Hi, my name is Gareth Rice and I look after O2’s Environment strategy. You may have seen the news recently that O2 has become one of the largest companies to sign up to the 10:10 climate change initiative. This week we also launched our first more sustainable handset, the Sony Ericsson Naite. I wanted to give you some more insights into the work we’re doing in this area.

Sustainability is at the very heart of our business strategy which is why we were so keen so get involved with initiatives like 10:10 (we’ve also signed the Bali Communique and endorsed the Copenhagen Communique).

We’ve made some great in-roads into reducing our energy footprint in recent years, becoming the first mobile operator to be accredited with the Carbon Trust Standard in recognition of saving 47,000 tonnes of CO2 over the last three years. But we know that there’s a lot more we can do.

Our approach to sustainability has two strands. Firstly, it’s about how we get our own house in order and reduce our energy consumption. Secondly, it’s about the products and services we can bring to our customers to help and motivate them to reduce their own carbon footprints.

Here is a selection of the initiatives we have undertaken to reduce our energy consumption which we will continue to focus on to help us meet our 10:10 commitment:

• Investing in smart metering has given us more visibility and control over our energy usage. We can quickly identify wastage and where savings can be made.
• Last year we signed a 3 year, 100% renewable energy contract with Scottish and Southern Electricity
• In 2008, we increased our handset reclamation by nearly 14% collecting a total of 462,183 handsets.  This represents a saving of 59,716 kg of potential electronic waste.
• We’ve been testing and investing in more energy efficient equipment in our network which comprises 80% of our energy consumption
• We are working with Jonathon Porritt and his colleagues at Forum for the Future to develop our long term vision and strategy in this area. Each year, Porritt reviews key projects, audits our progress and provides new benchmarks.

And from a customer perspective:
• We pioneered SIM only tariffs in the UK. Incentivising customers to keep their existing handsets through great value SIM only deals saves 7.5kgs of CO2 per customer. Plus we donate £5 to our It’s Your Community programme for every O2 Simplicity tariff adopted.
• We launched a Universal Charger to help customer reduce the number of spare chargers in their home and to avoid having to get a new charger every time they get a new phone.
• We launched the Sony Ericsson Naite which has a 15% reduced carbon footprint

This is just a snapshot of what we’re doing in this area with some more exciting initiatives on their way. But hopefully it shows how important sustainability is for us at O2. Our vision is to be the leader on sustainability within the UK mobile industry by 2011. Watch this space for all the latest news and developments as we continue on our journey towards this objective.

To see me talk in more detail about the Sony Ericsson Naite, check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=demrbFzLzvM

Journalists can contact the Virgin Media O2 press office on:
press@virginmediao2.co.uk 01753 565656
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