Media boxes, SIM cards, modems – we strive for the lowest possible impact on the environment with all our products. We are constantly making strides in this. For example, B2B is going to start using Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs). These provide us with insight into the whole journey our products go through, from origin to reuse, from production to disassembly.

Customers can reduce the environmental impact of their own organisations with VodafoneZiggo’s connectivity solutions. "By enabling remote working everywhere, for example”, says Wietse Kuiken, CSR Manager for VodafoneZiggo. "Nevertheless, it is of crucial importance that we offer transparency on the environmental impact of the products we supply for this purpose. Wietse works on boosting sustainability every day, both inside and outside the company. "LCAs are an important tool for this. They give us detailed insights into the environmental impact of our products and identify opportunities for sustainability. Valuable information, with which we can really make an impact."

LCA: from raw material to discarded product
An LCA is basically a list of questions that you use to analyse all kinds of facets of a product, starting with the raw materials: which materials is this product composed of? And do these include precious metals or recycled plastics, for example? Next comes the production itself: how much CO2 is released during the manufacturing process? Transport is also an important factor. Products sometimes undertake a very long journey. For example, from a factory in China, through the Port of Rotterdam and a local distribution centre, with the final destination being the customer. How much emissions does that produce?

The questions do not end when a customer receives the product. In fact, you are only halfway there. After all, how much energy is needed during use? And what happens to the product if the customer no longer wants it or wants it replaced? How many times can it be reused and repaired? And what happens to the product when the last user discards it? "That final phase is particularly important”, Wietse says. "If a product is designed for reuse, you can reintroduce the materials into the chain. If everything is glued together, the scrap heap is often unavoidable."

Sustainability and circularity are the future
"Mapping out the life cycle of our products is a huge task. We can ascertain some information ourselves, but far from all of it. That is why we collaborate with an independent consultant: Grant Thornton Impact House." An LCA is purely an inventory. So, it is no guarantee of sustainability, says Wietse. "But make no mistake. This is a very important starting point. We can start assessing products on a completely different level with this information. It shifts the focus from price and quality to sustainability and circularity. LCAs therefore provide a good basis for making products more and more environmentally friendly throughout their entire life cycle."

Being critical of each other to make the chain more sustainable
VodafoneZiggo is applying LCAs to products for the business market first. "That is no coincidence. Our business clients demand this of us. Sustainability is high on the agenda for large companies and public organisations. Therefore, while we look at our suppliers critically, our customers look at us critically in turn. They too want to know where those products came from and what you can get out of them once they have completed their first stint of service. This is a very positive development. After all, this is how we jointly ensure our entire chain becomes more sustainable. Teamwork makes the dream work!"