GSMA and Shields unveil commerce platform for environmental and financial sustainability targets

Barcelona – The GSMA today unveiled a network equipment commerce platform to help the telecoms industry achieve its financial and environmental sustainability goals, in partnership with solutions provider Shields Environmental Group (Shields).

The cloud-based global platform, called GSMA Equipment Marketplace, will help telecommunication providers around the world reuse, redeploy and recycle their network assets, while helping them achieve their net zero environmental targets and ensure financial sustainability.

By making the service available to its membership base of more than 1000 mobile operators and equipment manufacturers around the world, the GSMA hopes that the service can transform the way networks – fixed, mobile or private – are procured and decommissioned. In turn this will support the industry in its ambitions to reduce carbon emissions and minimise extraction of environmentally damaging raw materials used to make telecoms equipment. 

The GSMA estimates that manufacturing network equipment (including materials extraction and processing) and constructing network sites and mobile masts accounts for more than 30 million tonnes CO2e per year[1]. Supply chain emissions represent the largest share of a telecommunication network operator’s carbon footprint, reaching over 80% of the total in some cases. GSMA Equipment Marketplace can help to reduce these figures by enabling operators to reuse and recycle more of their assets, and so help support the industry to achieve its ambition to be net zero by 2050 at the latest[2].

John Giusti, Chief Regulatory Officer and Climate Action sponsor at the GSMA, said: “The industry continues strong and concerted action to deliver on its Net Zero commitments. Transitioning to a more circular economy business model can help operators further lower their emissions, by reducing reliance on carbon-intensive equipment manufacturing. We believe this new platform from the GSMA and Shields can support telecommunication network providers in their efforts to reduce carbon emissions and limit their reliance on raw material extraction.”

How GSMA Equipment Marketplace can help the telecoms industry with Net Zero goals

The GSMA Equipment Marketplace platform is already being successfully used by Vodafone Group, with the GSMA and Shields today unveiling plans to make it available to industry as a whole.

Ninian Wilson, Vodafone Global Supply Chain Director & CEO Vodafone Procurement Company said:“This platform has successfully supported Vodafone to reuse, resell and recycle decommissioned network equipment since we started using it in 2021. It has delivered new revenue and savings opportunities, while also contributing to a reduction of our carbon footprint. We are delighted to see this platform opening up to serve businesses across our whole industry, enabling a more circular economy for network equipment at greater scale.”  

The cloud-based platform, created and managed by Shields, a market leader in this field, provides a global view of assets and equipment, including real-time visibility of the stock.  Users can search for the required individual assets, view the results on a simple and intuitive interface, identify the most efficient and cost-effective source for the products needed and submit an order. Additionally, users can sell decommissioned equipment to a global buyer base or have it recycled.

Network operators can then quantify their carbon emissions reduction based on the total weight of the assets purchased or disposed through GSMA Equipment Marketplace, rather than purchasing from new. This evidence can then be incorporated into the business’s reporting to highlight the brand’s commitment to the environment and the tangible progress made towards carbon targets.

Daniel Jones, CEO of Shields, said: “Shields is passionate about helping to build a more sustainable telecommunications industry, through continually innovating to bring structural support to improve the way networks are sourced and maintained.  We are extremely proud and very excited to be partnering with the GSMA. Our commitment is assured, together we will ensure this digital platform and the associated managed services are of the highest quality and enable operators to maintain their network integrity.”

The GSMA commitment: Helping the telecommunications industry reduce its carbon footprint

The GSMA has long been a champion of climate action, supporting mobile network operators to set carbon reduction targets aligned to 1.5C. More than 70 operators have now done so, covering almost half of global mobile connections.

Alongside the launch of Equipment Marketplace, the GSMA has also published its fourth annual Mobile Net Zero: State of the Industry on Climate Action report today, which shows the carbon emissions of mobile network operators fell by 6% globally between 2019-2022.

Last year the GSMA and mobile operators launched an initiative to target the more than five billion mobile phones, currently sitting unused in desk drawers around the world, so that they can be reused or recycled, as part of a more ‘circular’ supply chain.

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