With the publication of the most recent IPCC report on the impacts of global warming, it is even more imperative that we not only operate as a responsible business but that we are also able to detail how we do this in a transparent and like-for-like manner according to global norms and standards. Aligning ourselves with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and reporting our efforts within their framework helps us structure and articulate the positive actions we are taking towards addressing these pressing issues, including environmental degradation.
In terms of our ‘Sustainable Growth’ work programs, we largely address Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure and Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. Some examples of the work we are doing under these Sustainable Development Goals include:
Goal 9: Industry Innovation and Infrastructure
Our network roadmap and associated infrastructure takes advantage of the natural evolution of energy efficiency in devices and technologies. However we are also committed to pushing the boundaries further, demanding more from our suppliers and seeking out innovative new partners. A great example of this is the most recent Adaptive Power Challenge. The innovation challenge aimed to find ground-breaking solutions to match energy demand to service demand in cable networks leveraging APSIS technology. The two winning solutions could allow cable operators to decouple energy from data usage in their networks. This is a clear milestone in the cable industry’s drive to reduce impact and emissions while increasing our energy efficiency.
Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
We address this goal both in our own operations but also as an enabler of our customers consumption.
Our Responsible Procurement and Supply Chain Principles outline our commitment to sustainable procurement, while the EcoVadis platform helps us monitor and manage our suppliers sustainability performance. On top of this, our two environmental targets, for energy and carbon, help focus our work in terms of addressing our most material environmental impacts as a company.
We also enable our customers through our technology and business model. First, we work cross-functionally to create a circular approach to product development, including end of life. This means building more modular products and designing for easy repair to extend the product life cycle. We also work on reducing the volume of materials being used in our products – including plastics, metals and electronics – so that our products are resource efficient. We use our Product Sustainability Scorecard to underpin this process.
Our subscription-based business model, where we retain the ownership of our customer’s set-top boxes and modems (collectively called Customer Premise Equipment or CPE) also supports responsible consumption and production. Once a customer decides they no longer need our service or they upgrade to a different service, we take back their CPE and test whether we can reuse it directly or refurbish it for reuse. Wherever possible, we reuse or refurbish equipment, thereby avoiding additional resource consumption in our supply chain.
In 2017, 22% of newly deployed set-top boxes and modems were from refurbished stock and 36% of collected set-top boxes and modems were refurbished. This equates to having refurbished 2.2 million CPE units, avoiding approximately 3,700 metric tons of waste. In cases where the only option is to dispose of the CPE, it is recycled or sent for safe disposal in line with the applicable legislation.
You can read more about our contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals here.