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Supporting Virgin Media O2’s ambitious ESG strategy

The future belongs to all of us. The more we come together, combining our expertise and ambition, the greater chance we have of making the changes in society we want to see.

This idea was central to our recent collaboration with Virgin Media O2. We worked with the newly merged business on a project to set out its sustainability ambitions with a new ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) strategy, resulting in its better connections plan.

Launched earlier in 2022, the plan describes the many actions VMO2 is taking now – and in future – to create a fairer, greener world.

As so often happens when like-minded organisations come together, we’re inspired by what we learn along the way – in this case, from VMO2’s determination to put ESG at the very heart of its business.

Each ESG strategy is unique. Working alongside lots of different clients on theirs has shown that there are some important elements that can help a company achieve its goals.

They start with vision and leadership – and if you want to learn more about both, take a look at our interview with VMO2’s chief communications and corporate affairs officer, Nicola Green.

“On this project, Nicola and the team were clear that, following its merger, the company’s increased scale brought with it a responsibility to make a bigger and better ESG impact on the communities and environment it touches,” says Nick Wyver, Deloitte UK’s ESG TMT lead.

Taking inspiration from VMO2’s approach and Nicola Green’s reflections on the importance of setting ambitious targets, integrating sustainability into your business and helping others beyond your company to live greener lives, here’s more on how the company has created an ESG strategy with the potential to make a big difference.

Set stretching targets

VMO2’s targets include ambitious commitments across scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions seeking to achieve net-zero carbon across its business, products and supply chain by the end of 2040 and zero-waste across its products and operations by the end of 2025.

To arrive at targets that would stretch and challenge VMO2, we benchmarked the company with other organisations. This helped to create a shared understanding of what the most ambitious of its global peer group is doing, and where VMO2 could go further.“

We worked together with VMO2 to set the bar high with specific measurement criteria,” says Nick.

“This is really important as it’s how VMO2 and its stakeholders will understand how quickly progress is made.”

“It was great to hear that VMO2 valued our input in helping to create a credible, robust plan,” says Nick, “and we were all inspired by VMO2’s drive. When businesses are motivated to do as much as they can, it motivates us, too.”

As a business, I believe you have to set targets that are stretching.
If they’re easy, you won’t get the same focus.

Nicola Green

We recognise the role sustainability plays in determining the growth, evolution and longevity of our organisation.

Nicola Green

Make sustainability integral to your business

“It was brilliant to work with an organisation in which sustainability-led growth is so important, and in which people are constantly asking ‘how can we do more?’” continues Nick.

“No company can do everything at once. Part of the challenge was crystallising the actions VMO2 could focus on now – and what it would do more of in the future.”

Working together, we explored the areas that would be most likely to make the biggest impact and were best aligned with VMO2’s business ambitions.

Continuing its previous work to support device recycling, the plan zeroes in on creating a circular economy as one of its main pillars.

Help others live greener lives

To help align its targets and vision, we worked with people from across its business, scoping ways its customers could play a part in reducing e-waste by making use of older devices and other electrical products,” says Deloitte circular economy lead James Pennington.

This fed into VMO2’s aspirational commitments to help its customers carry out 10 million circular actions to tackle e-waste by the end of 2025 and prevent 20 million tonnes of CO2e from entering Earth’s atmosphere, using green tech and improved connectivity.


Turning ambition into action

The Paris Agreement sets out the ambitious goals we need to achieve to create a better future – limiting global temperatures from rising by no more than two degrees.

Getting there requires collaboration, imagination and ambition – and we saw all of this at VMO2.

“Right across the business, from innovation teams to HR and sales, we worked with people motivated to make a difference,” Nick concludes.

“We’re looking forward to seeing VMO2’s progress and hope we can support its teams to go even further in future.”

It’s crucial that we multiply our impact by helping our customers live and work more sustainably.

Nicola Green

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