Mason. “Global telecoms market: trends and forecasts 2013-1017.” []
  3. Ericsson.  “Ericsson Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Report 2012,” April 2013.  Accessed February 14, 2014. []

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 8/31/14 and may not reflect current opinions or subsequent events.


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