Stakeholders in recycling and re-use
A Vodafone case study

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Page 2: External stakeholders

External stakeholders exist outside the organisation but have a direct interest in what it does. Vodafone's main external stakeholders interested in the recycling of phones are customers and partner charities.


Vodafone's customers can be businesses or individuals (consumers). Vodafone has 10% of the world market for mobile telephony around 421 million customers - and has a significant share of the business customer market. 

Providing better mobile connections can reduce a business' carbon footprint. Vodafone's business travel by car and plane led to emissions of 15,600 tonnes of CO2 in the UK in 2006/07. Modern mobiles reduce the need for business journeys, allowing instant communications and electronic data exchange on a global, national and local scale.

With the right technology, people can work effectively and securely from anywhere they don't have to be in an office. The benefits of using mobile phones include:

  • reducing the environmental impact of business travel
  • allowing companies to be more productive and to reduce costs
  • providing better work/life balance for employees
  • keeping people closer to their families and friends

Mobile phones support families and households in a variety of ways. They help in:

  • checking that you have bought the right items when visiting a supermarket
  • exchanging the latest information about how to research a school homework topic
  • meeting a friend in a busy shopping centre or other location

Recycling initiatives

Vodafone promotes recycling old phones when businesses and individuals buy new phones. Older phones contain potentially dangerous materials which could pose a threat to the environment if not recycled responsibly. Some old batteries contain cadmium, a toxic substance. The effects of cadmium leaking into the surrounding soil in a landfill site could cause considerable contamination. Many of the materials in a phone, such as plastic, take decades to break down and degrade.

Cool Fact: If everyone in the UK who owns a mobile phone delayed upgrading by a year, it would save the same amount of C02 as taking 213,000 cars off the road for a year.

Vodafone has been running recycling initiatives in its UK stores since 2002. The aim is to reduce the impacts of its products by promoting the benefits of delaying upgrades to phones, as well as recycling and re-using old phones. By participating in these schemes, consumers know that they are making a positive difference to the environment.

Partner Charities

Vodafone has partnered with Global Cool Foundation UK, a registered charity, which has a mission to save a million tonnes of C02 in the UK. Today climate change is one of the most urgent global issues on which everyone has to act. Climate change refers to changes in the climate which have been caused in part by human action, for example, increased C02 emissions from use of fossil fuels, like oil and coal. The effects include rising land and sea temperatures and extreme weather conditions. These may result in the loss of plant and animal species around the world.

The money generated by the recycled phones supports two worthwhile global-reaching initiatives Solar Aid, and The Million Superheroes Campaign. Solar Aid operates in the sunny but poor African country, Zambia. It helps small enterprises sell solar technology devices to people on the poverty line. One third of Zambia's income is spent on energy. By using solar power, people in Zambia have reduced their energy costs. This gives them more income to spend on other things.

The Million Superheroes Campaign seeks to persuade one million people in the UK to sign up to become a Superhero and reduce their carbon emissions. The campaign encourages people to take practical steps like changing to energy-efficient light bulbs or turning down heating by one degree.

Vodafone | Stakeholders in recycling and re-use