There are times that publishing a sustainability report in hard copy, or even PDF download format, as a single document, just won’t cut it with your key stakeholders. This is especially true if your business is quintessentially digital. If everything you do is digital, for digital, by digital, more digital, digital for good, digital to improve lives, digital future, digital society… then digital sustainability has to be the right fit.
So it is with Virgin Media and digital sustainability reporting. Finding the best way to use digital for delivering sustainability messages to key stakeholders has been developed quite skillfully by Virgin Media over the years. I recall Katie Buchanan, Virgin Media’s Head of Sustainability, presenting at a conference some years back, telling the story of how the folks in Virgin Media’s logistics team created their own video to show the sustainable steps of a Virgin Media shipment to a customer. Here’s the video (scroll back up!) – always worth another look.
- People – Nurture an engaged workforce which represents the diversity of our customers and communities
- Products – Improve the sustainability performance of every new customer product
- Operations – Grow our business without increasing our carbon footprint
- Boosting business – Create the opportunities for 100,000 small businesses to grow in the UK’s economy through digital
- Transforming lives – Transform the lives of disadvantaged people in the UK through digital technology
2: Continually improve engagement levels and exceed the UK Best Employer benchmark
3: Have 80% of our people voluntarily disclosing their ‘diversity information’ by 2017
Overall the presentation of the report is superbly digital, including different types of employee-made films and blogs.
“At Virgin Media, we put the customer at the heart of everything we do. For our customers and our staff – our primary audience – a hard copy report just doesn’t work, we’ve tried! Our people are based in our call centers, retail shops, out on the road – we have to find a way to get our message out to all of them. Online is much more accessible – they can view the website anywhere, even at home. We take our content from our website – and play the films in our retail stores, in team breakout areas and so on – we try to take the message to where the audience is. We recognize that starting with our staff enables us to bring our strategy to life in a way that makes sense and is engaging to them.
“Perhaps the thing I am most proud of about our new strategy is its simplicity. It’s clear, focused and aligned to our commercial strategy and brand purpose. This is the culmination of 12 months engagement with staff, 500 consumers and our Executive Committee. As part of the Liberty Global Group, we started with the group materiality exercise. This was valuable in helping us to determine which key issues to focus on.
“Our process culminated with taking 14 senior business leaders away from their desks for a full-day workshop to help bring it altogether. In creating our ambitious goals, we worked hard to make them meaningful and avoid jargon. Perhaps most importantly, the link to our commercial and business objectives is clear – for example,supporting small businesses is an important economic and social need but it’s absolutely essential to our own growth as a business. This integration of business and sustainability is stronger than ever before and we expect it will be a major key to our success.
“We have established clear governance – each goal is owned by an Executive Committee member who will drive performance and engagement. Engaging our staff through fun videos and human infographics is another way we bring sustainability to life at Virgin Media, while addressing the accountability and transparency needs of our stakeholders.”
Sounds like a game-changing approach to me. Definitely deserves ice cream.
Take a look. As usual, send feedback.