Dialling into 2020: Our sustainability performance

25 May 2021

Sustainability at Virgin Media is about doing business in a way that’s good for people, communities and the planet. And a big part of doing business responsibly is being straight up about our progress on sustainability. So today we’re sharing our 2020 Sustainability Report – reviewing our social and environmental performance from 2020.

Over the years we’ve become well known for our approach to reporting – each year taking on a new concept to really engage our people and customers with all that we’ve been up to, and this year is no different.

With our report reflecting on such an unprecedented year, we felt there was no better way to play back 2020 than with a ‘digital focus’. And while it’s now more than a decade since we ditched lengthy, hard copy PDFs and instead embraced the power of digital storytelling, in the year of a global pandemic, digital played an even greater role. It offered a way to escape reality and get together, despite being a part, it connected families via Zoom quizzes, and powered FaceTime with friends, and helped us to discover podcasts to pass the time. Plus, connectivity powered Teams calls and, of course, helped us to binge on box sets and (almost) complete Netflix.

So, we’re telling our 2020 sustainability story with a nod to all the times digital kept us connected over the past 12 months.

We’ve embraced and included all of the usual aspects we’re all now so used to seeing:

  • PDF: as always, the backbone to our report is a PDF document that outlines in detail our social and environmental performance. It’s a familiar format for many and contains all the info in one place. Lovingly curated by our talented Brand and Marketing colleagues – check it out in our performance downloads.
  • Prezi-style summary: this year for obvious reasons, we can’t do a town hall get together or reporting roadshow, so instead we’re producing a snazzy snapshot of our report which is interactive and brings to life our performance in an engaging way – check it out here.
  • Podcasts: they made a comeback last year, and our very own Katie Buchanan, Head of Sustainability is joined by sustainability pioneer, Mike Barry, who together in conversation reflect on 2020 – listen to it here.
  • Pop-quiz: the beginning of the pandemic saw us all engrossed in Zoom quizzes with friends and family. So we’ll be embracing this for our people and testing their knowledge with prizes on offer!
  • Posts on social: We’ll embrace all of our social channels, including Workplace by Facebook, to have a two way conversation with our people about what we’ve been up to.

Regardless of our creative approach to engage our core audiences – our people, our customers and our sustainability colleagues – we still follow the principles that guide our approach to reporting. These are:

  • Heroing our people: We tell our performance story every year through our people. This year you will be dialled into video calls with key people responsible for driving our performance.
  • Straight up disclosure: Celebrating where it’s gone well and being honest where it hasn’t, and acknowledging where we need to do better. We know we need to do more around our diversity data (which we’re addressing as part of our new Belonging strategy) and there’s more we need to do to drive down our Scope 3 emissions
  • It’s reporting not just a report: We talk about reporting as an on-going conversation with our stakeholders, not a single moment in time or a single document. That’s why throughout the year we’ve used a range of communication channels to bring to life our content in engaging ways as we all get used to working virtually. This has, without doubt, helped us to gain cut through
  • Sustainability for everyone: It’s important to us that we bring the report to life outside of the pages of the PDF and to ensure our communications are truly for the many not the few. Our suite of assets that make up our approach to reporting do just this.

Sustainability reporting is one of the core ways we as a team live Virgin Media’s purpose – building connections that really matter. We don’t want our report to sit on a shelf gathering dust, we want to use it as a tool to connect with our audiences and drive environmental and social impact in the same way our core strategic programmes do. Building awareness of and engagement with sustainability is one thing, but enabling others to change the way they think about and deliver their own work is how we’ll create lasting impact.