From 8:30 to 9:30pm on 31 March, Vodacom will turn off all its non-essential utilities in 15 offices around South Africa, as well as at all major advertising billboards and signage nationally, in support of Earth Hour.
‚Although Earth Hour lasts only one hour, the awareness that it creates for the importance of sustainable practices around the world, is priceless, which is why we are committed to showing our support,‚ says Suraya Hamdulay, Executive Head of Corporate Citizenship at Vodacom. ‚Switching off our lights serves as a vital reminder to individuals, businesses and even countries that even the smallest gesture can make a big difference to our environment.‚
Earth Hour is a global initiative to raise awareness for action on climate change. This is the fourth year that the company is participating in Earth Hour. Vodacom staff throughout the country are also encouraged to participate in their personal capacity.
Vodacom is leading the way in the telecommunications industry for a more sustainable future. At the beginning of this year, the company launched the Vodafone Site Solutions Centre, which with its 6-star Green Star status, is the greenest building in Africa.
‚The Centre finds ways for us to use our technology and experience to reduce our carbon footprint around the world. It also finds technology solutions that helps our customers to reduce theirs,” says Hamdulay.
Vodacom is already creating renewable and hybrid solutions to make its network, infrastructure and buildings more environmentally sensitive.
Some of the innovations in sustainability over the last year include:
¬∑ Exploring renewable energy components which can be mounted on existing towers and poles to conserve energy and cut costs.
¬∑ Investigating energy storage technologies, like high temperature batteries and fuel cells, that improve efficiencies in the renewable energy system, as well as data management and intelligent site control innovations that will improve energy consumption and reduce the company’s carbon footprint.
¬∑ At COP17 Conference in Durban last year, Vodacom deployed a mobile hybrid-energy base station that used wind, solar and fuel cell energy.
¬∑ As a community project, Vodacom over-supplied one of its rural base stations with solar power. The excess power is being diverted to the nearby village. A village that has never had access to electricity. In December last year, the community switched on the lights for the first time ‚ and that power was green.
‚It is fantastic to see the ‚I will if you will‚ challenge taken up by so many celebrities, companies and individuals across the globe,‚ says Hamdulay. ‚While Earth Hour is an important initiative, we definitely can’t ‚stop’ at that one hour. The future of sustainability is very exciting, and the telecommunications industry has the expertise to make a real difference in the way we operate as well as introduce environmentally conscious business practices.‚