O2 sustainability drive for corporate share

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O2 details plans to erode Vodafone lead with big business by show of its green credentials in terms of own carbon footprint and energy-saving tech solutions

O2 reckons it will take share from Vodafone in the corporate  and M2M markets by demonstrating to customers its own achievement to reduce carbon emissions, and also by showing them its technology solutions to save on energy outputs and expenses.

O2 UK business sales director Ben Dowd (pictured) said: “In the corporate space, 10-15 per cent of customers are choosing suppliers based upon their own sustainability credentials.

“Corporations are now requesting us to demonstrate our sustainability credentials, and we are doing the same with our suppliers. It would not have been a concern for them a couple of years ago.”

He said: “Vodafone is the market leader in the corporate space, and we are the market leader in SME. We have about a third of the corporate market today. So we have a significant corporate base, and we have significant share to gain.

“When you look at the public sector, which is a big part of that corporate space, Vodafone is clearly much stronger than us. But that is because it has been part of the the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) framework for much longer than we have. The opportunity for us now is to gain; the challenge for Vodafone is not to lose customers.”

An O2 survey of 500 chief executives of British firms with annual turnover of £50 million-£500 million found 46 per cent of big businesses will double funds currently allocated to sustainable strategies in the next two years.

It also found, however, 36 per cent will turn away from sustainability measures by then; one in three stated they do not have the technology to demonstrate return on investment.

The Government has made it mandatory that organisations spending more than £500,000 per year on electricity must monitor emissions and purchase allowances for every tonne of CO2 they admit.

Non compliance will be met with financial penalties.  A league table will name and share worst UK carbon offenders by 2012.

Research by government organisation The Climate Group reckons the telecoms sector can cut global emissions by five times, saving more than £475 billion, through implementation of its products and services.

O2 parent Telefónica is number one in the telecoms sector in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

It has, since November 2009, reduced its own CO2 emissions per employee by 53 per cent. O2 was the first UK operator to be certified by the Carbon Trust standard after reducing its energy consumption by 15 per cent in the past three years, saving £8 million.

It intends to cut its UK energy usage by 10 per cent, its water usage by 20 per cent,  its travel by 30 per cent and its waste by 50 per cent.

Dowd remarked: “We are in a great position with the credentials we have as well as all the products and services to be the first-stop for customers wishing to talk about sustainability.

Dowd talked of O2’s Joined Up convergence service and its new TelePresence video conferencing and calling service among sustainability solutions. O2 also works with a number of third parties on data-entry applications, such as Destiny Wireless’ digital pen and Active Digital’s Pronto application.

Dowd also said O2 leads the UK M2M sector with solutions enabling data transfer and reduced carbon emissions. He says the company’s own deployment of smart meters across its retail estate and base stations has seen a return of investment of “millions” already.

He claims there are eight Government trials in the UK around smart metering, of which O2 is involved in seven.

“These are significant trials which involve local partnerships with system integrators to prove the return on investment in terms of energy efficiency and savings. We can deliver solutions to enable customers to make significant savings. We have done it for ourselves, and the return on investment is considerable.”

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