We care about the environment and actively manage our impact on it
We’re reducing the footprints we leave on the planet - and helping our customers do the same. We've set two bold environmental targets which we’re on track to meet:
- Carbon reduction: Reduce our carbon emissions by 50% by 2015, based on our 2010 baseline
- Waste management: Achieve 50% reduction in waste to landfill, based on our 2010 baseline
You can read more about what we’re doing to meet these targets below.
We also have a Safety and Sustainability policy. (To save the policy as a PDF, right-click on the link, choose the 'Save As' option and continue.) This policy ensures we work safely, protect the wellbeing of others and look after the environment too.
To help our customers reduce their environmental impact, we’ve improved our phone recycling offer and rolled it out across all our brands. The process is very simple: you drop your old phone off at your nearest store, and in return we send you a cheque in the post.
The scheme has been a great success: in 2011 107,186 phones were recycled through our stores.
In the future we’re looking to minimise the size of handset packaging, and plans are afoot to separate phone chargers from handsets to reduce hardware waste.
Operating a business of our size, with a network that spans the UK, uses a significant amount of energy. This energy creates carbon dioxide (CO2), contributing to climate change – something we're committed to minimising.
We’re devoted to reducing our carbon emissions and our target is a 50% drop by 2015, compared to our 2010 baseline.
- In 2011 our carbon footprint was 251,679 tCO2 (total carbon dioxide). In 2010 it was 280,873 tCO2. So we’ve already reduced it by 10%, meaning we’re making good progress against our 2015 target
- 70% of the energy we use goes to power our network (every time someone makes a phone call or goes online), so we’re focusing on reducing that energy level
- We have a number of projects underway which will improve the efficiency of our network and ensure we meet our 2015 target. These include:
- Decommissioning unnecessary masts as we combine the Orange and T-Mobile networks
- Refreshing existing masts with new efficient equipment
- Streamlining at core technical sites (i.e. data centres) to simplify our network infrastructure
- Reducing our office and shop energy use, for example through improving cooling technology and cutting the number of operational hours across our sites
- We encourage our employees to think about their travel footprint:
- We’ve introduced more video and teleconferencing across our offices so we don’t take as many flights and trains. In 2011, we cut our business flights by 2.5% and installed three hi-tech telepresence suites in our Bristol, Hatfield and Darlington offices
- We´ve also initiated a greener company car policy, offering fuel-efficient cars with lower CO2 emissions
- We've purchased a company membership to the nationwide car-share scheme Liftshare
Waste and Recycling
We want to reduce waste sent to landfill by 50% by 2015, compared to our 2010 baseline. We have also set the target to reduce our paper use by 15% by the end of 2013 year on year, based on our 2012 figure.
In 2011 we cut our landfill waste by 27% and we have a number of programmes in place to encourage further reduction. Our focus is to cut the amount of waste we produce and encourage recycling across our office sites.
- We've set all our printers to two-sided printing - a simple but very effective change - and actively manage our paper distribution. We encourage our suppliers to take back their packaging and re-use it where possible
- We also encourage our employees to recycle and have converted our on-site facilities to a single-stream process, which enables staff to recycle the majority of their waste in one place
- In 2012 we're making sure we have well signed and consistent bins across all our facilities to allow waste and recycling to be segregated correctly
We're also happy to play our part in the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, and the Batteries Directive, both of which are UK law. We help our customers dispose of old phones, laptops, other electronic accessories and household batteries. Customers simply bring these items to our stores and we either send them to be recycled or dispose of them safely ourselves. We also pay customers for old devices through our phone recycling scheme. All electrical items and batteries we sell must now be marked with the wheelie bin symbol. This reminds customers to dispose of them separately from their usual household waste.
In addition, we comply with the Single Use Carrier Bag Charge (Regulations) 2010 for our Welsh stores. Between April 2012 and March 2013, we sold 9,314 carrier bags in these stores, raising £372.40. Staff voted for this money to go to the environmental charity WWF Cymru.