When I first joined Liberty Global in 2019, I was immediately impressed by the impetus placed on innovation. Through coffees and conversations with different colleagues, I was inspired by the enthusiasm and interest towards sustainability. I wanted to find out how we could use this energy to help support our Corporate Responsibility (CR) team, to make the company’s behaviour even more conscious, and also help our colleagues to make positive changes in their own lives. One meeting later with the CR team and an idea was born – to create a grassroots community of colleagues to drive sustainability through the organisation.
Fast forward to 2021 and, in spite of the pandemic, we now have a flourishing group (called Better Future) of awesome people from across the Liberty family that want to make a difference. Since the beginning of this year, we’ve put together a newsletter called ‘Building a Better Future’ which celebrates the progressive work of the CR team, but also raises awareness of sustainable solutions in Tech and Telecommunications, and shines a spotlight on employees who have gone above and beyond to make a difference in their community or business area. We encourage our people to live consciously and make changes in their own lives, so there’s a helpful section filled with hints and tips as well as ways they can get more involved such as signing petitions and volunteering.
In June this year, we were joined by colleagues from Virgin Media Ireland for a webinar called ‘Better Future Talks.’ In this virtual awareness event we explored the brilliant work that has been undertaken as part of our Irish operation’s ‘Connections4Good’ strategy, including the volunteering and environmental sustainability initiatives. It was both inspiring and insightful for employees who joined from across our European operations and offices in London, The Netherlands and Denver.
Liberty Global has recently increased its volunteer time off policy, and now offers each employee up to 24 hours paid-leave a year to support a cause that’s important to them. The Better Future group has been waiting patiently for COVID-19 restrictions to ease to enable us to organise an in–person volunteering event.
On a sunny Friday early this September, 28 eager employees headed to Zandvoort Beach in The Netherlands, armed with bags and litter grabbers to collect as much waste as possible before it ended up in our oceans. Over a four hour period we managed to fill a 120 litre bag with small pieces of plastic and disposed of it properly. Along with glass and paper (separated, of course) we collected as much trash as possible that could be harmful to marine life. One notorious culprit, the cigarette butt (one alone can pollute up to 500 litres of water and take approximately 10 years to decompose), was specifically targeted, and we managed to collect more than 2800 of them!
As someone who feels that they can be doing more to reduce their carbon footprint, having an outlet to make a difference is really important to me. It’s large businesses that can make the biggest difference to lessen the impacts of Climate Change and pollution and, although individuals may not be able to shift the needle, when individuals come together, we can make a difference.
I feel we are just getting started. As we find our feet, our ambition is growing and we have some high hopes. In 2022 we plan to host a Sustainability Hackathon, where teams of employees in the Netherlands can work on ideas and pitches for how we can make our business work better in a sustainable way. Also in the pipeline are a Sustainability Training course, a Greener Return to Office campaign, volunteering events and more.
For anyone thinking of joining Liberty, and for anyone who is already here, the door to Better Future is always open – the more people we get involved the better, and together we can and will make a difference.