Progress for humanity and the environment

Progress for humanity and the environment

Louise Meijer about the ambitious plans for VodafoneZiggo by 2025

The ambitions are there for everyone to see. By 2025, VodafoneZiggo wants to have helped two million people move forward in society, and, at the same time, have halved its impact on the environment. That demands a lot from the entire organisation. Louise Meijer, director of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), tells more about the plans for 2025. “This is an ambition of everyone, the entire company. All the units will make their own contribution to our impact on humanity and environment, and more importantly: we will measure that too.”

As one of the largest telecom providers, VodafoneZiggo plays a part in the daily lives of millions of people. Social responsibility is part and parcel of that role. Our services are crucial, and that has only become clearer in times of COVID-19. VodafoneZiggo has been offering programmes on digital skills for years, for both young and old. The company also uses 100% wind energy. However, more clout is needed to achieve the ambitious goals by 2025.

People, Planet, Progress
The 'People Planet Progress’ plan helps with this, by providing proactive solutions and innovations based around five themes.
These five themes are:
- Sustainable purchasing of services and products
- Equal opportunities in a digital society
- Technology for society
- Everything for a healthy environment
- A diverse and inclusive culture

Higher goal
“The most important principle of our CSR policy is that we deal with our impact on humanity and environment in a very conscious way. And that we do everything we can to ensure this impact is positive”, says Louise Meijer. “That way of thinking is becoming increasingly important in our company culture and identity.”

The vision of the outside world ties in seamlessly with that. “More and more people are taking sustainability into consideration for where they want to work, what they buy or eat, or what they invest in. Our customers, partners and investors also applaud the fact that we do business sustainably. All the more reason to make CSR a genuine part of our business operations and strategy, so that everyone within the organisation is aware of our higher goal, contributes to this and promotes it.

CSR as part of the business
“I’m director of Brand, Communications & Media. That department focuses on brand and marketing communications, but is also therefore responsible for CSR. That’s a very conscious choice. In this way, we have directly linked our external accountability as brand(s) to our activities within VodafoneZiggo. 'A brand is what a brand does' is a popular saying in the world of marketing, which is given a very concrete form in this way. Corporate social responsibility is not a separate staff department at our company, but is actually part of the business. What’s more: we have included the CSR goals in the strategies and objective of all departments within VodafoneZiggo. In this way, we make concrete agreements and we increase the engagement.”

Smart technical solutions
VodafoneZiggo makes a difference for customers by coming up with solutions that make their lives better. The company is fully committed to technology that serves society. For example, in the field of eHealth and the Internet of Things. However, that social significance goes further than just products and services.

Encouraging volunteer work
VodafoneZiggo encourages all colleagues to do volunteer work, which ties in with the People Planet Progress ambition. In that way, they spread their knowledge and expertise through the Step up for Good programme. Employees devote themselves, for example, to various projects that teach young and old to deal with increasing digitisation. The interactive teaching programme Online Masters helps children develop their digital skills. And Welcome Online is specifically intended to familiarise the older target group with online opportunities.

Connections in disaster areas
There are specially trained employees who travel to disaster area through the Instant Network programme in order to build temporary communication networks. “Few people know that we do that, although it does contribute to internal pride and external appreciation."

Ambition is great
“We’ve already been on the right path for a number of years with our sustainable and social objectives, but our ambition remains great. For example, we use 100% wind energy and recycle and reuse 100% of our network materials. However, we see an opportunity to reduce our environmental impact by a further 50%”, says Meijer. “By thinking about packaging, making agreements with our suppliers and being critical about our product development for example.”

More recycling, less emissions
A substantial reduction in CO2 emissions and not producing waste any more. In that way, VodafoneZiggo wants to take good care of the planet. That is partly possible by taking internal measures. Paying close attention to our own energy consumption, for example. The majority of the office employees come to work by public transport. Lease cars are only available to people who can’t do without them for their work. Products like the media boxes are produced as sustainably as possible, and telephones are recycled after use. The packaging is also becoming smaller and smaller, and more biodegradable.

Stringent for suppliers
At the same time, the company is taking a stringent look at the entire chain, as suppliers also have an influence on the CO2 footprint. How do they make their products? And how do they deliver them to VodafoneZiggo? Suppliers are also expected, therefore, to produce as sustainably as possible, and to continually look for ways to improve that process further.

Green investing
To further support our sustainability strategy, VodafoneZiggo issued its first ‘green bond’ in 2020. That is a bond that enables investors to invest in sustainable or social projects.

And after 2025?
“I have every confidence that our approach will ensure that we achieve our objectives, but 2025 is not the end point. Technological developments come and go quickly and may offer us the opportunity to help even more people move forward with digital applications”, says Meijer. “I am very curious, for example, about the possibilities of IoT solutions: what will the smart city offer all of us? But first all, of us will do everything we can to achieve our sustainable goals.”

Read more about the PPP goals