George Clarke judges UK’s best eco-project with Virgin Media O2

To help Virgin Media O2 raise awareness of e-waste and reward current eco-projects that seek to tackle electronic waste and support digital inclusion, we teamed them up with architect George Clarke. And here’s how it went…

Let’s start with the reasoning behind the partnership. The UK faces a rising e-waste problem with research conducted by Virgin Media O2 revealing that ‘3.4 million homeowners throw unused tech in a bin – despite the fact that 8 in 10 know it will damage the environment’. This runs parallel with the growing issue of digital exclusion whereby ‘7% of households across the UK do not have access to the internet via any device […] meaning they can’t access essential online services such as booking a medical appointment or applying for a job’.

With an ongoing mission to create a more circular economy in technology while helping to close the digital divide, Virgin Media O2 joined forces with environmental charity Hubbub to launch the 2023 Time After Time Fund. Focussed on finding UK initiatives that tackle e-waste while helping to close the digital divide, the fund saw £500,000 up for grabs for the UK’s most innovative eco projects.

And this is where George comes in. Virgin Media O2 required a celebrity to bolster the scheme, help with the judging of the winning projects and take on the role as a spokesperson during a broadcast day and panel event. Through our wide industry relationships we successfully secured George for the role. 

A professional architect and established TV presenter, George Clarke is a household name in Britain known best for his work on Channel 4 shows The Restoration Man, George Clarke’s Old House New Home, and George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces. With a passion for taking something old and restoring it and always with an eye for the environment George was the perfect choice. 

Able to bring authenticity to the campaign, George first took part in a broadcast day and live panel event where, joined by Virgin Media O2’s Sustainability Manager, he raised awareness of the initiative to help drive entries.  

Once entries were in, George formed part of the judging panel to select the eventual 10 winners from across the UK who were awarded a share of the £500,000. Winners included a training programme to teach youngsters to repair electricals, schemes to encourage students to hang onto their tech for longer and even a mobile repair bus which collects e-waste from communities across Cornwall.

The use of George in their campaign helped raise awareness of the scheme and thus increased entries, while adding the celebrity element brought more gravitas to the cause. 

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