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Three UK’s Sustainability Strategy

Sustainable Connections

We’ve called this strategy ‘Sustainable Connections’ to reflect the mutual connectedness between our business and our planet, our people, and the communities where we work.

Our Planet

Take Action on Climate Change

The development of our sustainability strategy took place against the backdrop of ever-increasing global temperatures  and indisputable evidence of the link between human activity and climate-change.

Since 2021, we’ve been measuring and monitoring our emissions to identify improvement opportunities. To date, these include: energy reduction measures, such as the installation of a smart cooling system in our data centres; and a focus on maintaining high levels of renewable electricity.

In 2022, CK Hutchison Group Telecoms (CKHGT) set science-based targets aligned to a 1.5 degree pathway, verified by the Science-Based Targets initiative.

Our Sustainability Strategy will build on our work to date to lower our own direct emissions, including a sustainable travel programme, and we will expand our focus to increase supply chain engagement. We’ll also support our employees to lower their emissions, including offering a tax effective electric vehicle leasing programme to enable them to transition to low or zero emissions driving.


Promote a Circular Economy

A circular economy focuses on eliminating waste in product design and extending the useful lifetime of a product and its components. It aims to maximise both the elements within a product and the embodied energy. Circular economy models include: sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling

We’ll focus on offering circular economy products and services to our customers over the lifetime of the Sustainability strategy. In the UK, we have our existing Three Recycle trade-in programme and Reconnected programme. We already collect and redistribute phones to communities in need across the UK, focus on the retrieval of mobile phones to extend the lifecycle of a phone and reduce e-waste. We aim to expand both programmes. We’ll also continue working with our suppliers to identify sustainable products and accessories to include in our range. Finally, we‘ll focus on responsibly managing our network waste equipment.

Our People

Create Great Places to work

We recognise that our people form our greatest asset. In fact, two of our core values are centred round how we work together to ‘appreciate each other’ and ‘work as one team’. We also recognise that employees in a hybrid, post-pandemic workplace have different flexibility, development and engagement needs, and we are constantly refining our employee proposition to match these.

We know the value of investing in our people, so we’re delivering our development initiatives in many new and exciting digital ways. We’re also using insight from our employee surveys and from sponsors across the business to enhance our comprehensive development programme, catered to our people on an individual level.

Our Sustainability Strategy will focus on increasing employee engagement with our learning and development offering and ensuring that our digital programmes are accessible to all.

We also recognise the importance of a diverse workforce that reflects society and the positive impact that this has on employee culture and business performance. At Three, we want our people to feel comfortable being their authentic selves at work. We believe that an inclusive culture underpinned by respect is the foundation of a diverse organisation.

Finally, we understand the dual benefit of employee volunteering and fundraising, to both Three UK and our charity partners. We identify employee involvement opportunities where possible in order to broaden and deepen our societal impact.

Our Business

Create a thriving digital economy

Continuously upgrading our network and investment in network security are of utmost importance to us. Three launched as the UK’s first 3G only network in 2003, and today, is a network that connects people to people, people to things, and things to things – with 9.5 million customers.

We continue to invest in upgrading our network to ensure that we offer customers the best experience and are currently rolling out a £2 billion network upgrade. This network investment will result in more 5G sites across the UK. As our 5G presence grows, we will look to retire our 3G network, removing unnecessary equipment from sites to focus on faster speeds.

At Three UK, we also want to ensure that people across the country can engage in the digital economy. We realise the importance of digital upskilling alongside digital access. 21% of UK adults – roughly 11 million people – do not have the Essential Digital Skills needed for day-to-day life. Digital inclusion is a core focus within our Sustainability Strategy.

Our Reconnected programme supports three charities with handsets that are donated to us from customers alongside 6 months free data. We will build on the success of this programme to date, to reach even more people across the UK.

Our Discovery programme focuses on the delivery of digital skills, and we will continue this skill-share as part of our digital inclusion focus.


Operate responsibly and with integrity

At Three, good governance, transparency and accountability are key facets of our business, and ‘take responsibility’ is one of our core values. We endeavour to ensure that we have the correct systems, policies and procedures in place to manage the business in a responsible and ethical manner, and to support and protect our colleagues, customers and stakeholders.

As a technology company, cybersecurity is of utmost importance to us. We make sure our Network, IT and Services are secure, reliable and high performing for our customers to enjoy their experience.

Our enterprise risk management system allows us to identify key risks and opportunities across the business and develop mitigating actions to ensure that we deliver on our objectives. As we prepare for Task force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) reporting in 2024, we’ll focus on climate scenario analysis and the associated climate risks and opportunities for Three UK.

In 2022, we updated our supplier code of conduct and launched a partnership with Ecovadis to gain transparency across our supply chain and better identify risks and opportunities. We’ll continue this programme of work across our supply chain.

Our sustainability strategy will focus on increasing sustainability awareness within our business to help embed it in our culture and decision making. We will also pursue external third-party health and safety and environmental accreditations to drive excellence.

Targets to support our Sustainability Strategy

Our Planet:

  • Emissions Reduction: Develop and implement local emissions-reduction strategy to support the delivery of the CKHGT Science-Based Targets
  • Energy: Maintain renewable electricity levels of at least 97% for directly procured electricity
  • Electric Vehicles: Support our employees to lower their carbon emissions: Launch EV employee proposition and target a 5% uptake by 2026
  • Business Travel: Implement sustainable travel programme: By 2030, achieve a 25% reduction in business travel emissions per FTE
  • Circular Devices: By the end of 2029, retrieve at least 30,000 devices via our Reconnected scheme
  • Circular Network: By the end of 2025 Ensure that 100% of decommissioned network equipment is reused or responsibly recycled
  • Circular Products: Ensure that 100% of our new Three UK consumer SIMs are Eco-SIMs by the end of 2023 and introduce eSIM offering by the end of 2023

Our People:

  • Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging: By 2030 achieve a 50/50 gender balance in leadership

Our Business:

  • Digital Inclusion: By the end of 2029, reach approximately 1.7 million people through programmes that focus on digital skills and inclusion.
  • Sustainable Procurement: Complete sustainability assessment across our supply chain to cover 95% of our spend by the end of 2023
  • Sustainability Awareness: Introduce mandatory sustainability training for Three UK employees and achieve a 95% compliance target by end of 2023
You can read more about some of our commitments here
Three UK’s Sustainability Strategy image

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