O2 are champions of sustainability communication

Oliver Hurrey is the Commercial Director at 2degrees and has worked for over 8 years in sustainable business and specifically in helping major corporates find the best-practice they need to become better businesses.  

One of the biggest challenges in sustainability is the need to consistently and effectively convince large groups of people of both the importance and benefits of being better.

Oliver HurreyWhen 2degrees – the world’s leading community for sustainable business – asks its 32,000 members about their number 1 challenge, it is without fail, “stakeholder engagement”. 2degrees launched their first Awards programme this year – the Sustainability Champions Awards – which culminated in a great evening at Lord’s Cricket Ground on the 10th July. The primary intention is to support their members and major corporates with their sustainable business goals. Unique because the usual stuffy panel of usual suspects was replaced by the votes of thousands of peers (almost 3,000 votes were cast in total), the Awards attracted hundreds of case-study entries of sustainability best-practice from all over the world. Everyone wanted to be voted the “players’ player” of the sustainable business world.

O2 entered their “Tour de O2” (the engagement campaign challenging employees to travel a total of 3,200 miles between all 118 franchise stores using only sustainable means of transport) into the “Internal Engagement” Award category and it won with 37% of the vote, beating Bupa into 2nd place. It inspired the 2degrees audience as a fun and practical campaign that capitalised on social media to also reach out to consumers. It had more than a hint of the Olympics about it with a baton changing hands between all the stores during the Summer of 2012 and it proved a winning formula for raising the awareness of sustainable transport, and engaging O2’s franchise stores in Think Big, their sustainability plan for people and planet.

2degrees champions both collaboration and the ability to achieve great things by uniting with common aims. O2 also won a second, special award on the night to the company who embraced the Champions programme to the greatest effect. 2degrees saw a surge in O2 members during the Awards programme in support of their entry and, together with the dozens of Tweets and the media coverage, meant that win or lose – O2 had successfully reached out and engaged key audiences with their message. O2 just “got it”.

Katie Hyson, Think Big Internal Manager, said “To receive the 2degrees award for internal engagement means everything to us. The reason: the aim of sustainability in Telefónica UK (O2) is to be part of how we do things and to be owned by the whole business. The Tour de O2, which won us this award, is exactly that. The Tour was conceived, owned and delivered by all our franchise team – not driven from the sustainability professionals.”

For 2degrees, the fact that the winning idea was born out of a non-sustainability team and that this very team went on to attend and celebrate both trophies on the evening, shows how well O2 are doing in their drive to become a better business. “Sustainability” is often a silo in a business and perceived as a department that walks around and asks people to “stop”. O2’s Think Big approach is to say “go and do” and they are now reaping the rewards in silverware, a sustainability programme of world-leading potential and most importantly loyal staff and customers that care.

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2degrees is the world’s leading online community for businesses who want to grow and be more efficient through sustainability. Over 32,000 business members and experts world-wide use their platform and services to engage with key stakeholders and with their peers to tackle their common business challenges. Clients like Tesco and Asda use 2degrees to engage their supply chains at scale and reduce cost and risk. Clients like BskyB use 2degrees to engage the wider market and communicate and profile their thought-leadership on sustainability.