Vodafone Group unveiled a three-year programme to trade-in, recycle, refurbish or repair smartphones across Europe and Africa while also raising funds for conservation organisation WWF.

All of the phones collected during programme will see £1 or the local equivalent donated by Vodafone to WWF for projects around the world.

Vodafone stated the 1 million phones for the planet programme will support its goal to reduce its carbon emissions to net zero by 2040. The scheme will also help eliminate e-waste and create a more circular economy for mobile phones, it explained.

The operator cited a lifecycle assessment by Erwann Fangeat, ADEME, et al which showed buying a refurbished smartphone could save roughly 50kg of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), lowering the contribution to climate change by 87 per cent over a newly-manufactured device while also removing the need to extract 76.9kg of raw materials.

Vodafone’s programme also includes apps designed to help its customers make sustainable choices, along with projects in South Africa, Germany and the UK which use mobile technology to help address conservation and sustainability challenges.

Orange and Swisscom announced recycling schemes earlier this year.

Earlier this month, industry group the GSMA claimed changes to mobile phone recycling rates could cut up to 21.4 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually by 2030.