Virgin Media targets 100% renewable electricity by 2020

Virgin Media is known for using fun imagery and interactive features to make its sustainability reports more engaging

The company’s latest annual sustainability report, published today, states that 100% of Virgin Media’s contacted electricity used across its UK & Ireland operations came from renewable sources.

Contracted electricity across these markets accounts for 99.5% of Virgin Media’s total electricity consumption, with the remaining 0.5% accounted for by shipperless sites (sites with no electricity connection for suppliers to use). The new RE100 commitment will, therefore, see Virgin Media work to address these hard-to-abate locations.

Virgin Media said it had taken the decision to join the RE100 initiative, despite already sourcing such a high proportion of renewables, in order to support the UK’s new net-zero target for 2050.

“We’re delighted to be signing up to the RE100 initiative and playing our part in supporting the UK’s goal to increase the availability of renewable electricity and to help drive down carbon emissions,” Virgin Media’s chief information and technology officer Jeanie York said.

“It’s vital that businesses make long term commitments to reducing consumption and using renewable energy: we’re actively using our business, brand and people to create a positive impact for our customers and the communities we serve.”

As of November 2018, 155 companies across 140 global markets had joined the RE100 initiative, with the group collectively sourcing 188TWh of clean power annually. RE100 members leverage a combined annual revenue of $4.5trn or 5% of global GDP, making the group a powerful source of financing for clean energy infrastructure.

Broader progress

Other key takeaways from Virgin Media’s new sustainability report include the company having reduced its overall carbon footprint by more than one-fifth (22%) since 2014 and collected more than 10 million devices for recycling or reuse over a four-year period.

The report additionally noted Virgin Media’s progress on minimising paper use, which was down by 70% on 2014 levels last year, and in diverting 100% of logistics-level supply chain waste from landfill.

The report notably documents Virgin Media’s penultimate year for using its ‘5 For 5’ sustainability strategy, which is laid out across the pillars of transforming lives; using digital for good; creating better products; lowering impact and being more inclusive. In addition to environmental initiatives, the strategy covers Virgin Media’s Support to Work service for disabled people, as well as its employee volunteering scheme and mental health initiatives.

Sarah George

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