2013 – from then to now to wow
17 January 2014
Another year has come and gone, the Christmas decorations are back in their boxes and I’m back at my desk planning a new, exciting year. But before the pace steps up a gear (and I finish all my Christmas chocolate!) I wanted to take a moment to share my highlights from last year with you.
2013 was a year of real change for Virgin Media – we became part of the Liberty Global family, we said goodbye to our CEO Neil Berkett and welcomed in a new leadership team. As well as organisational changes, one of the big highlights of 2013 for me was completing the Our Digital Future programme. Our biggest engagement programme so far, Our Digital Future was all about getting out there to hear what the British public think about the biggest digital issues, and what their hopes and fears are in our increasingly digital world. To do this, we visited all sorts of interesting public places - from train stations to swimming pools – even London’s Royal Opera House – inviting members of the public to share their views with Roger the Robot in our interactive, digital video booth – the Big Red Box.
The programme was a huge success with experts like Martha Lane Fox, Jimmy Wales and Alistair Campbell joining the conversation, over 120,000 people visiting our Our Digital Future website, and more than 750 people – including our very own Richard Branson - sharing their views with us during the Big Red Box national tour. Hearing everyone’s views was incredibly useful, and all the comments and opinions shared have been invaluable in shaping our plans for this year and beyond.
The key thing we learned from the conversations we had, was that people in Britain are hugely positive about all the benefits of the digital world, but that they could do with some help dealing with some of the more thorny issues online, such as keeping kids safe online. This, and other insights gained through the Our Digital Future programme have resulted in us developing a new focus - Digital That Makes Good Things Happen. We have the network and the expertise to help ensure that digital makes people’s lives better, and we’ll soon be publishing a list of pledges that will help us to deliver on our vision (more on this soon…)
Last year we also worked with our lovely mobile team to launch our first customer proposition all about mobile recycling. You can get the low down here.
Behind the scenes we’ve also been working on embedding accountability – which to you and I means working closely with teams in the business to put in place action plans - for paper, product power consumption, and carbon, our three biggest priority issues for the year.
2013 was also the year that saw Virgin Media win a Sustainability Leadership Award for our waste management practices and we successfully renewed our ISO 14001 Environmental Management certification for another 3 year period – both thanks to people working together across the business.
Perhaps the most visible highlight of last year for me was our work on accessibility – helping everyone live an independent digital life. We set about really transforming our approach for internal and external stakeholders, this included:
- Improving frontline care for customers with accessibility needs through bespoke training for Early Life and Complaints staff
- Working with Richard Whitehead to inspire customers and staff across the country: Over 1,500 staff met him, dozens of whom ran with him (yes, I managed to dust off my running shoes and take part!) - 8,500 matched miles were run, walked or cycled by our staff during Rich’s epic run from John O’ Groats to Land’s End
- Charity support: over £250,000 was raised for Scope through Richard Whitehead’s run, volunteering days and our mobile phone recycling project.
- We also created a dedicated accessibility website along with various other product enhancements.
And that just feels like a snapshot!
When I reflect on 2013, despite making huge progress tackling some of our material issues, I believe there’s much more we could do to communicate, and in places update, the everyday ways that staff can come into contact with sustainability. This year I’m keen to join all of the dots of our sustainability work, along with the great progress we’ve made together to wow and inspire our staff even more! Something to ponder on as I munch on my last Quality Street…!
So happy new year and please do drop us a line with any thoughts on firstname.lastname@example.org