VodafoneZiggo gladly shoulders its responsibilities. We demonstrate that by participating in discussions with our stakeholders, including politicians, local authorities and social organizations. VodafoneZiggo is a member of several interest groups, like VNO-NCW, ICT Netherlands and ECP Platform, in which we collaborate to generate support for our shared viewpoints. We also place great store by ethical and responsible business operations. Read on to learn more about what we do in the field of investments, privacy, the environment and diversity.
At the moment we are in a process of harmonizing the purchasing process of VodafoneZiggo. Embedding sustainable and ethical purchasing is one of the focus points. Our suppliers have to meet the general purchasing conditions. Our sustainable and ethical code is part of this. It describes what we expect from our suppliers and their subcontractors.
As a telecom company we bear a huge responsibility regarding the protection of customers’ data and the confidentiality of their communication. This goes beyond complying with laws and regulations. After all, the success of our company depends on the extent to which customers and employees trust us to respect their privacy.
At the moment, next to integrating the privacy programmes of Vodafone and Ziggo, we are in a process of implementing the European General Data Protection Regulation. This will lead to a privacy risk management framework. We carry out privacy risk impact assessments for new products and services and we conclude unambiguous agreements with suppliers processing personal data on behalf of us. In addition, we report security leaks with regard to personal data to the Dutch Data Protection Authority. Should a security leak have negative consequences for our customers’ privacy, we will inform our customers accordingly.
Vodafone only shares personal data with third parties if this essential for the service provision, if there is a legal obligation to do so or if a customer explicitly gives his consent to do so. For example for using an app. We are legally obliged to inform the Dutch Data Protection Authority about the customer data we process.
The direct negative environmental impact by VodafoneZiggo is mainly caused by the network, the mobility of our employees and our buildings. The indirect environmental impact is caused by media boxes, Wi-Fi transmitters and mobile phones. The network is responsible for 85% of our power consumption. Our environmental programme is called 'Planet Tomorrow’. Our environmental policy is guaranteed by the ISO 14001® certificate. The programme consists of over 50 different project with three goals:
1. Improve our operational activities. For example by implementing energy-saving measures, doing more circular business and by doing so, reducing waste streams.
2. Enabling our customers to be more environmental-friendly. For example by buying back used phones to give them a second life, by clarifying the effect of our environmental-friendly Internet of Things connections with the campaign ‘Less CO2 thanks to ICT’ and by stimulating ‘smart working’.
3. Inspiring our employees to work and live environmental-friendly. For example by using public transport.
- Energy consumption: VodafoneZiggo uses wind energy for 100% of its electricity needs.
- Carbon footprint: VodafoneZiggo aims for a carbon-neutral service provision and is a member of the climate coalition.
- Harmful substances: VodafoneZiggo uses no harmful substances. We do use coolants, however, for air conditioning units in the shops for example. Our internal programmes focus on reducing the amount of coolants used.
- Circularity: Vodafone offers customers the possibility to reuse or recycle existing communication devices. We take care of the entire end-to-end process. As to Ziggo services, ownership of the equipment lies with Ziggo. All consumer customers are obliged to return the equipment to Ziggo upon cancelling their subscription.
-Dematerialization: apart from providing services, VodafoneZiggo can also stimulate dematerialization together with business customers in other areas as well. For example by stimulating working from home (smarter working) but also using ICT to improve the efficiency of services.
- Avoiding waste: like with dematerialization, VodafoneZiggo is able to develop programmes, in which the role of ICT is mainly supportive, together with business customers with the aim to reduce waste.
The progress of our performance with regard to our carbon footprint, energy consumption and recycling and reuse of waste is reported on a yearly basis.
Read our annual report
When it comes to diversity, VodafoneZiggo’s focus is on creating an international work force and an open culture with regard to LGBT+. With regard to our female work force, we particularly focus on encouraging women in higher management and technology.
We want to be an attractive company for international employees coming from different cultural backgrounds and will adjust our working culture and employment terms accordingly.
We have established an official Friends of LGBT+ network. Furthermore, we are a member of Workplace Pride, a partner that each year helps us organize the Pride Week (Gay Pride) in Amsterdam.
