Virgin Media O2 exceeds first year sustainability targets

Five Virgin Media O2 apprentices pose for a photo at the Virgin Media O2 office
Virgin Media O2
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
24 May 2023

A year since it launched its sustainability strategy, Virgin Media O2 has cut its carbon emissions by 29% against its 2020 baseline – the equivalent of nearly 150,000 car journeys from Land’s End to John O Groats.

Virgin Media O2 has made progress against its Better Connections Plan goals over the last 12 months, with key achievements across all three areas: carbon, circularity and communities.


The 29% carbon reduction comes as Virgin Media O2’s net zero target has been validated by the renowned Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Its climate plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions across its operations, products and supply chain by the end of 2040 is in-line with the latest in climate science to help prevent global temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees.

Virgin Media O2's first electric van
Virgin Media O2

Virgin Media O2’s products and services prevented more than 29 million tonnes of carbon entering the Earth’s atmosphere last year by powering Internet of Things applications such as smart metering, and supporting people to be more sustainable, such as working from home and using video calling software – preventing carbon emissions produced by their commute to the office.

Virgin Media O2 also introduced more than 70 electric vans, and pledged to electrify its entire fleet by the end of 2030.


Virgin Media O2 supported consumers to carry out 2.4 million ‘circular actions’ (buying ‘like new’ second-hand devices, sustainably disposing of unwanted tech and more) in 2022 – its goal is to achieve 10 million by 2025.

Virgin Media O2
Virgin Media O2

More than 250,000 devices were recycled via O2 Recycle in 2022, with zero going to landfill and customers receiving more than £36 million in payments for their old, unwanted tech. Plus, more than 10 million routers and set-top boxes have now been refurbished and reused since 2014.

And Virgin Media O2 launched the Time after Time e-waste fund, providing grants of up to £75,000 to community groups across the UK to tackle e-waste and promote circularity.


Virgin Media O2 has supported more than 1.5 million people to improve their digital skills and confidence to use the internet by supporting initiatives via its strategic partnerships with Good Things Foundation and Internet Matters. As a result, it has extended its goal to support six million people – from its original goal of two million – by the end of 2025.

Virgin Media O2 has supported the opening of National Databank hubs across the UK, providing more than 70,000 free SIM cards and 50,000 free data vouchers since the initiative began. It has also committed more than 61 million GB of free data to the initiative by the end of 2025.

An O2 National Databank SIM card
Virgin Media O2

Lutz Schüler, CEO of Virgin Media O2, said: “A year on since we launched our robust and bold sustainability strategy, the Better Connections Plan, Virgin Media O2 has stepped up for the planet, our customers and the communities we serve, going further and faster to cut carbon from our operations, support people to live more sustainably, and provide free data, devices and digital skills to help those in need get online.

“With the backing of the SBTi, as well as the Carbon Trust, we’re on track to deliver our net zero carbon plan by the end of 2040 – 10 years ahead of the UK’s net zero goal – reducing carbon emissions in-line with best-practice climate science.

“We’ll build on this positive progress and continue to use our purpose, people and products to have a long-lasting impact on society and the planet so everyone can live in a greener, more sustainable world.”

Visit Virgin Media O2 to find out more.