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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn Butler-Madden

The phone plan with the bigger plan

Our mobile phones are hiding a secret.

Want to know what it is?

One million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Yep. Hope that made you sit up the way I did when I heard this.

We all love our phones. Many people say it’s the one thing they can’t live without. Even if you don’t love them, it’s hard to dispute that they’ve become a vital part of our lives.

The truth many of us don’t know, though, is that it takes a lot of energy to run a mobile phone network. That energy primarily comes from burning fossil fuels, which as we know, has a material impact on the environment.

Whenever we use data, such as when texting, accessing the internet, watching videos and listening to music on our devices, cell towers are broadcasting signals. It takes a whole lot of energy to do that.

In Australia, each year the data centres and mobile towers that support our phones emit close to one million tonnes of carbon dioxide. To give you some perspective, that’s the same amount of carbon in a year as 386,000 passenger cars.

Enter felix, the mobile phone plan with a bigger plan – to do right by its customers by doing right by the planet.

felix is a business born in the twenty-first century.

That makes it different to so many other businesses, because it has the opportunity to build its offering for twenty-first-century needs from scratch, rather than adapting – as most established businesses have to do.

felix didn’t set out to become a purpose-led brand. The original idea was to launch a digital-only service business that would sit within the wider TPG Telecom business. As the development team started researching the market, they also started thinking about what it means to launch a new business in 2020.

The result was a brand built on three key pillars: simple, digital and sustainable.

Leading with sustainability was something that didn’t just come from the consumer research in the development phase; it was driven by the people on the felix development team themselves, who believed that any new business starting out now could not afford to ignore the impact of its business activities on the planet.

What sustainability means to felix starts with three key commitments:

1. One tree planted for every month a customer is with felix:

engaging their customers in their action of contributing to tree reforestation projects, by building it into their monthly subscription.

2. Carbon-neutral service:

buying renewable electricity in Australia to cover the power used in providing its service; and investing in certi- fied carbon offset projects to offset all other emissions. All of this is certified through the Climate Active initiative, a partnership between Australian government and businesses.

3. Powered by 100 per cent renewable electricity:

Australia’s first telco brand powered by 100 per cent renewable electricity from solar projects in Victoria.

Its launch campaign shared the secret that our mobile phones are hiding – an ad that educated consumers on the environmental impact of mobile phone use. Yes, you read right – a mobile brand telling consumers about the negative impact of its brand and industry.

So far – as at October 2021 – felix has planted 130,000 trees. Its two-year ambition to plant 1 million trees in the first two years, by the end of 2022, relies on it building a movement of people who want to use their purchasing power to help heal our planet.

It’s a pretty awesome ambition, and I have a feeling that the organisation will see a whole lot more customers joining it as they start learning more about felix: the mobile plan with a bigger plan.

You can have a listen to my interview with Paul Tierney, General manager of felix on the For Love & Money Podcast here. This interview delivers some great insights for those interested in how to navigate their path to purpose.

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