With over 11,000 employees, 6 million cable customers and more than 3 million mobile subscribers in the UK alone, we’re a large business. And through our network expansion, we’re getting bigger – we’ve reached an additional 2.4 million premises so far, to pass 15.2 million UK premises overall. As you’d expect, there are a lot of focus areas for us to consider.*
The start of the development process for our Meaningful Connections plan began with our biggest materiality assessment to date. In 2020 we gathered the views of over 1,200 employees, 500 customers, 300 business customers and 6 external experts and using a scoring matrix we identified the most material sustainability issues relevant to Virgin Media. These issues are:
· Climate change
· Sustainable products (lifecycle impacts of products)
· Privacy, data security and safety online
· Local community presence
· Mental health online
· Waste & recycling (including e-waste)
· Employee wellbeing and development
· Inclusion and diversity
· Accessibility of products and services
· Digital tech for sustainable living
· Fair product pricing
· Responsible supply chain
· Charity partnerships and volunteering
· Digital skills and literacy
· Economic benefits of digital technology
· Responsible content and advertising
· Water use
We’ve committed to re-evaluating our focus areas on a regular basis to make sure we’re managing the things that matter most. We alternate between conducting an in-depth assessment that involves all of our stakeholders and a lighter touch review where the Sustainability team sense checks our focus areas against desk-based research.
Sustainable Development Goals
Our Meaningful Connections plan enables us to make valuable contributions to the SDGs across a number of goals. Specifically:
• Decent work and economic growth - By building a business where all our colleagues feel they belong - where wellbeing and mental health is supported, and all our colleagues are empowered to be their whole selves - including our unpaid carer colleagues.
• Reduced inequalities - By giving hundreds of underrepresented communities across the UK access to skills and employment at Virgin Media.
• Responsible consumption and production - By reusing or recycling all of our returned customer equipment, zero single use packaging and all packaging to be 100% recyclable.
• Climate action - By reaching net zero carbon in our operations and supporting the low carbon economy with our products.
• Sustainable cities and communities - By encouraging community participation and building safe, inclusive and accessible community spaces across UK neighbourhoods.
The impact of content
Virgin Media is the owner of TV3 Group - Ireland’s number one commercial broadcaster with three free-to-air channels including Virgin Media One, Virgin Media Two and Virgin Media Three. It is a significant investor in home produced content – across news, current affairs and drama.
Virgin Media UK has been contributing to the impact of content debate through our role as an active member of the Responsible Media Forumwith the aim to understand and measure the societal impacts of media content, building on existing frameworks and models for measuring impact.
*Statistics sourced from Liberty Global 2020 Q1 Financial Results: https://www.libertyglobal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Virgin-Media-Fixed-Income-Q1-2020-Release.pdf