MTN Rwanda Launches Biodegradable Paper SIM Cards, Pioneering Sustainable Telecom Practices

MTN Rwanda introduces eco-friendly “bioSIM” cards, aligning with green growth strategy and global environmental goals.

MTN Rwandacell PLC (MTN Rwanda) has announced the launch of the first ever paper-based biodegradable SIM cards in the country. This initiative marks a significant step in our ongoing commitment to protect the planet and promote sustainable business practices. This is in addition to our eSIM offering.

Globally, 430 million tonnes of plastics are produced annually, with 2000 garbage trucks full of plastic dumped into our oceans, rivers, and lakes every day. This pervasive plastic pollution poses a significant threat to ecosystems, diminishing their resilience to climate change. Notably, the telecoms industry contributes 2% to global emissions, with 4.5 billion plastic SIM cards produced in 2020 alone.

Recognising the need for change and in line with our MTN Group Environmental Strategy, we have embarked on a journey towards paper SIM cards and packaging optimisation. This move aligns with Rwanda’s Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy and underscores MTN Rwanda’s commitment to contribute to the nation’s journey toward climate resilience, carbon neutrality, and the promotion of innovative green economic practices.

The raw materials used in the production of the paper SIM cards are 100% Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, ensuring that the materials come from responsibly managed forests, providing environmental, social, and economic benefits. The FSC is a global organisation dedicated to promoting responsible forest management. 

MTN’s paper SIM cards will biodegrade with time, lending itself to the name “bioSIM”. This substantial improvement from plastic SIM cards aligns with MTN’s commitment to protecting our planet.

We are excited about the introduction of paper-based biodegradable SIMs in the country, a significant stride in our 25-year journey. Our dedication to aligning with Rwanda’s climate change strategy not only reflects responsible corporate citizenship but also echoes our core values of innovation and responsibility.

By introducing paper-based SIM cards, we aim to set a precedent for responsible business practices and encourage other industries to join us in fostering a greener, more sustainable future for Rwanda and beyond.

Mapula Bodibe, CEO, MTN Rwanda

Since the launch of MTN Project Zero in 2021, MTN Rwanda, under this initiative, has exchanged twenty-three per cent of its fleet for hybrid electric vehicles and launched a solar panel pilot at three of our data centres in an effort to contribute to the broader MTN Group goal of achieving zero net carbon emissions by 2040.

As a company deeply rooted in Africa, we are acutely aware of the environmental challenges our planet faces. We are committed to being part of the solution, and the launch of our paper-based biodegradable SIM cards for our customers is a prime example of how we’re replacing one-time-use plastic with biodegradable materials, testament to our dedication to sustainable business practices and reducing our environmental impact.

Enzo Scarcella, Executive Consumer Officer, MTN Group

MTN remains steadfast in its commitment to lead digital solutions for Rwanda’s progress and is continually exploring ways to integrate sustainable practices into its operations. The launch of these paper-based biodegradable SIM cards is just one of many initiatives MTN is undertaking to achieve its sustainability goals.

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