Meet Duncan Cockburn, Virgin Stars of The Year Award nominee
- By Helen Craig -
- Feb 13, 2012
Name: Duncan Cockburn
Company: Virgin Media
Role: Head of Energy
Length of working: Since February 2010
Loves: Gravity sports
Hates: Sports injuries
Recommends: Tivo, if nothing else for the ability to go back in time and watch what you want, when you want
What do you do at Virgin Media?
I’m Head of Energy for Virgin Media so I look after the budget, the bills, the processes and programmes to manage and reduce consumption. Reducing consumption allows us space to grow, saves us money on bills and in a rising market it helps mitigate the impact of price rises.
Congratulations on being nominated for the Special Award for the Environment at this year’s Virgin Star of The Year Awards. What had you been doing to get nominated?
For the impact I had on contributing to our overall carbon footprint reduction in 2010 (we achieved a 4.7% reduction). The energy we consume is the largest chunk of our Scope 1 and 2 emissions. My role is to generate ideas, present the business case and manage the delivery and all the systems and processes that go with that. I was also recognised for supporting and nurturing others to help us manage our energy use throughout the business.
You saved 8,882 tonnes of CO2 in 2010 – how did you achieve that?
A variety of projects from changing the lighting at one of our offices to behavioural change. I can’t claim credit for it all, many projects I’ve just supported and brought to life someone else’s bright idea. However, I created and led a campaign at Christmas time to raise awareness of how we could save energy over the festive period - this resulted in a 3% reduction and was linked to a partnership where staff got free gadgets.
Why is saving energy at Virgin Media so important?
There are a variety of reasons, such as cost efficiency and improving the customer experience - using less power through efficiency means we can grow our business, such as doubling broadband speeds without the lengthy and costly works to bring additional power on board.
Who at Virgin Media helped you along the way?
This has definitely been a company-wide effort but a couple of individuals stand out; Paul Harris (Executive Director of Property & Facilities) not only for bringing me into the business (!) but he has supported my programmes with funding and resource as well as Katie Chapman (Head of Sustainability) for helping to raise the profile of all that we are doing. Katie also provided my introduction to the business on my first day, completely by coincidence, we’ve been working closely ever since!
Which change are you most proud of?
The current project to manage and optimise building control, this will be a real a step change in consumption reduction.
Have there been any technological hurdles and how have you overcome them?
I see them more as challenges. For example, we have several power supplies that sometimes need switching off to install new meters. This can be very limiting as our customers are key and we don’t want to interrupt their viewing, surfing or calls, just to fit an electricity meter.
What is your vision for Virgin Media?
To be the best in our sector and to achieve our challenging 15% carbon reduction target by 2015.
If you could recycle one thing what would it be?
Time - trying to fit it all in would be so much easier.
You can follow Virgin Media Sustainability through their website, Youtube and on Twitter via #vmsust.