Environmental management, a fundamental pillar in the GSMA We-Care Initiative in Colombia

Colombia is one of the major markets for the telecommunications industry. That's why Telefónica Movistar , as part of the initiative of the Worldwide Association of Mobile Carriers ( GSMA ),...

23/02/2015

JM Boluder

María Elena Cruz Martín

Data Scientist en Telefónica
y Managing Director de Girls in Tech España.

Colombia is one of the major markets for the telecommunications industry. That’s why Telefónica Movistar, as part of the initiative of the Worldwide Association of Mobile Carriers (GSMA), announced its support for the “We Care” campaign, which consists of a series of joint initiatives that seek to improve the experience of the country’s mobile users, making it more secure and sustainable. The initiatives are supported by Colombia’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies (MinTIC) and the Ministry for the Environment and Development. In addition, other operators are cooperating, such as Claro and Tigo and the Colombian Mobile Industry Association (Asomovil).

 

According to Tom Phillips, GSMA’s Head of Regulation, the country has 26 million unique mobile subscribers and 51 million mobile connections, making Colombia one of the mobile markets with most rapid growth in Latin America.

 

The campaign “We Care” focuses on four key areas: Development of mobile infrastructure, protection of the environment, reduction of mobile phone thefts and improving aid responses to natural disasters.

 

In terms of the development of mobile infrastructure, the main objective in this area is to support the efforts of the Government of Colombia to further expand the deployment of mobile networks included in the Vive Digital plan.

 

Within the field of environmental protection, emphasis has been placed on the management of electronic waste and electronic equipment (RAEE) or e-waste. This type of waste is the fastest growing in the world and is expected to grow by 17.5 percent in Latin America and 19.1 percent in Colombia between 2012 and 2015. In this regard, GSMA has just released a new report on eWaste in Colombia, as a continuation of that already published on e-waste in Latin America and which incorporates the latest data on the initiatives carried out by the industry to recycle mobile phones, batteries and accessories. This way, the document will support government strategies for a Green Recycling Agenda in Colombia.

 

Carriers also undertake to support e-waste recycling projects by the Ministry of Environment and Development and the MinTIC, in order to raise public awareness, and publicise events promoting recycling of this type of waste.

 

From 2011 to 2014, Telefónica Movistar Colombia, in its capacity as a mobile phone distributor, has handled 262,871 mobile units, batteries and other accessories in disuse. The recycling rates have remained virtually stable in recent years, owing to the fact that both in Colombia, as well as the rest of Latin America more generally, customers believe that these elements have an economic value and should not be given away.

 

Telefónica Movistar Colombia actively contributes to various initiatives through the ‘Recycle your mobile and connect with the Earth‘ project:

  • Recycling collection boxes placed in 85 shops nationwide.
  • Development of information campaigns across various media and settings to increase the volume of items recycled.
  • Targeted campaigns with institutions and companies, which include discussions on the environmental processes of recycling and re-using.
  • Driving strategies that invite players throughout the life cycle of mobile phones and their accessories to participate in the processes of collection and recycling.

 

Another of the key fields focuses on reducing the impact of natural disasters. Colombia has geographical features that make it a country with a high risk of natural disasters. National mobile carriers have committed to helping to achieve the objectives laid out by the National System of Telecommunications in Emergencies (SNTE) and the MinTIC in its Vive Digital Plan to ensure the continued delivery of communication services during this type of critical events.

 

In addition, another of the key working areas is the reduction of mobile phone thefts. The Government of Colombia has introduced a series of initiatives to raise awareness among citizens not to buy stolen mobiles and to report thefts, so that the criminal structures behind this type of theft can be dismantled.

 

Telefónica Movistar in Colombia is committed to the We Care Programme and the environmental programs associated with this initiative, joining with others to create a better experience for users of mobile telephones in the country, and to promote environmental sustainability.

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