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Charger out of the Box Creating lasting consumer behavioural change to build sustainable solutions
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We made a commitment to no longer offer a new charger as standard with a new phone by 2015, as part of our Think Big Blueprint. We want to reduce the environmental impact of producing and disposing of surplus chargers.
To our knowledge, we’re the first company anywhere to launch a handset without a charger.
Our research shows there are over 100 million unused chargers in the UK and that 70% of customers already have a suitable charger – highlighting that you don’t need a new charger every time you purchase a new phone
The estimated 100 million unused chargers in the UK have a huge environmental cost, with the components weighing as much as 1,000 London buses and enough copper and plastic to wrap The O2 200,000 times. If all thrown away it would take up four Olympic swimming pools worth of landfill space.
Now the majority of phones sold are upgrades and USB chargers are the standard, we felt it was the right time to take this bold step.
The results have exceeded our expectations; 82% of those who purchased this handset chose not to buy a separate charger.
This is the first time that this has been piloted in the UK – O2 are taking the lead on this.
Removing the charger from the box was not a popular decision. We make no extra profit from doing this but we believe it is the right thing to do. With an estimated 30 million new phones purchased each year in the UK, the environmental impact of producing and disposing of chargers cannot be ignored.
We’re the first and currently only UK based network bold enough to take this step. We hope that other manufacturers and operators will follow.[/one_half_last]
This initiative was not warmly received by all of our customers and we did receive negative comments with some customers feeling as though we were taking something away from them. We have had to overcome this by making them aware of our motives, which are to create environmental savings, not extra profit for our business.
For the initial pilot, we did not reduce the size of the handset packaging to reflect the removal of the charger straight away. It will be our goal to reduce the packaging size from day one with future handsets for greater environmental savings.
We’re committed to being the most sustainable company in our industry and have taken a bold step with ‘Charger out of the Box’, paving the way to create real environmental benefits for our business and our customers. We hope other companies will join us to drive lasting industry change.
This initiative has helped employee and customer awareness of our sustainability commitments and activities. Our retail, call centre and online colleagues have engaged with our wider Think Big sustainability programme through this initiative, so they are able to explain to customers the reasons behind the change.[/one_half_last]
Courtney Lockyer joined Telefonica UK in 2009 as part of their Advanced Apprenticeship programme. She spent two years working in Operations until she graduated the programme and secured a role as a Test Lead. In 2012, Courtney was offered the chance to become a Higher Apprentice, giving her the opportunity to experience working in other areas of the business as well as studying part-time for a Foundation Degree. She currently works in the Sustainability team supporting environmental initiatives such as Charger out of the Box – O2’s commitment to no longer offering chargers as standard with a new handset.