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Our issues

With around 650 different UK sites, 186,000 kilometres of network, thousands of employees and millions of customers, we’re a large business. So as you would expect from a company of our size, we have loads of different issues and impacts to consider.

To help us to identify and prioritise our biggest sustainability issues, we’ve spoken to staff, customers, members of the public and top sustainability thinkers through our ‘We’re all ears’ and ‘Our digital future’ programmes, as well as through ongoing internal assessments.

Taking a holistic perspective

We think about the whole of our business – including our products, people and operations – and consider all our potential impacts before prioritising them according to the expectations of our main stakeholders – our staff, customers and sustainability experts. Every year we carry out a benchmarking process to gauge how we’re doing on our key impact areas, and we’re working closely with our internal teams and our parent company Liberty Global, to monitor and improve how these issues are managed.

Tackling sector specific impacts

On top of this, there are also some important challenges that are specific to our sector. Within the telecommunications and media industry, there’s an expectation that responsible companies should understand and measure the impact of ‘content influence’ – the idea that creators and distributors of information and entertainment can also influence what and how people think. It’s a debate that as an active member of the Media CSR Forum, we are contributing to.

Focusing on digital issues

Here at Virgin Media our focus is on a slightly different set of issues. We don’t make TV shows ourselves – we’re here to help you get the content you want, wherever you are – but we do recognise that we can have a big impact on the development of a ‘digital society’.  It’s true that in an increasingly digital world, there are challenges as well as opportunities. People can struggle to keep up with new ways of doing things, and knowing how best to keep yourself and your family safe and fully benefitting from everything online isn’t always easy.

It’s this focus - the impact of digital technology on people’s everyday lives, their communities and businesses – that’s at the heart of how we think about sustainability. This is something our stakeholders expect us to be thinking about and acting on, even if some of them – staff and customers included – don’t always call it ‘sustainability’.

Helping people get the best from the web

We know from the conversations we’ve already had that Britain overwhelmingly believes digital technology can have an exciting, positive impact on all of our lives. That’s the idea behind our vision for sustainability: digital that makes good things happen. It focuses on one big idea – combining our knowhow, talented staff and that brand magic to use digital technology to create positive change – for individuals, businesses and communities right across the country.

Through all the conversations we’ve had as part of ‘our digital future’, we also heard that some people – our staff and customers included - want better technology and guidance from internet service providers like us to help keep kids safe online. To make sure we’re helping families get the best from the web, while protecting children online, we’ve introduced a range of initiatives:

  • Web Safe: a parental controls tool that blocks access to certain types of sites that are unsuitable for children. It will help protect any device that’s connected to a Virgin Media home network and is included in all Virgin Media Broadband packages for free.
  • Switched On Families: practical, honest, useful (and sometimes even fun) support for parents, through an interactive guide and online hub with loads of advice for families, by families.
  • Internet Matters: working with Sky, BT and TalkTalk to help parents and carers make informed and timely decisions on what kids get up to online, at every stage of development.

Digital that makes good things happen

We’ve developed three areas of focus to help make sure we can bring our vision to life through all our sustainability initiatives:

  • Through our business – using digital technology to be transparent about making growing sustainably part of business as usual
  • In everyday life – helping people, businesses and communities get the best from digital technology and learn new digital skills
  • For social change – using our brand, people and skills to make a positive difference to people’s lives