O2 targets zero waste and carbon savings by 2015

O2 aims to become a zero waste to landfill company by 2015 and deliver up to 4 million tonnes of carbon savings under ambitious new plans unveiled today (February 7).

The mobile phone firm has published its three-year sustainability plan Think Big Blueprint which details 40 commitments including delivering carbon reductions for customers that are ten times greater than the impact of its own communications network.

The company also aims to halve emissions from its network by 2015, relative to data traffic, and procure 100% renewable energy for all sites where it controls the energy bill.

As part of this drive, it wants to have at least one carbon-neutral site and is looking to reduce absolute carbon emissions in offices and retail stores by 25%, as well as using 25% less water in offices and switch sites.

Besides the zero waste goal (which covers offices and retail stores), O2 intends to adopt a zero-plastic bag policy and reduce the volume of paper used in receipts by 50%. To cut down on waste further, new chargers will no longer be offered as standard with a new phone.

The company says it has already “significantly reduced packaging and operating instructions for all the mobile phones we sell” and will be “actively promoting the use of refurbished phones” by recycling more products through its O2 Recycle programme.

On the supply chain front, O2 says that sustainability will be taken into account in every major purchasing decision and it has asked all of its major suppliers to set up programmes to cut their environmental impacts. In addition, it has launched a supplier forum to promote sustainability innovation and best practice.

In launching the plan, O2’s chief executive Ronan Dunne said: “A truly sustainable future requires businesses, like ours, to take bold steps to tackle our shared social and environmental challenges.

“This blueprint is not simply a ‘nice to have’. In an era of heightened economic and social concern, it’s an essential part of our long term business strategy that will enable us to unlock sustainable growth and encourage positive environmental change.”

O2’s Think Big Blueprint was drafted following a 12-month consultation process, overseen by independent think tank Forum for the Future and involving employees, consumers, suppliers, as well as leading charities and NGOs.

Maxine Perella

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