Virgin Media targets net-zero carbon operations for 2025

Virgin Media has committed to achieve net-zero operations by the end of 2025 and to transition its entire fleet to electric vehicles by 2030, as part of a sweeping new sustainability strategy.

Virgin Media targets net-zero carbon operations for 2025

Image: Virgin Media

Published today (24 February), the firm’s new strategy replaces the ‘5 in 5’ sustainability goals that were deadlined at 2020. It is called the ‘Meaningful Connections Plan’ and sets out fresh commitments across the pillars of people, planet and communities.

The ‘planet’ pillar includes a commitment to reduce Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (power-related) emissions by at least 25% by the end of 2025. Virgin Media has made a commitment to source 100% renewable electricity which will support this.

Once this reduction has been achieved, Virgin Media will invest in carbon removal offsetting schemes by purchasing carbon credits. This will bring its net footprint across these scopes down to zero.

The ‘planet’ pillar also details plans to transition Virgin Media’s entire fleet to electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030. It owns and operates more than 4,000 vehicles.

Aside from lowering emissions, Virgin Media’s new plan includes commitments to achieve zero-waste operations; increase recycled plastic content in set-top boxes and routers to 75% and eliminate non-recyclable and single-use-plastic customer packaging.

People and communities

Virgin Media is well-known for its focus on social sustainability – particularly its work with disability charity Scope, which focussed on equal employment and other opportunities.

The firm has this week confirmed a new five-year strategic partnership with Carers UK, a charity set up to support the UK’s seven million carers. A key focus will be helping unpaid carers combat loneliness and isolation using technology.

The Meaningful Connections Plan, more broadly, includes a commitment to connect 1.5 million people to their communities and each other in a “meaningful” way. One million carers will be supported to access digital services and platforms designed to build friendships and to connect with community groups and local Virgin Media workers.

On the latter, Virgin is giving every full-time member of staff five annual paid volunteering days. This will enable the firm to give 450,000 hours to community causes.

The company has also set out new ambitions to support those within its workforce. The ‘people’ pillar of the new plan outlines measures to create dedicated employment opportunities for people from underrepresented groups, including those with physical disabilities and neurodiverse people. It also details new measures to ensure that products and projects are accessible and that the benefits are shared. Virgin Media said that such measures were supported by its five employee networks representing underrepresented ethnicities, gender equality, disability, neurodiversity.

“With the country beginning to look towards recovering and rebuilding, we believe it’s vital to use this moment to bounce back in a better way,” Virgin Media’s chief executive Lutz Schuler said.

“As a major UK employer and investor with a presence in communities across the country, we know that we can make a positive impact. Our Meaningful Connections Plan will use our purpose, people and products to create lasting change in the towns and cities we serve, drive greater diversity and inclusion into our business and see direct action taken to help tackle climate change.

“This plan spans across our whole business and is backed by bold and ambitious goals which set a benchmark and provide focus for what we want to achieve over the next five years, starting right now.”

Sarah George

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