Virgin Media O2 UK Cut Carbon Emissions by 23 Percent in 2023

Broadband, mobile and TV giant Virgin Media O2 has this morning revealed that they reduced their carbon emissions by 23% last year (or 45% since its baseline in 2020). At the same time, they also increased their fleet of Electric Vehicles (EV) to 281 – edging them toward their target to transition to a fully EV fleet by 2030 (c. 4,300 vehicles).

The figures were released as part of VMO2’s update to their sustainability strategy (Better Connections Plan), which among other things aims to achieve Net Zero Carbon (i.e. removing as many emissions as they produce) across their operations, products and supply chain by 2040 – some 10 years ahead of the UK’s goal.

NOTE: The 23% reduction in carbon emissions reflects VMO2’s Scopes 1 and 2 targets.

In addition, the company has supported consumers to carry out 4.7 million ‘circular actions’ (e.g. recycling old tech or buying refurbished smartphones), against its 10 million goal by the end of 2025, and the O2 Recycle scheme saw almost 250,000 devices saved from landfill last year.

The operator also claims to have helped improve the digital skills of 2 million people in 2023 and is on track to reach 6 million by 2025. Elsewhere, the National Databank has provided a total of 41,933 O2 SIM cards and 188,149 of O2 data (mobile broadband) vouchers since launch. The company’s workers have also supported more than 100,000 people across the country with their five annual paid volunteering days.

In addition, VMO2 said they’ve removed 65 tonnes of single-use plastic since 2021, while also adding that 11 million routers and set-top boxes have now been refurbished and reused since 2014.

Lutz Schüler, CEO of Virgin Media O2, said:

“Our Better Connections Plan makes clear that we are a business that aims to deliver for our customers, for our communities and for our planet, and we made further strong progress across the board last year.

We are on track to meet our targets to cut Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 60% by 2025 and deliver net zero carbon by 2040. We are supporting decarbonisation through the products and services we provide, encouraging circular actions among consumers, cutting our own use of plastic, and stepping up to support the communities we serve through initiatives designed to boost skills, tackle digital exclusion and provide free data and devices to those in need.

As a major UK business, we’re committed to reducing our environmental impact as we continue to provide fast and reliable connectivity to our millions of customers.”

Finally, it’s noted that the take-up of social broadband tariffs – Essential Broadband and Essential Broadband Plus – increased by 285% last year, although that will be starting from a fairly low base given how relatively young they are.

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