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Green Champions - 02

Green Champions - 02

Green Champions

02

02 are a mobile phone giant. They’re one of the UK’s most popular mobile network providers, and it turns out that they have a pretty impressive environmental strategy too. The aim of the company’s strategy is to integrate sustainability into their day to day operations, and it has the backing of the chief executive and all of their employees.

Why do they have an environmental strategy?

The main reasons behind the strategy are that the company states it wants to support local communities, earn the trust of customers and stakeholders, protect the environment, and add value to the business.

They acknowledge that they have a responsibility to people and the planet, and that becoming more sustainable will help them to achieve their aims.

How did the strategy begin?

In 2008, 02 started working with a sustainability advisor called ‘Forum for the Future’, who helped them focus on 10 projects, including an Eco rating scheme.

02

The Think Big Blueprint

The company came up with the Think Big Blueprint in 2012. It was their first public sustainability plan, which focused on supporting the next generation, reducing the UK’s environmental footprint and enriching people’s lives.

The main aims of the plan were to develop products and services for more than 10 million people, to help them live more sustainably, and to support 1 million young people and projects around the UK.

The environmental part of the plan helped to cut carbon emissions, costs, and waste to help people live more sustainably.

Achievements to date

The company has helped nearly 12 million customers to change their behaviour, save money, and save natural resources. They came up with products and services that allowed customers to reduce waste and recycle.

The mobile phone initiatives

02 have introduced schemes to encourage customers to make sustainable choices (each handset has an eco-rating), make their handsets last longer (SIM only deals rather than handset upgrades), and to reduce the huge amount of electronic waste produced by the UK; amongst which there are 100 million phone chargers. There is a recycling scheme for unwanted devices. Handsets that are returned to the manufacturer can be refurbished and reused.

mobile phone

Eco rating

02 introduced the world’s first eco rating, which gives customers information on the environmental and ethical factors behind the handsets they are purchasing. This scheme runs in 20 countries, and is supported by other networks like Vodafone and Orange. 90% of the handsets 02 sells have been assessed for sustainability, so that customers can make an informed choice at the point of sale. 02 are working to make the eco rating an industry standard.

The company encouraged almost 1 million customers to buy handsets without chargers. Despite initial concerns, customers were persuaded by the fact that there are so many USB chargers available now, which work with any device. 9 handset manufacturers worked with 02 to promote the charger-free phones, and this means that packaging waste has reduced by 24% and almost 1 million chargers have been removed from the market as they are not needed. 86% of customers now have a charger-free handset.

Success to be proud of

02 have launched successful and award-winning sustainable products and services. They have also encouraged other businesses to follow suit. Sustainability runs throughout the entire organisation; in the day to day operations, in the ethos they teach their employees, and in the relationships they have with other companies and suppliers.

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