Meet the Sustainability Leader: O2 & NSPCC – CSR, Charity and Community Initiative 2018

With entries now open for edie's revamped 2019 Sustainability Leaders Awards, this new feature series will showcase the achievements of the 2018 winners, revealing their secrets to success. Up next: our 2018 CSR, Charity and Community Initiative winners, O2 & NSPCC.

With entries now open for edie’s revamped 2019 Sustainability Leaders Awards, this new feature series will showcase the achievements of the 2018 winners, revealing their secrets to success. Up next: our 2018 CSR, Charity and Community Initiative winners, O2 & NSPCC.

While kids seem to know what they’re doing online, apps and technology change so quickly, it can be hard for parents to keep up. Just like real life, the online world comes with risks. That’s why O2 has teamed up with the UK’s leading children’s charity, the NSPCC, to develop a ground-breaking partnership designed to help parents understand their kids’ online world and how to keep them safe within it, enabling more families to enjoy the digital world with confidence.

 The partnership is designed to demonstrate O2’s powerful commitment to go beyond what’s expected of a mobile network and deliver more for its customers and for society.

“O2 & NSPCC were delighted to win the edie Sustainability Leaders Award 2018 for our corporate-charity partnership to keep kids safe online. Online safety remains a top concern for our customers, and with over 12,000 children and young people contact NSPCC’s Childline every year for online advice and support, we know that our partnership is critically important in building a safer online world for families,” an O2 spokesperson said.

“Our partnership has inspired almost 5 million actions by parents to keep their kids safe online – leveraging the skills and strengths of O2 and NSPCC to offer a free helpline, online safety workshops, advice from O2 Gurus on every high street, national behaviour change campaigns and our Net Aware app, which highlights the top 40 apps, games and websites used by children. We were delighted to receive such prestigious recognition for our social impact partnership from Edie and our sustainability peers and we continue to build on these shared value principles as we support more children and families to stay safe online.”  

Before the project began, O2 gathered insights from its customers in relation to their attitudes and behaviours around online safety and how they were currently keeping their children safe online. Research found that while 96% of parents believe online safety is a key aspect of modern parenting, only 40% know how to tackle the issue confidently with their children.

Using the combined knowledge from NSPCC’s frontline welfare support services and helplines, alongside O2’s insights from its 25 million customers, the project has identified the need to support parents of children aged 8-11 years, equipping them with the knowledge, skills and confidence to keep their children safe online.

The partnership has engaged more than 15 million people, helped parents take more than two million actions to keep their kids safe online, and engaged more than 11,000 parents in online safety shops. There is now an O2 employee on every high street who can have an informed and supportive conversation with parents.

More than 60% of parents of children aged 8-13 now speak with their child about online safety once a month. O2 is committed to further improving the quality and frequency of these conversations, helping to build digital resilience in young people and enabling them to make good judgements online.

O2 has trained more than 6,000 employees in online child safety, with over half of these working in retail stores, enabling parents to access online safety advice and support on every high street. It has also invested in a dedicated online safety helpline and webchat service, staffed by subject matter experts.

The partners have jointly developed online safety workshops which are now offered in primary schools, as part of the NSPCC’s ‘Speak Out, Stay Safe’ project, alongside a programme of tech tutorials which are delivered in stores and in communities across the UK. They have also launched and developed the award-winning NetAware website and app, which crowdsources opinions from parents and children about the most popular social networks and apps.

As well as working with parents, O2 is also encouraging others in the industry to do more to keep kids safe online. The firm has convened the mobile industry to zero-rate access to Childline and NSPCC and worked with like-minded companies to support the Royal Foundation’s Cyberbullying Taskforce. O2 works collaboratively on age verification with the BBFC, the UK’s regulator of film and video, and participates in other industry bodies, supporting national moments in the cultural calendar such as Safer Internet Day and Anti-bullying Week.

O2 has strived to engage with stakeholders to engage success. The partnership is driven by insight from customers and parents across the UK, and where possible, through parent focus groups, direct feedback and regular research and insight (e.g. YouGov polling). Parents and children also help to inform the annual review of O2’s NetAware website and app, providing input and feedback on the most popular apps and sites used by children.

Employees have also rallied behind the cause, raising more than £0.5m to support NSPCC in its efforts. More than 40% of the workforce take part in direct volunteering opportunities or fundraising, improving employee pride in the brand and perception of O2’s role as an ethical and responsible business. Similarly, NSPCC has mapped and engaged key parts of the charity to deliver an integrated response to the online safety challenge.

The project has resonated with customers, who feel that the partnership with NSPCC has a legitimacy to operate in the online safety space. This has, in turn, helped to increase trust in the O2 brand. Awareness levels of the partnership have grown by 25% among customers over the past two and a half years.

WHAT THE JUDGES SAID: “This is a truly inspiring collaboration, tackling an important issue. The ground-breaking partnership is helping families enjoy the digital world with confidence, and it has generated some amazing results so far.”

edie’s 2019 Sustainability Leaders Award

Now in their 12th year, the RSA-accredited Sustainability Leaders Awards have undergone a major revamp, with a host of new categories and judges, a new Awards venue, and a new Mission Possible theme – making 6 February 2019 the biggest night of the sustainable business calendar.

The entry deadline for the 2019 Sustainability Leaders Awards is Friday, 14 September 2018. The Awards will then take place on the night of 6 February 2019 at the Park Plaza London, Westminster. 


Matt Mace

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