Achieving sustainability: Virgin Mobile MEA eliminating single-use plastics

With one of the world’s most iconic brand names, a rapidly growing subscriber base and a strong regional presence across the Middle East under the Virgin Mobile and FRiENDi Mobile brands, Virgin Mobile MEA looked to collaborate with its SIM provider Workz Group to develop a more sustainable modus operandi for all its entities.  

The challenge

According to data from the World Bank, carbon emissions in the Middle East stand at an average of 9 metric tons per capita, making it one of the highest in the world. Plastic is a key contributor to this with almost 360 million metric tons produced in 2019 with an estimated 60% of all plastics ever produced having ended up either in a landfill or finding their way into the natural environment. In response to the growing environmental issues and in line with the wider Virgin group of companies’ strategy to tackle its effects, Virgin Mobile MEA intensified their measures to eliminate the use of single-use plastics, optimise its supply chain and introduce sustainable practices across all operations.

The partnership

Virgin Mobile visit the Workz SIM production facility

To achieve their goals, Virgin Mobile MEA turned to twelve-year partner Workz Group with whom they have worked on a range of successful special projects through the years.

Following ecological best practices and being ISO-certified for environmental management, Workz has been increasingly implementing sustainable operations and solutions across its client base that spans over 70 countries. These include more sustainable product alternatives, recycling programmes for operational waste, employing energy-efficient sources and low emission equipment. It also offers customers supply chain analysis and guidance to reduce their carbon footprint.

As part of the ongoing project, Workz is participating in a vendor audit by Virgin Mobile MEA to ensure it meets its stringent criteria as a sustainable partner.

The solution

Virgin Mobile MEA’s sustainable SIM pack 

Workz has been providing Virgin Mobile MEA sustainable alternatives across its operations since the start of its partnership and these initiatives have grown during the course of their collaboration. From an end-user perspective, it modified the product design to reduce the SIM card size, replaced plastic packaging with recycled paper, reduced collaterals and eliminated other unsustainable elements such as glue and labels. From a logistics aspect, supply chain guidance was given to utilise reusable pallets that comprised less wood than the previous packing specification with crates. In addition, Workz continued to implement additional sustainable initiatives across its production and supporting operational activities to reduce its own carbon footprint.

The results

Impact of sustainable practices 

By early 2022, the resulting actions in Virgin’s case will have achieved:

  • 100% elimination of single-use plastic across all Virgin Mobile MEA entities
  • 75% reduction of plastic by reducing the SIM from a full credit card size to quarter card
  • 35% energy saving (estimated) by using recycled paper for packaging collaterals
  • 84% overall reduction in cost

Commenting on the success of the collaboration, Erik Dudman Nielsen, founder and Group CEO of Virgin Mobile MEA revealed:

Group CEP of Virgin Mobile MEA | Workz Group

 

 

“At Virgin Mobile, we’re keen to be a sustainable company and do our part to eradicate single-use plastic in our operations across the region. As our local partner, Workz has been helping us achieve that goal and we are proud to be on the verge of becoming 100% single-use plastic free across all of our owned operations in the Middle East.”

Benefits of Workz sustainable SIM solution

If you’d like to learn more about how Workz helps mobile network operator increase their sustainability then please contact us today.

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