At Virgin Media O2, we’re committed to using the power of connectivity and technology to accelerate a zero carbon future, faster for our company, customers and the planet.
The climate crisis requires urgent action and that why we’re stepping up to create a decarbonised future for the communities we serve.
Whether it’s working to achieve net zero carbon in our operations (Scopes 1 &2) by 2025, helping our customers to recycle old mobile handsets, or using 5G technology to enable energy efficient factories, we’re leading the charge to help people and businesses live and operate more sustainably.
That why we’re welcoming the announcement by the Prime Minister who is pledging that Britain’s electricity will only come from renewable sources by 2035, which will play a key role in helping the country to become net zero by 2050.
Stepping up for the planet
Our goal to become net zero is underpinned by a commitment to sourcing renewable electricity, as well as reducing consumption and being more energy efficient.
I’m proud that Virgin Media O2 already uses renewable electricity across our operations. Virgin Media is a member of the RE100 initiative and sources 100% power from renewables, while O2 uses 100% renewable electricity at all sites where it controls the bills, and is working with landlords of its third-party sites to encourage them switch to renewables, too.
To lower our consumption, we’re investing in our technical sites, using technology like smart sensors, intuitive software and free air cooling. These upgrades are having a significant impact as O2 is 82% more energy efficient than it was in 2015, delivering energy savings equivalent to one million kilograms of CO2e in one year.
Virgin Media is also using less power now than at any point in the last six years which has contributed to a 46% reduction in its operational carbon footprint since 2014.
We want to build on this by rolling out more solar PV panels and explore new technology like fuel cells to provide battery storage back-up power at our technical sites.
We’re investing in our infrastructure and upgrading older, legacy kit with newer, more efficient products. For example, our Virgin TV V6 box uses less than half the power of our previous set-top box, while our product scorecard helps ensure all our new products are more sustainable than the last.
And we’re committed to cutting carbon emissions from the journeys we make on the road as we transition our Virgin Media fleet to electric vehicles by the end of 2030.
Helping customers to live more sustainably
We’re helping our customers to make more sustainable choices – from the products and services we sell, to free eco-advice for businesses, and we’re curating programming on our TV platform to educate and inform viewers on climate change.
In 2020, O2 products helped customers save 1.4m tonnes of CO2. Since 2009, our O2 Recycle scheme has recycled around 3.3 million devices and almost 95% is refurbished and reused – with zero going to landfill. And since 2014, more than eight million Virgin Media products have been refurbished and reused in customers’ homes, too.
By doing this, we’re helping to extend the life of set-top boxes, routers, handsets and tablets, and are supporting the circular economy.
Virgin Media is also a founding member of the Media Climate Pact – an industry wide initiative to address climate change and includes promoting content on Virgin TV which highlights the climate crisis and the steps people can take to reduce their impact on the planet.
We’re also helping small businesses across the country to become net zero; this summer O2 launched the Net Zero Hub with the British Chambers of Commerce which is providing SMEs with free practical tools, tips and advice on how to cut their carbon emissions.
A zero carbon future
We’re not waiting for next month’s UN’s Climate Change Conference, COP 26, to act as the starting gun to take action on climate change.
For us, net zero is a business-critical issue and there’s no time to lose.
We’re going to go further and faster, harnessing the power of our networks, technology, people and products to help create a decarbonised, connected future for everyone.
Nicola Green is Virgin Media O2’s Chief Communications & Corporate Affairs Officer