Impact via our customers
Part of the negative impact we have on the environment is due to the way that our customers actually use our products. At VodafoneZiggo, we believe it is important to make our customers aware of the opportunities that exist to make responsible choices and to make responsible use of the equipment they receive from us.
Taking back old equipment
That is why we encourage our customers via different channels to always send equipment that needs replacing back to us, so that we can reuse or recycle it. Once they reach the end of their service life, we collect media boxes, modems, routers and Wi-Fi boosters that customers receive from us on loan. We want to make the return process as easy as possible in order to lower the threshold. We do this by offering free postage and by sending the return box for the old equipment with the new equipment. Once returned, the products are checked at our logistics centre in Venray to see which of them can be reused. Those products are then refurbished and updated so that they can be used again. In 2019, 80% of the devices mentioned above were returned to us.
Responsible use and reuse of smartphones
We also aim to take back our mobile products, such as old smartphones, when our customers are ready for a new phone. For example, we offer a financial incentive in order to encourage customers to do this. Unfortunately, we have noticed that little use is being made of this yet. One of the reasons for this is that customers are still not familiar enough with this service and there is also a perception that the residual value of a used phone is too low. That is why VodafoneZiggo is actively working on increasing the visibility of this service and making it more accessible. This is being combined with an offer to hand in old telephones without residual value free of charge for recycling. We are collaborating with suppliers and other partners on this initiative, in order to possibly combine this with the purchase of a new smartphone.
To ensure that the service life of our smartphones is as long as possible, we offer the SmartphoneScan Service to customers in Vodafone shops. Thanks to this service, which is provided free of charge, the customer is able to get a good idea of the condition of his/her smartphone. This allows our staff to provide tailor-made advice about whether a smartphone can continue to be used for some time yet, whether it requires repair or whether it’s ready to be replaced.
In 2017, we also started selling renovated Apple smartphones. We also added the Fairphone, which is produced in an environmentally friendly way, to our portfolio, in order to offer customers more sustainable alternatives.