O2 asks suppliers to cut environmental impacts

At the end of last year a flurry of reports detailed how large corporates  would be reinvigorating their sustainability plans in 2012. Over 50% of companies in some reports stated plans would not only focus inside their business but look outside, down the supply chain.

It hasn’t taken long before one company has announced just that. O2’s plan Think Big Blueprint comprises three areas – supporting young people, helping customers make sustainable choices and reducing O2’s own environmental impacts – alongside 40 commitments to reduce CO2 emissions.

Part of the plan includes asking all major suppliers to set up programmes to cut environmental impacts and it will launch as supplier forum to promote sustainability innovation and best practice. O2 spends £3 billion with suppliers each year and as it announced plans to improve energy efficiency, introduce mixed waste recycling in offices and reduce packaging it wants to ensure everyone involved with it does likewise.

Through some of this work O2 is encouraging suppliers to join them in their sustainability journey – but it’s unclear what happens to suppliers who don’t or won’t make the change.

The Think Big Blueprint isn’t regarded as a nice to have by senior managers but seen as part of a long-term business strategy – clearly integrated into business decisions rather than a bolt-on idea. It is also involving employees by creating individual sustainability responsibilities for each staff member and recognising their efforts through rewards.

With leadership from the top and an employee engagement plan it will be interesting to see how O2 progresses over the next few years in its attempt to become a more sustainable business.

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