First product scorecard launched

3 July 2017

We're working to make every customer product more sustainable than the last

Our sustainable product commitment

In 2015 we announced our ‘5 in 5’ sustainability goals; five goals with bold ambitions to achieve within five years. One of these, our ‘Better products’ goal, is focused on improving the sustainability performance of every new customer product - this means ensuring all of our broadband and television products have an environmental and social story we can all be proud of.

Our products serve millions of customers, have thousands of components, are produced by many different suppliers and have parts that are sourced from several countries. This makes understanding and improving the impacts of our products a complex but incredibly important challenge. It requires us to consider the full ‘lifecycle’ of each product – from the sourcing of raw materials through to disposal and reuse.

This is why, in partnership with our parent company Liberty Global, we have created and published our first product scorecard – which enables us to measure and communicate how we’re reducing the environmental and social impacts of our customer products. The scorecard for the first time allows us to transparently show where we’re improving and where we need to do more.

Introducing Virgin Media’s first product scorecard

The scorecard is a tool consisting of 6 environmental and social impact areas that contain a set of questions mapped to each stage of the products lifecycle. There are over 80 of these questions. The answers to these questions provide two types of results; a score out of 10 for each impact area which is used internally to identify where we’re on track and where we need to do more , as along with a set of comparable measures that show how the product is more sustainable.

Take a look at our Product Scorecard Report if you want to find out more about the methodology used to measure the impacts of our products.

Setting our broadband benchmark

At the end of last year, we used the scorecard to measure the impacts of our latest broadband box, the Hub 3.0. The output of the test provides us with both a benchmark internal score for all future broadband products and a set of comparable results against its predecessor, the SuperHub2ac. Using this methodology, we know the Hub 3.0 delivers increased WIFI capabilities, and new features such as Internet of Things, and telephony, yet is more energy and resource efficient than our previous hub:

  • 15%* more energy efficient during use - avoiding enough electricity to power over 7,000 UK homes each year**
  • Avoiding 173* tonnes of plastics, metals and electronics and saving 40 tonnes of paper from documentation and 311 tonnes of cardboard from packaging

It’s a really helpful starting point that will guide our next steps and future efforts – there are obviously areas where we need to do more to improve future broadband products. 

How we will improve future broadband product scores

Going forward we will focus on the following areas for our next broadband product;

  • Working with our suppliers to help them improve their environmental impacts and secure the highest standards for social protection, such as labor rights
  • Reduce the weight of electronics relative to functionality
  • Introduce recycled content into the product casing
  • Idle mode accounts for 40% of routers energy consumption, well look to improve this
  • Design for easy material separation to aid refurbishment, reuse and recycling
  • Continue to ensure all of our products are accessible

What’s next

We will put our new TV box, the V6, through the scorecard to form the benchmark score for all future TV customer products. Once the results are in  we will disclose the results and what we’ll be focused on to improve it.

Personally, being transparent about the impacts of our products in a holistic way for the first time is a big step but I am pleased with the dedication of all the teams involved to make a positive difference on a global scale – it’s all about making good things happen.

*Energy and resource efficiency is calculated based on relative performance of the products that takes into account increases in functionality ** based on average UK household energy consumption (Source: DECC, 2015)