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How can telco’s really deliver on their sustainability promises?


Many international telcos are now making concrete promises to reduce their emissions. A new player in the Belgian mobile telecom market, UNDO, is a next-generation sustainable company developed from the ground up to actively contribute to the fight against climate change. Customers get their own transparent and user-friendly tool to erase their CO2 emissions.

Sustainability is a ubiquitous concept in business today. However, in many cases, the initiatives amount to greenwashing – just marketing or minor adjustments in production. The fast-growing telecom sector also faces sustainability challenges. With daily smartphone use, a user emits 60kg of CO2 annually on average. It’s time for action, thinks UNDO, the new Belgian virtual mobile operator actively committed to the climate from start to finish. UNDO is a mobile operator designed to ensure the whole chain is right, so both the company and customers can contribute. User-friendly apps make it easier for customers to transition themselves. UNDO aims to catalyze a broad ecosystem with other sustainable and circular economy initiatives, starting in the heart of Europe.

Sustainable entrepreneurship expert Prof. Dr. J. Jonker provides commentary on this use case in an attached vision statement.

UNDO will plant a tree in Congo for every new subscriber from July 17, 2023 to offset emissions and reforest the planet. UNDO’s goal is building a community aware of choices that reduce climate impact. Developing user-friendly tech tools that allow everyone to simply and concretely contribute is essential.

UNDO General Manager Laurent Bataille explains: “Our driving principle is reversing the ecological impact human society has had. This can only happen by transitioning from self-serving to conscious and connected. It entails three things: First, measuring impact tangibly. Second, providing means to neutralize impact. Third, rewarding positive actions with recognition and connections with like-minded individuals.”

The UNDO app lets customers offset their carbon footprint. The UNDO calculator automatically measures emissions from device manufacturing, charging electricity, network usage, and SIM shipping. To avoid physical shipping, UNDO offers eSIM instead of plastic SIM cards.

By analyzing this data, UNDO calculates the mobile usage carbon footprint and lets customers offset via tree planting and other concrete sustainability projects.

Laurent Bataille: “In developing these tools, we prioritized user-friendliness. We have a unique calculator different from typical emissions calculators. We empower users to take responsibility and address climate change, preserve the environment, and build a sustainable value chain focused on people over profit. Moreover, we aim to build an ecosystem where users can connect with similar businesses. The UNDO ecosystem will catalyze the transition from unsustainable linear offerings to sustainable circular services. This sets UNDO apart as we remain transparent and embrace inclusivity.”

UNDO works with local partner IBI Village in Congo. IBI Village does ecological tree planting, as over 80% of the landscape was destroyed forest now bushy savannah with low fertility. UNDO aims to plant 25,000 acacia trees to create a carbon sink, directly contributing to challenges like climate change and biodiversity while benefitting the local community.

Thierry Mushiete, IBI Village co-owner says: “By partnering with UNDO, we engage in ecosystem services exchange where the telco supports reforestation, carbon sequestration, watershed protection. This collaboration provides financial support for our sustainability, contributing to ecosystem health and resilience. It aligns conservation with incentives, promotes inclusion, and connects operators with sustainability stakeholders.”

UNDO offers users a chance to connect to something bigger, aimed at social growth and development. Users can support local social initiatives like doctor visits, farm tools, or rehabilitating school infrastructure. To ensure transparency, the operator provides app details on spending sources.

Climate and sustainability are essential, especially for young target groups. But sustainable and ecological products/services are often expensive, making a climate-friendly transition difficult in daily life. UNDO brings the solution as the only carbon-neutral MVNO in Belgium at a competitive monthly cost, using the known Orange network.

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