Sky Rainforest Rescue - together we can make a bigger difference

Sunday 25 March 2012

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This month we’re excited to be stepping up our campaign to raise awareness of the threat of tropical deforestation, which is the biggest contributor to global warming. Watch out for the new TV ad that we’ve launched on Sky channels to highlight how our customers can join in and do their bit to help protect the rainforest - a beautiful and rich natural resource. Every minute an area larger than three football pitches of Amazon rainforest is destroyed, so there’s no time to waste.

We take our part in helping to tackle climate change very seriously and have been working on reducing our own emissions since 2006. But we’ve always known there is more we can do which is why we launched Sky Rainforest Rescue in 2009, in partnership with WWF and working with the government in the Brazilian state of Acre – it’s our way of making a difference. Our aim is to help save one billion trees by working with local communities to make the forest worth more alive than dead.

To raise awareness, we’ve broadcast specially commissioned programmes on Sky 1 HD and our professional cycling team, Team Sky, wore a Sky Rainforest Rescue Kit during the 2011 Tour de France. Thanks to generous donations from our customers, we’re now more than three quarters of the way towards our £2 million fundraising target. Because we will match all contributions pound for pound, we’re able to double the positive impact, raising £4 million for the rainforest, and the communities and animal species that live there.

It’s been great to hear about the recent work that’s taken place on the ground in Acre to help the 1000+ families working with the project to live more sustainably. WWF recently organised a series of workshops to train rubber tappers in a new processing technique which can help them earn a better living from their natural product. The workshops enabled experienced producers to share their knowledge in practical demonstrations with over 60 other rubber tappers from the Sky Rainforest Rescue project area. The processing technique produces a form of rubber known as FDL that has a higher value on the market and cuts out the middle man.

Supporting the rubber tappers to produce FDL rubber and access forest-friendly incomes in this way means that people don't need to cut down trees to make a living. The team on the ground has also set up workshops in the Sky Rainforest Rescue project area to scope out what's required to improve the market opportunities for the sustainably harvested fruit or ‘superfruit’, as we know it, açaí.

Recently, açaí producers, processors and buyers have been brought together to share their experiences and draw up a plan of action that can help make açaí a more valuable product. That includes making harvesting more efficient, improving fruit processing techniques and enhancing transport links to get berries to market. By helping to improve the quality and efficiency of açaí production, we're helping local people to earn more from their produce.

The last two and a half years have been a learning curve for us and we know there’s still a lot more to do. We also know it’s important to share what we've learnt on the ground so far and to pass on our knowledge to other organisations and people around the world. Together we can make a bigger difference.

To find out more about our campaign and work on the ground in Acre, please visit sky.com/rainforestrescue.

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