Vivo Communication Technology Co. Ltd (known globally as vivo) is one of the top smartphone brands globally with a motive to conduct business in a socially responsible and ethical manner. Founded in 2009, vivo first entered the Indian market in 2014 “with a commitment to bring product innovation, focus and value to our consumers.” The company’s India arm, Vivo Mobile India Private Limited, established its first manufacturing plant in India in 2015 and sold its first India-assembled smartphone soon after. Over the next six years, the company has grown to become one of the leading smartphone brands in India.
Vivo believes to operate in a way to minimize the impact on the environment and help in replenishing the planet ensuring environment stability
New Rules, New Challenges
In March of 2016, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) published the E-waste (Management) Rules. The rules defined clear liabilities for producers, importers, and manufacturers of electrical and electronic equipment in India. Under the framework required by these rules- Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)- the onus to collect and channelize e-waste generated from ‘end-of-life’ products lays with the producer. Any company under the purview of these rules had to obtain relevant authorisations to continue operations in India.
Vivo’s India team needed a complete understanding of the Rules and how they apply to them as a manufacturer, producer and bulk consumer of electronics. They needed expert technical guidance on the matter, and a comprehensive solution to meet the challenge head on. The goals were:
To establish transparency and authenticity in operations
A pan-India set up collection centres for collection and storage of e-waste
To create consumer awareness on various aspects of e-waste management
It was imperative for the vivo India team to have a clear and ethical system for the collection and recycling of e-waste, one where they can also be assured in the network of collection centres and the reach of awareness programmes to reduce the pressing risk of non-compliance.
Operation without the adequate framework in place would “be considered as causing damage to the environment
In 2016, MoEFCC also published the Plastic Waste Management Rules, introducing EPR to plastic waste and putting the responsibility of collecting waste from plastic packaging back onto the producer, importer, brand owner.
Partnership with Karo Sambhav
Vivo partnered with Karo Sambhav in 2019 for support with the fulfilment of its pan India e-waste EPR obligations. Experts from Karo Sambhav worked closely with the team from vivo to understand their needs and guide them through vivo’s different EPR obligations as a manufacturer, producer and bulk consumer.
Karo Sambhav conducted in-depth sessions with the vivo team, training them to successfully execute their responsibilities as an electronics manufacturer and bulk consumer. For vivo’s obligations as a producer, the teams developed and implemented an EPR action plan to meet the yearly e-waste collection and consumer awareness targets.
Karo Sambhav deployed its years of experience and pan-India network of e-waste aggregators, waste pickers and collection centres. vivo got much needed visibility into movement e-waste collected and channelised on its behalf. vivo also got access to Karo Sambhav’s pan-India dedicated network of collection centres. Together, both companies implemented multiple consumer awareness programmes, using radio, digital and print medium to reach different stakeholders over the years. Karo Sambhav’s deep assurance mechanisms gave vivo confidence that their work was ethical and fully compliant.
Year on year both companies have grown the partnership, with collection and channelising of E-waste increasing by 58.8% from 2019 to 2020, and then leapfrogging by nearly 400% in 2021. The partnership works on constant and honest knowledge sharing between both companies. In 2021, when CPCB notified electronics brand owners to register themselves under the plastic waste rules, Karo Sambhav supported vivo in filing the application in compliance with newly released CPCB SOPs.
Vivo continues to work with Karo Sambhav to implement the EPR framework all over the country. For vivo, Karo Sambhav is a one stop shop for solution that provides assurance, presence and impact for management of different types of waste.
Accomplished Goals :
Through 2019 to 2020, Vivo and Karo Sambhav have collected and dismantled/ recycled over 130 MT of phones (ITEW 15)
In 2021, they plan to collect and channelise 400 MT of phones to authorised E - waste recyclers and dismantlers
Vivo partnered with Karo Sambhav in 2019 and has helped in achieving the year-wise targets on the collection and awareness front. The capacity building done by the experts from Karo Sambhav helped to change the perspective of EPR applicability in real-life scenario. vivo has joined the movement with Karo Sambhav to formalize the entire value chain and promoting transparency and credibility in the operations”