We also believe it is important to offer job opportunities to people who are distanced from the labour market. This has been an ongoing effort for several years. The independent research institute TNO assesses our performance in this area on a yearly basis. The results are published in the Performance Ladder of Social Entrepreneurship, a measuring tool showing a company’s performance in social areas. The higher on the ladder, the better the company performs. Next year we intend to make it to step 1. To realize that, we cooperate with, among others, partners like Locus, Emma at Work, Onbeperkt aan de slag and Sterk Sociaal.
Mobile phones, masts and health
Some people worry about the effect of mobile phones and masts on their health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there is no conclusive scientific proof that radio signals from base stations and wireless networks and mobile phones have a negative health effect. We want our customers to be able to use their mobile phone without having to worry. That is why we collaborate on an (inter)national level with various organizations when it comes to research and public information.
When building and maintaining our mobile network, cooperating with other parties is of the utmost important to minimize nuisance for local residents. Together with other providers we are united in Monet. This organization coordinates the location of antenna sites with the authorities. Together with Monet, we also enter into a dialogue with communities if the location of a mast leads to unrest. Since 2002, the industry and the authorities have been bound by the Antenna Covenant. This covenant contains the conditions for antenna sites up to five metres in height that can be erected without a building permit.
Using a mobile phone
When using a mobile phone, the human body absorbs part of the radio signals. According to the WHO there is no conclusive scientific evidence that this is harmful. If people want to reduce the level of radio signals when using a mobile phone, the World Health Organization has the following advice: call hands-free, limit the number and length of the calls and use the phone in areas with good reception.
According to a majority of scientists, backed by the WHO, there is no evidence so far that radio frequencies of mobile phones or base stations form an additional risk to children. Since the current generation of children and young people is likely to use mobile phones over a longer period of time, more research is being conducted into the use of mobile phones at various ages and into long-term usage. Vodafone will closely monitor the results of this research and the viewpoints of organizations like the World Health Organization on this subject.
We actively contribute to international and national scientific (independent) research into possible consequences of electromagnetic fields. Like the international COSMOS research in the Netherlands by the IRAS institute of the University of Utrecht (duration 30 year) into possible long-term effects of electromagnetic fields. We provide the data essential for conducting the research.
Since 2015, the telecom industry has been supporting the Knowledge Platform EMV (Electromagnetic Fields and Health). This is an independent information centre that gathers all knowledge of the RIVM, TNO, KEMA, the Joint Health Services, the Radiocommunications Agency and ZonMw with regard to electromagnetic fields. The goal is to interpret scientific information about the topic and make it available.
More information about the working of mobile phones, our global policy and scientific research can be found on the website of Vodafone Group.
Nederland is ranked among the countries with the best digital infrastructure when it comes to price, coverage and speed. Competition on the telecom market has resulted in two fixed networks with national coverage and (after the European Commission has approved the take-over of Tele2 by T-Mobile) three mobile networks with national coverage.
Competition between fixed infrastructures (copper, coaxial cable and optical fibre) results in alternating network technologies at the cutting edge of developments. This leapfrog effect fuels the incentive to keep investing in the rollout and usage of the latest network technologies. The technology behind copper and coaxial cable has improved in recent years to match optical fibre. This development resulted in increasingly higher speeds. The limits of copper with regard to data capacity and speed have apparently been reached, and coaxial cable can now measure up to optical fibre. To keep up with coaxial cable, our competitors have announced to focus (once again) on optical fibre, notwithstanding the high rollout costs.
Competition on the mobile markets has led to innovation and fierce price pressure: there aren’t many places in the world where users get so much data and speed for relatively low prices. Because of the investments in mobile networks, the latter are now ranked among the fastest in the world. The battle to secure the user’s favour is fierce, as the market is shrinking. Providers offer knock-down prices and combined package discounts to customers already subscribing to fixed internet.
