Vodafone calls on UK businesses to donate unwanted devices to Great British Tech Appeal to help bridge digital divide and promote circular economy

Vodafone has launched a drive for more businesses to donate their unwanted devices to its Great British Tech Appeal, to help close the digital divide and promote a more circular economy.

Along with Good Things Foundation and their tech refurbishing partner Reconome, The Great British Tech Appeal is a Vodafone initiative that collects unwanted devices, securely refurbishes and reboxes them, adds connectivity and sends them to digitally excluded people, at no cost.

Research from Good Things Foundation has shown that there are several barriers preventing businesses from donating old tech. While many may have little knowledge of programmes like Tech Appeal, other fears are based around security and a perception that the process to donate devices will be complex.

Vodafone has partnered with Good Things Foundation to remove these barriers and make it easy and secure, with all devices being wiped of any data before finding a new owner.

Up to 484,000 tonnes of electricals were bought by businesses and other organisations during 2019, including phones and IT equipment. More than 200,000 tonnes of electrical goods are being thrown away by businesses. General waste and 5,000 tonnes of business electricals are being fly-tipped, with clean-up costs often being paid by local authorities.

At the same time, digital exclusion is at risk of rising due to the cost-of-living crisis. Research by YouGov and Development Economics, commissioned by Vodafone, predicted that up to a million families risk falling on the wrong side of the digital divide due to the crisis.

Lack of devices has been reported as one of the major contributing factors to digital exclusion, with 35% of Brits saying that not having a device directly impacts their ability to get online. Research by Good Things Foundation estimates that there are 10 million adults in the UK who are digitally excluded and a report by Ofcom found that 7% of households are without home internet access.

The Great British Tech Appeal is part of Vodafone’s everyone.connected campaign to tackle digital exclusion. In 2022, Vodafone reached the milestone of providing connectivity to 1 million people. It has now pledged to help a total of 4 million people living on the wrong side of the digital divide by the end of 2025.

Alongside its Tech Appeal, Vodafone has also launched Essentials Broadband and VOXI For Now to help bridge the digital divide. Both are among the most affordable social broadband and mobile tariffs on the market.

Nick Gliddon, CEO of Vodafone Business, UK, said: “At Vodafone, we are privileged to work with a fantastic network of customers. We are proactively calling on them to look at the devices they no longer want or need.

“We’ll work with Good Things Foundation to collect these devices, refurbish and re-box them, and provide free connectivity so that they can benefit those who need them most.

“Our everyone.connected programme has so far helped more than a million people cross the digital divide, and we aim to help a total of 4 million by 2025.

“We would encourage businesses to get involved, it costs nothing to donate, any data is securely wiped, and they would be doing their part in promoting the circular economy.”

Helen Milner, Chief Executive of The Good Things Foundation, said: “Every device donation will make a major difference to those on the wrong side of the digital divide. Donating is a great way to prolong device usage while also helping those who need it most.”

Vodafone’s Great British Tech Appeal accepts any device as long as the item is still working and in a useable condition. For any device which cannot be repurposed, all efforts are made to reuse parts or recycle. There is no minimum or maximum number of items that can be donated, and donations can be pre-arranged for office collection.

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