Virgin Media O2 cuts carbon equal to 150,000 car journeys

The British telecommunications company has cut carbon by 29% against its 2020 baseline, equivalent to 150,000 car journeys from Land’s End to John O Groats

In a year since Virgin Media O2 launched its sustainability strategy, the Better Connections Plan with bold and ambitious goals, new figures released in May show the provider has cut carbon by 29% since 2020.

The significant carbon reduction - the equivalent of removing nearly 150,000 car journeys from Land’s End to John O’Groats - comes as Virgin Media O2’s net zero target has been validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). 

Virgin Media O2’s near-term and net zero targets have been approved by the SBTi, where its climate plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions across its operations, products and supply chain (Scopes 1, 2 and 3 emissions) by the end of 2040 is in-line with the latest in climate science to help prevent global temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees. 

Positive progress  

Virgin Media O2 has made progress against its Better Connections Plan goals over the past 12 months. As well as reducing carbon emissions (Scopes 1 and 2) by 29% in 2022 against its 2020 baseline, its products and services prevented more than 29 million tonnes of carbon entering Earth’s atmosphere last year by powering Internet of Things applications. The company has introduced more than 70 electric vehicles to its fleet with a pledge to be fully electric by 2030

It is also the first UK telco to be recognised by the Carbon Trust for its net zero plan, being awarded the Advancing Level of the organisation’s Route to Net Zero Standard.

As well as progress in reducing carbon emissions, Virgin Media O2 supported consumers to carry out 2.4 million ‘circular actions’ in 2022 against its 10 million 2025 goal. This included encouraging customers to buy ‘like new’ second-hand devices and using initiatives such as O2 Recycle to sustainably dispose of unwanted tech.

O2 Recycle saw more than 250,000 devices recycled in the past year, with none going to landfill - paying out more than £36 million (US$44.6m) to consumers. The scheme has also refurbished and reused more than 10 million routers and set-top boxes and launched a £500,000 (US$61,900) initiative - the Time after Time e-waste fund - providing grants of up to £75,000 (US$92,800) to community groups across the country to tackle e-waste and to promote circularity.  

Lutz Schüler, CEO of Virgin Media O2, said: “A year on since we launched our robust and bold sustainability strategy, the Better Connections Plan, Virgin Media O2 has stepped up for the planet, our customers and the communities we serve, going further and faster to cut carbon from our operations, support people to live more sustainably, and provide free data, devices and digital skills to help those in need get online. 

“With the backing of the SBTi, as well as the Carbon Trust, we’re on track to deliver our net zero carbon plan by the end of 2040 - 10 years ahead of the UK’s net zero goal - reducing carbon emissions in-line with best-practice climate science.  

“We’ll build on this positive progress and continue to use our purpose, people and products to have a long-lasting impact on society and the planet so everyone can live in a greener, more sustainable world.” 

 Luiz Amaral, Chief Executive Officer of the Science Based Targets initiative, added: “Climate science tells us that we need rapid and deep emissions cuts if we are to achieve global net-zero. Virgin Media O2 joins the growing list of companies cutting emissions across its entire value chain in line with science and it is playing its part in limiting warming to 1.5°C.”

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