O2 to help 20 million people live better through technology

O2 has today unveiled the next phase of its ground breaking Think Big Blueprint, setting out an ambitious new strategy promising to help even more people realise the power of mobile to drive change and create a more sustainable world.

Launched by O2’s CEO, Ronan Dunne, at the Ethical Corporation’s Responsible Business Summit, the strategy sets out how O2 will help 20 million customers to live better and more sustainably with technology by 2020.

The Think Big Blueprint was initially created in 2012 as O2’s first public sustainability strategy and since then has helped over 1 million young people get vital digital and life skills, nearly 12 million customers live more sustainably and delivered carbon benefits that are equivalent to 7.5 times the impact of its network

The next phase of the Blueprint commits to taking this even further and outlines a bold ambition for how O2 will equip its customers, suppliers and stakeholders with more confidence, more opportunities and more solutions:

  • More confidence to take advantage of digital connectivity, through O2’s work with partners such as the NSPCC. The O2 and NSPCC partnership aims to put parents in control of technology to help them keep their families safe online. It delivers free one-on-one technical advice in-store and via a dedicated helpline, as well as digital products like Net Aware (net-aware.org.uk), a guide which crowdsources opinions from parents and children about the most popular social networks and apps.
  • More opportunities to thrive in a digital world, via a series of O2 programmes and initiatives developed to equip people from all backgrounds with the digital skills needed to support social action and enterprise. These programmes include GoThinkBig – the work experience and career advice platform run with over 40 partners – and the Think Big youth initiative, which provides grants to young people to enable them to launch and lead their own social action projects.
  • More solutions using digital technology to drive sustainable living help tackle global warming, through O2’s support in helping customers to make more sustainable choices – such as smarter living through connected devices and machine-to-machine connectivity, sim only contracts and O2 Recycle. By working with customers O2 aims to contribute to keeping the global average temperature increase to 1.5C.

Speaking at the launch, Ronan Dunne, O2’s CEO, said: “Doing the “right thing” is not just a nice-to-have. At O2, we’ve always believed that businesses that do good are also businesses that do better, which is why since the launch of the Blueprint in 2012 we’ve been focused on embedding sustainability across every aspect of our business.

“Four years on and the pace of change in the digital world has never been quicker. O2 is uniquely placed to act as an agent of change, to not only be socially and environmentally responsible, but to help our customers, suppliers and partners realise the full potential of technology to live more sustainable lives.

“The next phase of the Blueprint seeks to do exactly that. We’ve still got some way to go and that’s exactly why we’ve set ourselves such deliberately challenging targets, taking what we’ve achieved so far and using it as a catalyst for even greater change.”

In February 2012, the first phase of the Think Big Blueprint saw O2 set out its plan to harness technology and digital connectivity to support the next generation and reduce the UK’s environmental footprint. Since then, O2 has:

  • Supported and inspired over 1 million young people to launch community projects, commit to social action, develop digital skills and gain the self-confidence to progress into the world of work.
  • Encouraged nearly 12 million customers to make more sustainable choices, such as: rating the sustainability credentials of the phones they buy; recycling their gadgets; opting for sim only contracts to extend the life of phones and reduce electronic waste; and choosing charger-free products.
  • Delivered carbon benefits that are equivalent to 7.5 times the impact of its network through initiatives such as refined logistics technology and smart meter connectivity.

The new Blueprint comes as Telefónica today publishes the world’s first holistic digital index*, designed to comprehensively measure digital development across the globe. The index – which assesses 34 countries worldwide on the extent of their digital development – shows that while the UK is outperforming in the global race for digital development, it still performs modestly on two fundamental metrics: digital confidence and digital innovation and entrepreneurship.

In response to the findings of the index, Telefónica and O2 are calling for fairer public policies to support innovation, and better cooperation between Government, policy makers and businesses in order to avoid a “digital divide.”

To find out more about the index visit indexdigitallife.telefonica.com

To find out more about the Blueprint visit o2.co.uk/thinkbig