O2 to cut chargers, waste and energy

By RTCC Staff

O2 customers will no longer recieve a new phone charger as standard (source: Lisa Padilla/creative commons)

O2 aims to deliver 4 million tonnes of carbon savings, reduce waste and equip a million young people with skills, as part of its three year ‘Think Big’ sustainability plan.

The new blueprint, the result of a year long consultation process, overseen by thinktank Forum for the Future as well as employees, customers and suppliers, sets out 40 sustainability pledges made by the company.

In an interview with The Guardian, Ronan Dunne, chief executive of O2 said: “At the moment I am not expecting customers to make choices based on the sustainability credentials of a product or a company. But I am expecting them to want better products and services with sustainability embedded in them.

“We are coming to a tipping point, which is democratising access to information through smart phones,” he continued. “The sustainability agenda sits very much in the sweet spot of that. The smart phone as the remote control of your life is driving people’s behaviour.”

One of the 40 points set forward under the blueprint is that the mobile operator will no longer be offering its 22 million customers a new charger as standard with a new phone.

This follows an EU-wide commitment of 10 phone manufacturers including Apple, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson to harmonise chargers in Europe so that all phones will be fitted with a micro-USB connector.

This aims to limit the need for a new charger with every phone, and reduce some of the 51,000 tonnes of e-waste a year generated from discarded phone chargers alone. It is predicted that around 100 million chargers are currently circulating UK homes and offices.

O2’s new blueprint also includes pledges to limit waste from packaging, to be a UK network that champions phones which last longer, and further pushing their sim-only, ‘simplicity’ tariffs.

They also aim to recycle more phones and actively promote the use of refurbished phones.

The company also sets out to procure 100% renewable energy for buildings they control, as well as having at least one carbon neutral site – with the aim of reducing absolute emissions in offices and retail spaces by 25%.

O2 have also made moves to help UK households save over 300,000 tonnes of carbon in their homes, and have installed 10,000 UK electric car charging points.

Dunne said: “This blueprint is not simply a ‘nice to have’. In an era of heightened economic and social concern, it’s an essential part of our long term business strategy that will enable us to unlock sustainable growth and encourage positive environmental change.”

O2 will continue to work with Forum for the Future, who will monitor, evaluate and report back on progress against the 40 points.

Jonathon Porritt, Founder and Director of Forum for the Future said: “Over the last three years, it’s been really exciting working with O2. We have been struck by the integrity of their approach that has led to significant progress in a number of areas, for example O2 Recycle becoming the third biggest recycling scheme in UK.”


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