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In an effort to reduce its environmental footprint, Vodacom is investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy, reducing waste and wastefulness, reducing its water footprint and implementing eco-friendly solutions at the core of its operations.

Today is World Environment Day and people, including corporates world-wide, are celebrating the United Nation’s principal vehicle to help encourage awareness and action for the protection of the environment.

The continuous depletion of the natural environment has led to alarming rates in recent times. In South Africa, the main environmental issues have been described as water pollution, air pollution, land degradation, solid waste pollution and deforestation. The main concern with environmental damage effects is that it goes beyond negatively affecting people’s health to also harming the species that live in the environment, while also contributing to the worldwide issue of climate change.

In the midst of celebrating World Environment Day, it is important to note that all sectors of the economy – including government businesses, academia and other organisations and communities – have the responsibility to ensure that the environment is protected.

Through its drive to help reduce its impact on the environment, Vodacom has reduced its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 135 510tCO2e (metric tonnes of carbon dioxide), as a result of investments in energy reduction and mitigation of its impact on climate change. In addition, since 2018, Vodacom has reduced its office paper consumption by 11%, reduced its employees’ business travel in rental cars by 24% and business flights are down by 34% in an effort to use technological interfaces and adopt smarter ways of working. In response to the water shortages experienced in South Africa, Vodacom has over the years invested in water-wise practices resulting in a 19% reduction in water consumption within its office buildings.

Managing Executive for Vodacom Corporate Affairs, Themba Kinana says: “We’re working tirelessly to achieve these results and ensure that we remain committed to connecting our customers for a better future in a sustainable manner. At Vodacom, we view sustainability thinking and practice as an integral part of our business journey. Our vision is to grow our business in the most sustainable way and to help improve the resilience of our network, industry, communities and individuals that we have an impact on. These actions are complimented by our commitment to the UN SDG Goal 13: Climate Action – which aims to explore even more renewable energy and green technology solutions, to protect the environment across our operating markets.”

World Environment Day was first established in 1972 during the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment and has been held every year since then on the 5th of June. It aims to encourage worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment and this year, China will host the global World Environment Day celebrations.

Today, 47 years later, there is increasing pressure on governments, industry, communities, and individuals to come together to explore renewable energy and green technologies to improve the health of the environment in cities and regions across the world.

As the world celebrates World Environment Day, here are some environment facts to be aware of:

  • 92 percent of people worldwide do not breathe clean air
  • Air pollution costs the global economy $5 trillion every year in welfare costs
  • 2016 was the warmest year on record
  • 800 million people (11% of the world’s population), are currently vulnerable to climate change impacts such as floods, droughts, heat waves, extreme weather events and sea-level rise
  • The theme for this year’s World Environment Day celebrations in South Africa is “Think.Eat.Save”, which is an anti-food waste and food loss campaign that encourages footprint reductions
  • According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO),1.3 million tonnes of food is wasted every year