Dialling into 2020: Virgin Media releases sustainability report

Virgin Media
Virgin Media
by Jessica Harrison
28 May 2021

With the environment, sustainability and inclusion on the top of Virgin’s long-term goals, Virgin Media has released its 2020 sustainability report, ‘Dialling into 2020’ – here are some of the highlights.

A greener Virgin Media

Virgin Media has been on a mission to reduce its waste and improve its carbon footprint. And over the last five years it has made some significant progress, including:

  • Refurbished and reused 1.3 million items such as routers and set-top boxes in 2020, meaning fewer items ending up in landfill

  • Reduced its carbon footprint by 7% in the last 12 months

  • Reduced its paper usage by 88% since 2014

  • Recycled 80% of operational waste

Supporting communities through the pandemic

Dialling into 2020 also highlights how Virgin Media stepped up to support customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. As everything was taken online, from work to lessons, parties, gaming, quizzes, and even gigs, Virgin Media had to step up to ensure customers had exactly what they needed for all that extra streaming and video-calling. The network was put under more pressure than ever, but Virgin Media’s teams made sure customers were helped, remotely where possible, by sending self-install packs. And if they did need to do home visits, employees took extra care from increased hygiene measures to cleaning and appropriate PPE.

Virgin Media gave away families without broadband connectivity an extra 20GB of mobile data. It also sorted out free access to learning resources like Oak National Academy. 

The broadband provider also supported heroic NHS staff through the pandemic by providing NHS Trusts, key organisations and businesses that deliver critical services with extra bandwidth and availability to help them work remotely. It also made sure anyone visiting NHS websites didn’t have to use their mobile data and topped up NHS staff with more mobile data and minutes so they could stay connected to loved ones while they were apart.

In November 2020, Virgin Media launched the Essential Broadband plan for customers receiving Universal Credit – a time when many people were facing financial difficulty caused by the economic pressures of lockdown. It also provided Pay Monthly and Pay as you Go customers with extra data, minutes and texts to get them through the pandemic, as well as free speed boosts to those with lower internet speeds.

Supporting a million disabled jobseekers

Virgin Media celebrated its partnership with the disability charity Scope, which supported more than a million disabled people with the skills and confidence to get and stay in work via the Support to Work digital employment service. Over the last five years, Virgin Media raised £902,309 for Scope, which has now been topped up to £1million to celebrate the end of a fantastic partnership.

In addition, more than 100 companies have joined the #WorkWithMe community and are taking the steps to transform their policies and practices so they can support as many disabled people as possible. Results show that the scheme has given 85% of members more confidence in having conversations and taking positive action on disability inclusion.

A sense of belonging

Virgin Media has launched a new diversity and inclusion strategy, ‘Belonging’, which aims to create a culture where no-one is left behind, and everyone can be themselves at work and achieve their potential.

In addition Virgin Media has launched its ‘Belonging Collective’, five employee networks representing underrepresented ethnicities, gender equality, disability, neurodiversity, and LGBTQ+ communities. These networks work together to bring lived experiences to the decision making table.

What’s next?

Earlier this year Virgin Media launched its new five year sustainability strategy, the Meaningful Connections Plan, which sets out how it will use its purpose, people and products to have a lasting and positive impact on society, and how it will reduce its impact on the planet.

As part of the new strategy, Virgin Media has set goals to achieve net zero carbon operations and zero waste operations by the end of 2025. 

Virgin Media has also entered into a new five year strategic partnership with the charity, Carers UK, where it aims to make life better for one million unpaid carers by creating connections to each other and to their communities.

Virgin Media is encouraging its employees to build meaningful connections in their community by increasing the number of annual paid volunteering days from one to five – the equivalent of around 450,000 hours per year across its 12,000 workforce. They will be encouraged to take this time regularly - either in-person or digitally – to reduce loneliness and build a sense of community belonging. This includes micro-volunteering opportunities which have a sustained and lasting impact.

The company has also set a goal to create hundreds more employment opportunities for people from underrepresented groups. This includes women in STEM, disabled people, people from LGBTQ+, underrepresented ethnicities, neurodiverse and other communities with low social equity.

Visit Virgin Media to find out more.