The vision of Ronan Dunne, CEO Telefónica O2 UK, isn’t based on altruism or philanthropy: “This drive to put sustainability at the heart of O2’s operations is because it makes business sense. Whether this is from driving internal cost efficiencies through to technology development, and offering wider services to our business and consumer customers”, explained Dunne in The Sustainable Business Summit chaired by The Economist yesterday in London.
Sustainability is a driver –he said- in three ways: deepening our relationship with our customers and turning them into fans –“44% of our customers use sustainability performance as a purchase influencer”-; creating competitor differentiation, potential for diversification and new revenue streams, and mitigating our own growing energy demand.
“I passionately believe that O2 can be a key enabler to help our customers (business and consumer) reduce their own environmental impact”, Dunne added. “Sustainability is big business, and can stimulate interest across a diverse range of stakeholders”.
HOUSE IN ORDER
The first point of focus of Telefónica O2 UK has been getting our own house in order. O2 consumes 1/1000 of all the electricity generated in the UK, so the company is committed to being a leader in this space. It was the first mobile operator to be awarded the Carbon Trust Standard for reducing CO2 emissions by 30,000 tonnes over the last two years. And the use of mixed recycling facilities in offices and stores has seen a 29. 68% reduction in waste to landfill.
SUSTAINABILITY AS A REVENUE OPPORTUNITY
The real future potential, however, lies in meeting customer demand for more sustainable products and services and through embedding sustainability in product development, rather than treating it as an add on.
In the UK, O2 has trialled some of the latest communications technologies, including TelePresence and Video Conferencing, in its own HQ resulting in a 53% reduction in CO2 emissions, £4m in cost savings and improved morale amongst flexible workers. It has already seen high levels of interest from corporate customers based on these results.
Dunne concluded his presentation by giving some insights into the products of the future and their sustainability benefits. This includes smart meters which will give customers greater control of their heating and home appliances to reduce waste, or healthcare services such as remote diagnostics which reduce the need for travel.