The global telecoms industry faces critical challenges in the fight against climate change and the drive to introduce a more circular economy. Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has become a global goal to mitigate climate change, and telecom operators have an important role to play. As energy is decarbonised through renewable options, network equipment represents one of the most urgent emissions hotspots to address.
In answer to this call - and drawing on four decades of experience working in the telecoms sector – UK-headquartered Shields has developed MarketPlace, a cloud-based platform which allows telecom operators to realise financial, environmental and social benefits.
“The rise of the circular economy showcases the criticality to combat resource depletion, which is a challenging environmental impact that is often overlooked,” says Shields CEO Daniel Jones. “The telecoms world is now only 8.6 per cent circular. The contribution network equipment can make to achieve a circular economy is enormous.”
MarketPlace has been adopted by the leading international telecom operator Vodafone, active in more than 25 local markets. To date, the Shields platform has enabled at least €30m+ of CAPEX saving from reusing refurbished equipment and more than €5m of additional revenue generated from the resale of surplus network equipment. It has also saved more than 7,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions during the process.
Shields had been offering circular economy services for a range of operators when they were first introduced to Vodafone UK in 1998. The telecom giant was in the process of modernising network equipment, and Shields formed a relationship with Vodafone UK that enabled them to introduce a 3R principal: 1) optimise Reuse back to Vodafone UK, 2) Resell surplus Vodafone UK assets globally and 3) Recycle the delta with a zero landfill policy. This 3R policy adopted with Vodafone UK is the foundation of MarketPlace which has introduced a fourth ‘R’ and explores Group Reuse after local needs have been catered for.
“One person's waste is another person's treasure,” says Jones. “The products Vodafone UK no longer needed in their network were in demand among less mature networks within the Vodafone Group. So there was an opportunity for Vodafone to save money from Group Reuse, but there is also the benefit to the planet. We must ensure that everything that is no longer deemed needed has reuse maximised and is tracked and traced through to reuse or disposal.”
In 2021, Shields conducted research with a 3rd party on the GHG reduction potentials and quantified a reduction of 89 per cent of cradle-to-gate emissions saving with the MarketPlace reuse model. Shields is leading the way in GHG reduction, setting a 1.5°C-aligned science-based target and championing this across the world to help operators achieve both Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) and financial targets.
“MarketPlace creates significant financial savings (avoidance) and generates new revenue streams, whilst at the same time reducing long lead times compared to new equipment. There is a positive business case that also saves the planet. It is a win-win-win for all telecom operators that embrace our MarketPlace solution, which is needed by them in this highly competitive market,” says Jones.