O2 on target to cut water consumption by 25% by 2015

O2 is on target to cut water consumption by 25% from its offices and switch sites by 2015, despite usage increasing by almost 17m litres in 2012, according to the company's latest sustainability report.

O2 says it has progressed in its efforts to tackle water consumption by installing water smart metering, which is helping “identify large water saving opportunities for 2013/14”. O2 completed the installation of these smart water metres in April this year.

However, the telecommunications giant has stressed that although water consumption increased by 18% to 131,189,000 litres of water in 2012, compared with 114,291,000 litres in 2011, metering is now providing half-hourly data, at its head office in Slough, and has pinpointed where O2’s water use is at its highest.

In addition, O2 is involved in a project that could potentially save 20 million litres of water annually by replacing existing infra-red controls for urinals with a waterless system.

Already deployed at its Preston Brook office, it eliminates flushing altogether using gravity flow and enzyme technology.

Alongside the new technology, O2 is driving employee engagement and is urging colleagues to be “vigilant about water use”. The company’s Blueprint target is to reduce water consumption by 25% per person by 2015. In 2012, O2 hit 4% of this target and has set ambitious goals to increase this to 18% in 2013.

Meanwhile, the report showed progress had been made in reducing its carbon emissions. CO2 equivalent was down 48%, relative to data traffic growth, compared to a 2010 baseline. However, with data-rich 4G on stream this year, the company has stressed that it is essential to find further savings to meet 2015 target.

On the waste side of the business, O2 is recycling around 80% of general office waste – 100 tonnes less to landfill than in 2011 – which means it is on target to achieve its target of sending no waste from its offices and retail stores to landfill by 2015.

The report also announced that O2 is the first company to sell a mobilephone without a charger. The HTC OneX+ launched in October without a charger and O2 says around 80% of retail customers who bought the phone chose not to buy a charger.

For more on O2’s sustainability progress and plans, check back on edie next week for a full interview with the company’s head of sustainability Bill Eyres.

Leigh Stringer

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