Vodacom leads the way with green technology 

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Bereng Mpaki

MOBILE communications giant, Vodacom Lesotho, has embarked on various strategies to protect the planet against harmful emissions, among them, the use of solar energy at its state of the art headquarters in Maseru.

The M80 million headquarters which were opened last year at the Phomolong site opposite the Lesotho Chamber of Commerce and Industry headquarters, are equipped with solar panels on the roof top which generate about half of Vodacom Lesotho’s total power needs.

Vodacom Lesotho Head of Corporate Affairs, Tšepo Ntaopane, this week told the Lesotho Times that the company had developed policies to ensure that it conducted its operations in a manner that is consistent with globally –accepted social and environmental principles as well as Lesotho’s labour and environmental standards.

He further said there was a strong business case for ‘going green’ as that reduced operating costs and the savings would ultimately be passed on to customers.

“We are fully committed to minimising our environmental impact by conducting business in a way that ensures a balance between profitability and environmental sustainability,” Mr Ntaopane said.

“We have taken a stance to green (adopt environmentally friendly strategies) our operations based on our model of a green network which has proven to be a success.

“The company aims to be the one of the leading businesses in Lesotho to roll out a building powered primarily by renewable energy and we want to take the lead in the promotion of a green economy.”

The telecommunication giant’s green initiatives also include promoting a healthy working environment, encouraging recycling and reducing carbon footprint.

Mr Ntaopane further said the company is also powering some of its base stations through green energy sources. Currently 90 out of a total of 308 base station sites in Lesotho are powered through a combination of solar and wind energy.

In addition, Vodacom has also launched the Ecostove project in the rural communities of Lesotho and this is also part of the company’s corporate social initiative.

“As we continue to improve our services, we are aware of challenges faced by the communities we do business with. As part of our social responsibility initiative, we have donated African Clean Energy’s ACE 1 Eco-friendly stoves to the rural communities where our towers are situated.

“The stoves use bio-energy which reduces smoke emissions to negligible levels. The ACE 1 is among the cleanest stoves providing clean cooking with a range of biomass fuels. We also offer solar electricity for mobile phone charging and LED lighting.”

In 2017, the company also launched The Vodacom Dignity campaign, an initiative which has provided 1000 girls with reusable, washable, modern and eco-friendly sanitary pads with a lifespan of five years.

“The pads are a sustainable resource which allows girls to wash and reuse them rather than having to buy disposable sanitary pads every month. In addition, they are cost-effective and environmentally friendly. The social benefit of the reusable pad is that it greatly mitigates the disadvantages many disempowered girls endure during their process of maturing.”

The company has also begun wellbeing initiatives which ensure that staff are healthy and productive. The initiatives include an in-house gym facility at the Vodacom Park, sports teams, pool tables and the other indoor games.

 

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