The operator’s 2020 Sustainability Report shows the company has achieved zero waste to landfill operations for the first time and reduced its operational carbon footprint by 46% since 2014

Virgin Media has this week released its latest sustainability report, dubbed ‘Dialling into 2020’, exploring the ways in which the company had supported its staff and customers during the pandemic, as well as how it continues to tackle the ongoing climate crisis.

When it came to environmental impact, Virgin Media could report some significant milestones. Since 2014 and the launch of their ‘5 in 5’ sustainability strategy, the company has reduced its operational carbon footprint by 46%. In 2020 itself, the company lowered its carbon footprint by 7% (Scope 1 and 2) and has reduced its Scope 3 emissions by 14%, citing new energy efficiency measures and the removal of older equipment as the main drivers for this success. 

The company also noted that it had now achieved zero waste to landfill operations, as well as refurbishing and reusing 1.3 million items in 2020, such as routers are set-top boxes. Paper usage is down by 88% since 2014 and 80% of operational waste is now recycled.

Sustainability, of course, is not only about environmentalism and building a greener business, but also creating a happier, healthier, and more diverse workforce. To this end, last year marked the launch of Virgin Media’s ‘Belonging’ diversity and inclusion strategy, part of which was creating employee networks focussed on underrepresented ethnicities, gender equality, disability, neurodiversity, and LGBTQ+ communities, aiming to provide real-life insight to the company’s decision-making process.

But while inclusion and diversity are certainly improving, there is still much work to be done, particularly along gender and disability lines: 72.6% of Virgin Media’s workforce is male, compared to the UK’s economic benchmark of 53%, while 4% of the workforce reports a disability, compared to the benchmark of 12%. LGBTQ+ and underrepresented ethnic groups were employed more in line with the benchmark figures, representing 6% and 12% of the workforce, respectively. 

Much like going green, this is an industry-wide challenge that will require a concerted effort if we are to see lasting change. 

Moving forward to 2021, Virgin Media has announced its new five-year sustainability strategy, the Meaningful Connections Plan. This plan includes targes of achieving net zero carbon emissions (scope 1 and 2) for zero waste operations by the end of 2025.

“We’re building on this momentum with our new five-year sustainability strategy, the ‘Meaningful Connections Plan’ which will see us accelerate our efforts to deliver lasting and positive change for our people and customers, while meeting the climate crisis head on,” said Jeff Dodds, Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Media.

It is clear from this report that Virgin Media is working hard to engage and improve upon some of the biggest societal challenges facing the telecoms industry and we hope to see these plans further built upon once their merger with Telefonica’s O2 is finally complete.


Sustainability is rapidly rising up the agenda for telcos around the world. Find out how world leading operators are approaching the challenge of building a more sustainable connected world at this year’s live Total Telecom Congress

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