Vodacom becomes first Africa telco to achieve ISO 50 001 certification for energy efficiency

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Over the past year, Vodacom has invested in improving energy efficiency across its markets. The result has been the recent achievement of the ISO 50 001 certification for energy management.

ISO 50 001 is an official, recognised certification awarded to organisations who display world class, efficient energy management, helping them reduce energy consumption by developing an Energy Management System. To qualify and retain the certification, organisations need to drive energy management practices from the top down. This includes setting targets for energy performance at a senior management level, implementing policies designed to help the organisation achieve measurable goals and drive continuous improvement in terms of efficiency across operations.

“We are extremely proud of this achievement. Climate change poses one of the greatest challenges to our society, especially in Africa. As a purpose- led organisation, Vodacom Group aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50% and to source 100% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2025. ISO 50 001 is instrumental for Vodacom Group’s journey to net zero and reinforces our commitment to sustainable energy management. We have worked hard over the last two years to position ourselves for success by establishing the frameworks and procedures required for us to execute on various energy efficiency initiatives across our operations. This certification underscores our dedication to energy management and to connecting for a better future while lowering our energy use, containing extremely variable energy costs, and gradually decarbonising our operations,” said Dejan Kastelic, Group Technology Officer for Vodacom Group.

Most ISO 50 001 certified companies have reported significant energy reduction in various industries, with some businesses claiming savings up to 30%. In tough economic environments, even marginal cost savings can have a significant impact on operational efficiency and business resilience which is imperative for businesses to stay competitive and relevant.

Further adding to the benefits is the environmental impact. Power generation plays a critical role in climate change, accounting for around 33% of total GHG emissions. This is largely due to the global over-reliance on fossil fuels as a means of production. This makes the energy sector, and energy usage habits, a top priority for reform. Since the industrial age, GHG emissions have showed an alarming increase, largely due to the increasing need for the use of energy.

Vodacom invests in energy efficiency programmes, which include sourcing more efficient network equipment, reducing energy demand by installing lower-power and cooling technologies and reducing energy use by decommissioning and upgrading legacy equipment. The investment in this programme led to a 26% reduction in our energy intensity from our 2023 to 2024 financial years.

“While this is achievable for some organisations, projects of this scale may be out of reach for smaller organisations. For these organisations, another impactful approach where companies do have control is in energy efficiency. The adage “the greenest energy is the energy that is not used” offers an equally effective approach to resolving the problem. For companies, energy efficiency is achieved through structured, well controlled energy management. The impact can be widespread, and the key lies in continuous improvement. As an organisation operating in Africa, we are acutely aware of the impact of climate change on our customers. We have seen and felt the impact of climate related disasters and recognise the need for sustained and improved action to bring about meaningful change. Energy efficiency initiatives are critical in helping us decarbonise society,” said Kastelic.

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