The Virgin family couldn't be prouder of Phoebe Whittome, sustainability manager at Virgin Media and member of Edie's new ‘30 Under 30’ cohort of sustainability leaders.
This dynamic community of professionals have been selected from multiple industries across the UK and have all achieved incredible things in the sustainability space. Leaders from the BBC, Innocent Drinks, Formula E and Harrods were all chosen alongside Whittome and will all now benefit from the initiative and the bringing together of the community throughout the year.
When asked about how she felt about the achievement, Whittome said: “I’m excited about the opportunity to learn from other like-minded young professionals who understand the imperative for businesses to act now to address the social and environmental challenges we face. This community provides visibility across a raft of sectors that face what appear to be unique challenges. We have the ability to unpick the source of our own barriers and understand how the actions taken by others could inform opportunities for cross-sector collaboration and collective solutions in sustainability.”
Commenting on the class of 2019 announcement, Edie's content director Luke Nicholls said: “30 Under 30 is perhaps the most exciting and inspiring project I have ever been a part of – especially given the timing of its development. We must ramp up our efforts to turn the tide on the devastating impacts of carbon emissions and accelerate the transition to a circular economy – and these are the people that will be leading the charge.”
Whittome became sustainability manager at Virgin Media earlier this year after joining the company on the corporate affairs graduate scheme. Since joining the team she has spearheaded multiple campaigns and initiatives across the business to help Virgin Media achieve their sustainability goals. Prior to working with Virgin Media Phoebe worked in multiple sustainability roles including at Nationwide Building Society and Given London (a brand purpose agency working to create positive change for people, communities and the world at large). For someone so early on in her professional career Whittome has shown huge potential, a great deal of focus, and a genuine commitment to improve social and environmental sustainability – believing deeply in the power of businesses to effect long-term positive social change.
“The thing I enjoy most about my role is the opportunity it provides for me to show people the value of the work they are doing. For a long time sustainability or corporate responsibility has been treated as something one team does ‘over there’ and in some organisations this is still the case,” Whittome said. “At Virgin Media the business owns the sustainability strategy and our team supports it to do so. Having the tools to communicate and show our employees how them delivering their day to day roles has had a fundamental impact on a given social or environmental challenge is hugely satisfying, and when we get it right this is what ultimately drives others to want to do more.”
Virgin Media is committed to achieving their ambitious five-year sustainability strategy and Whittome’s work and expertise are already delivering great results. From project and campaign management, to employee engagement initiatives, to reporting and communication – Phoebe’s work is an incredible example to the whole of the Virgin Group (and the rest of the planet) and her passion for social and environmental sustainability is a tremendous asset.
Phoebe’s key advice for others who want to work in sustainability is to remember that what you do is important, but how you do it is more important: “Working in sustainability you will come across people who don’t understand the value what you do – take this on board and ensure you understand and respond to their individual perspective. Take them on the journey and teach them why it’s beneficial and how their actions can make an impact.”