Can environmental consciousness curb subscriber churn?

SIM card, scratch card manufacturing eco-measures
Mobile & IoT solutions provider, Workz Group's Managing Director of Americas, Brad Taylor

 Brad Taylor, co-CEO

Environmental sustainability. Eco-business practice. Green.

You are probably familiar with these buzzwords, they are key points in business today. With reported global warming and disappearing eco-systems, consumers are playing an active role in keeping businesses liable for their impact on the environment. This wave has reached the telecommunications industry as well, with the GSMA partnering up with the United Nations to help achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The GSMA believes that the mobile industry has a critical role in working with governments and the international community to ensure that all efforts are mobilised to achieve these goals.  By default, this implies that everyone involved in the mobile telecommunications industry has an obligation to do their part.

One major way that all parties in the mobile industry can participate is by looking at their supply chain and assessing their SIM card and scratch card manufacturing, fulfilment and logistics. Operators are the force behind this participation and have begun by asking if their manufacturers and suppliers are ISO 14001 certified. The ISO 14001 certification is an environmental management system (EMS) that helps business entities evaluate their environmental footprint, and make changes where necessary.

In the mobile telecommunications industry, this EMS requires that SIM and scratch card manufacturers look at their impact on the environment from ‘cradle’ (sourcing materials that are environmentally compliant) to ‘grave’ (the environmental impact of the product when the end consumer is done with it). The process in between must also be considered, and this involves evaluating materials used in the production process, their disposal, the air quality inside and outside the factory, as well as the noise pollution. By the end of the manufacturing and fulfilment process, the product must be fit for purpose (limited plastic, not overusing tape, optimised packing, etc). In countries where the responsible disposal of FMCG goods by the buyer is an educational challenge, an ISO 14001 certified manufacturer would have completed all the steps to ensure that those products are as eco-friendly as possible, and not hurt the environment when the consumer is done with it.

So how can this help with customer churn in the telecommunications industry?

Across multiple studies, it was repeatedly found that if consumers believed a company to be “green”, it led to increased customer loyalty. However, because consumers are not always aware of how products or companies are contributing to environmental sustainability, they simply pick a product based on price and accessibility, weighed against quality. Nonetheless, consumers indicated that if they were aware of efforts by companies, they would go with the ‘greener’ option. This principle could be applied to operators as well. Creating awareness by incorporating ‘environmentally ethical’ symbols and information into your artwork, or running communication campaigns educating consumers of your initiatives to reduce your carbon footprint can go a long way in building customer relationships and network loyalty.

Consumer churn is an operator challenge, and environmental ethos is a business concern. The two can be married to create one solution that addresses both problems. Assessing the operator supply chain is a powerful way of exerting environmental influence down the line to partners, and, if communicated effectively, can also be a big reason why consumers choose to stay with your network over your competitors’.

Workz has recently become ISO 14001 certified to further support operators with their environmental objectives. We regularly work with our partners to help reduce their carbon footprint and, in some instances, have seen reductions as big as 92% by recommending changes to packaging and transport methods. We intend to keep working with our partners to find solutions to reduce our environmental impact and would love to hear from you about ways we can together create enhanced environmental value in your existing business and engage with your consumers through topics that they care about.


If you would like to read the GSMA 2017 Mobile Impact Industry Report, follow this link.

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