Vodafone Group stepped-up efforts to transition to clean energy, pledging to power its networks across Europe with renewable electricity by July 2021, bringing forward an original target by three years as it aims to halve its carbon footprint by 2025.

CEO Nick Read said as societies recover from the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, “we have an opportunity to reshape our future sustainably to ensure that recovery does not come at a cost to the environment”.

Read said the “accelerated shift” to 100 per cent renewable electricity “will change the way we power our technology for good”, as the operator pushes to replace fossil fuels with energy from wind, solar or hydro sources across its 11 European markets.

Vodafone explained 80 per cent of energy will come from national electricity grids via power purchase agreements and green tariffs, with the remainder covered by Renewable Energy Certificates instead of landlords.

The company aims to cut 350 million tonnes of carbon emissions in its B2B operations over the next ten years, equivalent to the UK’s total annual carbon emissions for 2019.

It stated this will be “largely delivered” by IoT services such as logistics and fleet management, smart metering and manufacturing activities.

The operator also noted it invested €77 million in energy-efficiency and renewable projects for base stations, data and switching centres. With the investment, Vodafone expects to reap annual energy savings of 186GWh.