The Anatomy of a Launch: BT’s Net Good Programme Goes Live

We have just completed the last part of the launch of BT’s Net Good programme. It has been quite a whirlwind for me and many others working on it.

The first step was a formal external launch event at the Royal Society for the Arts building in London on June 18th, in partnership with The Climate Group who had helped us with stakeholder engagement as we developed Net Good. The day commenced with a media briefing, followed with a platform event in front of a physical audience of about 130 invited guests and streamed live. Our CEO Ian Livingston was the keynote speaker setting the scene with his remarks that it is no longer enough for business to do less bad in the environmental realm, but we must strive to do net good. I followed with a description of the net good methodology, we held a panel discussion and then completed the programme with roundtable discussions and feedback on Net Good. I was thrilled to see that almost everyone in the audience stayed right through the roundtable discussions and we had to wrestle the feedback forms out of the hands of some because they wanted to work on through the lunch reception! You can see The Climate Group’s takeout from the event here and video highlights here.

The following week, on June 26th, we held a knowledge call for employees to supplement the online materials and help people understand more about how they, as employees, could engage in with the programme. About 100 people attended the live event which was then posted for on-demand access. As with the external launch event I was thrilled with the engagement. I had to end the call after an hour despite having many more questions to go from participants; but don’t worry, I will answer those online!

On July 1st we held the third component of the launch. In partnership with Globescan and MVine we piloted a new format of stakeholder engagement using technology to try and include a much broader audience in an online debate around net positive. Over 200 sustainability experts from 22 countries took part in a wide ranging discussion, which lasted about 4 hours. The sessions were divided into three ‘panels’ of five or six guests each and three themes in each panel. 800 comments were posted throughout the event. We condensed the insights that evening and distributed them through our governance process overnight followed by a presentation to our board committee for Sustainable and Responsible business the next day. Within 24 hours we posted an interim written response and a video with our initial thoughts. Two weeks later, on July 16th we posted a longer document more fully describing the insights we learned from the Forum. This is a pretty fast turnaround for a large company – the 24 hour response in particular. I have to say that I found it somewhat liberating working to a commitment to review responses and reach conclusions in a short timescale. You can see the video and the report here.

We will be running the BT Better Future Forum as a mechanism for stakeholder engagement across a range of topics in the future.

Together with many colleagues who helped put this launch together, I am now catching up on many things I missed while I was focused on all these events.  Not least of all,  making sure we stay on track for the glidepath to the 2020 target of 3:1 !


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