Vodafone Germany said it will start selling the climate-neutral mobile tariff Red Business Prime, aimed at business customers, starting on 2 November. Carbon dioxide emissions in connection with the use of the Red Business Prime mobile phone tariffs are calculated by the German-based company ClimatePartner and offset by supporting climate protection projects.
The tariff includes 20 GB of data, 5G connectivity and unlimited calls and texts on German fixed and mobile networks and in Europe, for €39.00 (US $45.40) per month.
Vodafone offsets CO2 emissions from manufacturing, transport, use and recycling for end devices, without additional costs for the customers. The carbon footprint to be offset is based on the average estimated emissions for the entire life cycle of a smartphone. The ClimatePartner ID tracks how many kilograms of CO2 emissions are offset by Vodafone.
The operator is also offering its business customers the chance to lease devices to their customers. After leasing, the devices are automatically re-marketed or recycled.
While the carbon footprint of mobile telecom services, even with devices included, may not be very large compared to those of other industries, it is nonetheless significant, and any efforts in the worldwide fight against global warming are to be welcomed. In this case, Vodafone’s initiative is not to make this mobile plan carbon-neutral in a directly technological way but to measure and then offset its carbon footprint by making contributions to various climate protection projects. The device recycling and re-marketing initiative falls into a different category, being “green” a more direct sense.
That is certainly a noble goal, and ClimatePartner’s efforts are likely to yield some very valuable information, but Red Business Prime—which is fair and reasonable but not exceptional in terms of its actual plan features—appears to have a good deal of marketing value, as well. In other words, by signaling its intentions to take climate change and CO2 footprints seriously as they relate to its core business, Vodafone is burnishing its own image as a socially conscious and responsible company. This in turn could help its efforts to acquire and retain customers, especially in the business sector but not limited to it.