Vodafone will reduce its own CO2 emissions by 50 percent by 2020, and will help users lessen their burden on the environment.

"This is the right decision for a responsible business to take. It is good for the environment but also makes sense for the business," said CEO Arun Sarin in a statement Monday.

The starting point for measurements will be the company's emissions during 2006/2007, which totaled 1.23 million tons. Currently, Vodafone's network accounts for 80 percent of its emissions, so improving energy efficiency here is a top priority.

It also plans to introduce solar-powered phone chargers for Vodafone-branded handsets to help users limit their own emissions.

Vodafone has also reviewed other ways to lower CO2 emissions, including carbon-offsetting, but came to the conclusion that direct cuts are is the best alternative.

The announcement doesn't come as a surprise to Mikael Salo, editor-in-chief at the Swedish paper Miljöaktuellt, which focuses on environmental issues.

"It is quickly becoming a must for all companies, including mobile carriers, to analyse how it affects the environment and what it can do to improve energy efficiency," he said.

At the same time the mobile operator encourages others to take similar action, and it isn't alone - last week Taiwan Mobile announced it had adopted 10,000 trees.