Vodafone sets out carbon-cutting strategy

10 June 2010

10 June 2010 | Andy Allen

Vodafone plans to develop joint carbon reduction strategies with suppliers accounting for 50 per cent of its £31.6 million procurement spend.

The company said it would have joint strategies in place in 2012. It plans to reduce emissions by 50 per cent by 2020 – as measured against 2006-07 – its annual sustainability report said.

In a separate move, the telecoms giant aims to ensure suppliers do not use minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The country is one of the world’s biggest sources of coltan, an ore from which tantalum, used in mobile phones, is derived.

“In 2009-10 we asked manufacturers to provide assurances that the components they use do not contain tantalum from the DRC,” said Vodafone.

The report added: “Our two main suppliers of these handsets (accounting for more than 85 per cent of production) have already provided written assurances, and the remaining two are obtaining this information from their own supply chains.”

In addition, Vodafone said it planned to strengthen its code of ethical purchasing, expanding clauses on environment, health and safety, freedom of association, discrimination and working hours. Changes would be communicated to suppliers over the next year.

Last year it conducted 24 site assessments covering the operations of 16 network, handset and merchandising suppliers, issuing 139 recommendations for improvement.

In May the company was one of 27 international firms criticised for sourcing indirectly from Shanghang Huaqiang Battery, which had been accused of causing lead poisoning. The company had already deselected the supplier for unconnected reasons when the allegations were made public.

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