In order to be able to fulfil future requirements, substantial investments are needed in the digital infrastructure, for maintaining as well as upgrading the fixed and mobile networks. The Dutch are increasingly active online, download more and more content, with increasing expectations: data usage rises with 40 to 60% each year. VodafoneZiggo invests approximately 20% of its revenues in its fixed and mobile networks every year. In 2018, that amounted to approximately 800 million euro. To ensure the Netherlands remains at the top, continuous investments are needed. This doesn’t take care of itself.
Investments originate from the telecom providers themselves and providers need to incorporate them in their plans. Policy predictability and investment security are essential in this respect. European and Dutch telecom legislation should encourage private investments in infrastructures and innovation. Therefore, it is a good thing that the government and regulatory bodies involve us in the design of new policy. The fixed and mobile networks constitute the foundation of connectivity in the Netherlands.
In the second half of 2018, VodafoneZiggo launched the campaign 'Network of the Future'. It demonstrates that VodafoneZiggo invests in the upgrading of its fixed and mobile networks, for everyone, throughout the Netherlands. Gigabit speeds will become possible through cable, for example, and we are preparing for the next generation of mobile communications. Applications of the future accelerated in this way are e.g. autonomous mobility, remote surgery, smart farming and virtual reality gaming. VodafoneZiggo is truly aiming for a Network of the Future.
Digitization is a worldwide trend that has swiftly transformed our daily lives and will continue to do so. Digitization is everywhere: in education, at work, in healthcare. In a short period of time, many of the things we do, have become digital. At the same time, new services came about, like WhatsApp, Uber and Airbnb. Digitization accelerates processes, brings people closer together and makes our life easier. Most of all, digitization provides opportunities, in our view.
The foundations of digitization are formed by the digital infrastructure in the Netherlands. The fixed and mobile networks in the Netherlands are ranked among the very best worldwide. In 2018, VodafoneZiggo launched its campaign ‘Network of the Future’. In it, we draw attention to all the things our technology enables, now and in the years to come. Our mobile network is being prepared for 5G and our fixed cable network will be upgraded to Gigabit speeds. With higher speeds and more capacity, more will become possible. Think of a virtual visit to your GP from home, or of a virtual meeting. We see digitization and the technology as tools to make our cities and villages more liveable.
In the autumn of 2017, during the Digitization Debate, VodafoneZiggo called on the government to come up with a digital strategy and to organize a Digitization Summit. In June 2018, the government published its digitization strategy ‘The Netherlands Digital’. In March 2019, the government will hold a conference under the same name with a Summit on 21 March as the closing event. VodafoneZiggo welcomes these initiatives and partners with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy to come up with a more detailed elaboration and concrete actions. VodafoneZiggo also works with the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations with regard to digitizing the government and digital skills for everybody.
VodafoneZiggo wants to ensure that as many people as possible can keep up with the digital world. To that end we develop programmes that will teach the various target groups the digital skills that our society requires. In this, we focus on children, teachers, families and senior citizens, among others.
We are a member of ‘Samen Digiwijzer’, a collaborative project of a great many parties that support schools and the authorities in teaching digital skills to children. We offer schools the free interactive teaching programme Online Masters. This helps teachers strengthen the digital skills of their pupils. During the annual week of media literacy in November, hundreds of colleagues give Online Masters guest lectures at schools in order to teach children how to use the internet in a safe, skilled and conscious way.
Furthermore, each month VodafoneZiggo organizes Experience Days at various office locations. Young people from socioeconomically deprived neighbourhoods are familiarized with technology and are given an inside view of VodafoneZiggo. In the Experience Center in Utrecht, we offer schools and other visitors a Digital Life Experience. And finally, we are a partner of the Technology Pact, aiming to improve the alignment of education and employment in the technology sector.
To support parents in their media education, we launched a game in 2019, that teaches parents and children together how to navigate the digital world safely and consciously. We also encourage them to discuss the digital opportunities and dangers with each other.
We notice that the substantial group of senior citizens in the Netherlands is becoming more digitally skilled, but part of this group struggles with society’s increased digitization. In 2019, we initiated the teaching programme 'Welcome Online', aimed at people who have never or rarely been online. Quite often these are people aged 65 and over. In the programme they receive help from students, children, grandchildren, volunteers or other people in their environment.