Making sustainability part of your bottom-line: Why collaboration is key
As part of edie's Net-Zero Carbon Playbook, Virgin Media O2's business director Jo Bertram outlines how collaborative efforts to reach net-zero can help businesses prosper during the low-carbon transition.
With COP26 just months away, the urgency around tackling the global climate emergency has never been clearer. But just how important are net-zero targets for a business’s bottom line?
Like so many of us, as a business leader – but also someone who cares about the planet my young family will inherit – I’m looking towards COP26 with great anticipation. Whatever guise the talks take in November – in person or virtual – they will bring together some of the world’s most influential climate stakeholders to help set a roadmap to a more sustainable future.
Joining O2 in 2018, I was inspired by how strong our track record in climate action was, and was so deals in tech and innovation, I see it first-hand every day. We’re working on projects to take trucks off the road by using connected drones to deliver medical supplies. In homes, we’re connecting smart meters that can encourage people to change their behaviour and save energy. Connectivity is a great enabler for a lower-carbon economy. We know that globally, mobile tech can save ten times more emissions than it produces. As a connectivity champion, it’s our responsibility to enable businesses to cut carbon proud last year when we became the only mobile network operator to commit to net-zero by 2025. It’s encouraging that a third of FTSE 100 companies have now committed to reach net-zero by 2050. COP26 is putting net-zero on the agenda like never before, and UK plc is rising to the challenge. But how important are net-zero plans for business – and what impact can they really have?
Moving together to net-zero
For us at Virgin Media O2, net-zero is a business-critical issue. Organisations like ours need to prioritise climate action if the UK is going to reduce emissions at the pace it needs to. The more businesses of all sectors and sizes that get on the fast track to decarbonisation, the further and faster we will go. It’s about working together to share best practice, overcome challenges, and make change at scale.
Decarbonising UK plc makes business sense. O2’s Green Savings Calculator shows that remote working alone could cut more than 14 megatonnes of CO2e a year and save £53bn for UK companies. Growing numbers of customers, employees, investors and other stakeholders are choosing to work only with firms that have a proven commitment and action on sustainability. And with COP26 on the horizon, the time is now.
Setting a roadmap to decarbonisation
A decarbonised world is a connected world. In a company that deals in tech and innovation, I see it first-hand every day. We’re working on projects to take trucks off the road by using connected drones to deliver medical supplies. In homes, we’re connecting smart meters that can encourage people to change their behaviour and save energy. Connectivity is a great enabler for a lower-carbon economy. We know that globally, mobile tech can save ten times more emissions than it produces. As a connectivity champion, it’s our responsibility to enable businesses to cut carbon without cutting productivity. Connectivity also enables collaboration, and this is key in the Race to Zero. It’s why it’s so important that we’re involved in edie’s Countdown to COP26 Festival programme. No one business has the answer or can solve this on their own. We’re here to share what we know, find opportunities to collaborate, challenge and learn from each other – and build a connected, more sustainable future for everyone.
The Net-Zero Carbon Playbook
We know the net-zero carbon future we want to achieve. But how are we going to achieve it? Inspired by edie’s award-winning Mission Possible campaign, this Net-Zero Carbon Playbook inspires and empowers businesses to ramp up efforts across all areas of sustainable development to achieve net-zero.
Produced in association with Centrica Business Solutions and featuring input from The Climate Group and our Countdown to COP26 Festival partner O2, the report provides this unique insight and inspiration through the lens of five interconnected pillars related to the future of sustainable business: Energy, Resources, Mobility, The Built Environment, and Business Leadership. The document will provide a net-zero carbon progress report across all of these areas; empowering businesses to take specific actions to accelerate that progress themselves.
The report features forewords and contributions from the Climate Group, O2 and Centrica Business Solutions, all of which articulate the opportunity that businesses have in delivering a net-zero carbon future. Businesses are also invited to upload new carbon-based pledges to edie’s Mission Possible Pledge Wall.
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