O2 launches ambitious Blueprint to help Britain build back better

  • O2 commits to support a green, inclusive, and resilient recovery as part of its latest Responsible Business Plan, using the power of mobile and digital connectivity to deliver carbon savings across society.
  • Other commitments include supporting a more digitally connected society through the roll out of the shared rural network, as well as trialling and deploying smart digital solutions to help communities grow and thrive
  • The company also reaffirms its commitment to building a Greener Network, targeting net zero by 2025 and a 30% reduction in supply chain emissions in the next five years
  • Commitments are laid out in O2’s latest Blueprint – the third edition of O2’s responsible business plan, published today

Today, O2 – the UK’s largest mobile network with over with over 34 million connections – publishes the third edition of its responsible business plan, originally launched in 2012.

The Blueprint sets out O2’s continued commitment to be one of the UK’s leading responsible businesses, with ten core areas of focus across three interconnected pillars of sustainability, customer and community support, and ethical business.

Building a Greener Network

O2 continues to push forward with its Greener Network ambitions, restating the goal announced earlier this year to become a net zero business by 2025, while working with supply chain partners aiming to reduce carbon emissions by 30% in the next five years.

The company is also committed to leveraging the enabling role of mobile technology in supporting a decarbonisation pathway for the UK. New research commissioned by O2 and conducted by IC&CO and Cenex reveals that solutions powered by advanced connectivity like 5G are forecast to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions by up to 269 megatonnes by 2035, demonstrating the critical role of the mobile sector in securing a low carbon future.

O2 is committed to playing its part and continues to invest heavily in its network and 5G rollout, as well as supporting digital innovation as part of the UK’s first region-wide 5G test bed, in partnership with West Midlands 5G (WM5G).

Consumers also have a vital role to play in Britain’s greener future, which is why O2 is also marking the launch of its new Blueprint with its “Go Green” campaign – a week of activities, offers, and prize draws on Priority to encourage people to build on the connection to nature that many have begun to forge during lockdown. O2 will also be installing a ‘plantable’ billboard for two weeks in Shoreditch to encourage passers-by to grab a little bit of green by planting seeded paper in their balconies and gardens this summer.

Helping society thrive

Covid-19 has reaffirmed that connectivity is vital, connecting customers to the people and things they love, supporting businesses to flourish, and making our essential public services available when we need them most. Ensuring Britain stays connected will be critical to getting the nation back on its feet.

O2 will lead the roll out of the Shared Rural network, which aims to help eliminate partial “not spots” in rural communities and will allow over 1,800sq miles of the country to get 4G for the first time, enabling more people to enjoy the benefits of connectivity. Linked to this, O2 will continue to tackle digital exclusion through targeted regional and local initiatives like ‘Community Calling’ which invited individuals to donate their old mobile phones to vulnerable members of the community.

O2 remains committed to supporting its most vulnerable customers, with dedicated customer service teams to support those in financial difficulty, those experiencing bereavement and those with mental health, physical or learning disabilities who may require more tailored support. The company also plans to continue its work with NSPCC to keep kids safe online, via the flagship Net Aware service.

Importantly, O2 is also engaged in a series of trials and partnerships to explore how mobile technology – including IoT, AI, and data analytics – can be used to deliver smart solutions which can improve key verticals including transport, healthcare and enhanced places and spaces. These include a Mobile Clinic on Wheels delivering Covid-19 testing in Glasgow, transport and air pollution trials as part of the Adept Thames Valley trial, and autonomous vehicles trials at the Millbrook Proving Ground, all of which will secure key insights to drive smarter towns and cities across the UK.

Driving forward inclusivity

O2 is committed to continuing its journey to be a leading inclusive employer. The company has set its sights on becoming a truly representative business by 2025, seeking to achieve a 50:50 gender balance – alongside Black, Asian, and minority ethnic representation of at least 15% – at all levels, to better reflect the UK population.

The company has also outlined a series of activities to encourage and nurture diverse talent and build a more inclusive culture, introducing Conscious Inclusion training for leaders and hiring managers and setting out plans to launch an O2 Allies programme in the Autumn.

Nicola Green, O2’s Director of Corporate Affairs, said: “2020 has been a tough year for the UK, but I am proud to work for a company that is committed to doing the right thing. Now more than ever, UK businesses share a responsibility to help Rebuild Britain – and our commitments will ensure we play our part in creating a greener, more inclusive, more connected country”.

Trewin Restorick, founder & CEO, Hubbub UK, said: “At Hubbub, we believe that sustainability is a social as well as an environmental issue. Our recent work with O2 to gift unused phones to help the digitally excluded through the Community Calling project is a perfect example of how environmental and social issues intersect. O2’s latest responsible business plan demonstrates the key role that businesses must play in supporting an inclusive, just and sustainable recovery that supports people and planet.”

ENDS –

 

Notes to editors

About O2

O2 strives to do the right thing both as a business and for its customers.  It has committed to becoming net zero by 2025 and to working with supply chain partners to reduce carbon emissions by 30% in the next five years.

The O2 Recycle scheme was named Best Recycle Service at the Mobile Industry Awards and encourages customers to dispose of old devices responsibly.

Last year O2 was one of only three companies globally to be recertified at the highest level by the Carbon Trust Standardfor reducing supply chain emissions.  Through its partnership with the NSPCC, since 2015 O2 has helped parents take over 7 million actions keep their kids safe online.

O2 is a mobile network operator and the principal commercial brand of Telefónica UK Limited, which is part of the global telecommunications group Telefónica S.A, headquartered in Spain and operating in Europe, and North, Central and South America.

O2 is the UK’s largest network, providing 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G services to more than 34 million connections and operating a nationwide O2 Wifi service.  It has been named Uswitch Best Network Coverage provider for three years running, and won Best Network Performance at the Mobile News Awards 2019. Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) named it Best Network for Reliability in 2020.

The company is the network of choice for mobile virtual network operators such as giffgaff, Sky Mobile and Lyca Mobile as well as managing a 50:50 joint venture with Tesco for Tesco Mobile.

O2 has around 6,500 employees and more than 440 retail stores and sponsors England Rugby, The O2 and 20 O2 Academy music venues across the UK.

O2 is the only mobile operator in the 2019 Social Mobility Employer Index and was named as one of the best places to work in the 2019 Glassdoor Employee’s Choice Award, the only mobile operator in the top 50 for three years running.

Telefónica UK Limited is registered in England and Wales. Registration number: 1743099.  Its registered office is at: 260 Bath Road, Slough, Berkshire, SL1 4DX, United Kingdom.