Dr Gareth Rice, Head of Environment, Telefónica UK, explains how being sustainable provides more benefits than just helping the environment.

Being environmentally friendly has been a hot topic for as long as I’ve been working. Businesses of all sizes are increasingly adopting green policies, while at home we’re recycling and managing our energy and water use through smart meters.

‘Green’ isn’t just a buzzword anymore; it’s a part of life.

But there are more benefits than the knowledge that we’re helping the environment.  While that’s essential, the reality is that we also need to be competitive and profitable to survive.

By using sustainable methods, not only can your costs fall and efficiencies rise, but you may well become more respected by your customers and employees too – helping to attract and retain new talent.

There are some great examples of businesses that have made sustainability drive revenue – Procter & Gamble quotes revenues of $40bn from sales of products such as cold water laundry detergents, between July 2007 and June 2011. And Philips earns 30% of its total revenue from green products.1

A change in culture to adopt greener ways of working can help save millions of pounds. When we built our new headquarters in Slough in 2009, we built it with flexible working in mind, saving almost 550 desks and over £3.8m in costs.

And it builds customer loyalty. 44% of our consumer base told us that sustainability effects their buying decisions. Over the course of this decade, more than 60% of consumers will be more likely to buy from companies that use less energy to make and sell their products than their competitors.2

There are immediate changes businesses can make to be more sustainable. We now switch off the 500+ TV screens that operate across our estate at night and weekends, creating a 40% energy saving.

And our customers can sign up to My O2 Business so they can view and analyse their mobile, fixed and broadband usage, bills and payments online, reducing paper waste. It’s a free service which is available on our website around the clock. Small and medium business customers can sign up quickly on our website. Service Relationship Managers can set accounts up for their Enterprise customers.

We’ve got plenty of examples of sustainability at work to share with you. Just call Matt Worth on 01235 433 507, or visit http://www.o2.co.uk/enterprise/why-o2/responsible-business

1 Ethical Corporation, http://www.ethicalcorp.com/stakeholder-engagement/big-business-sustainability-offensive

2 nVision Research. Base: 2207 online respondents aged 16+, GB, 2011

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