Sky Ocean Rescue

In January 2017 we launched Sky Ocean Rescue, to help stop our oceans from drowning in plastic. Leading by example, we have committed to removing all single-use plastic from our business and supply chain by 2020, using our voice to inspire action, working with WWF to make our oceans more resilient and investing £25 million on innovative solutions to plastic use through Sky Ocean Ventures.

We are working beyond our business to accelerate change on single-use plastic and publishing our lessons to help others change too. Read the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership business change case study on Sky to find out how we set our organisation up for success in acting on single-use plastic, and download our Business Transformation Guide to learn how to identify and eliminate single-use plastic in your business. Defining what we mean by single-use plastic was a key starting point: our single-use plastic policy explains which plastics we're talking about.

Strong partnerships are vital to Sky Ocean Rescue, and we have shared lessons and learnt from others by convening the mobile industry and sports bodies to inspire further action. Read more under ‘Collaborating for Change’ below.

Sky Ocean Rescue has engaged over 33.5m people across our core markets, UK and Ireland, Italy and Germany to date.  Within our business we have removed plastic packaging from all new products, and around 72,500 plastic straws, 500,000 plastic water bottles and 7 million coffee cups from our daily operations to date. We expect to remove all single-use plastic from our front of house catering operations by the end of 2018, saving 122.5 tonnes of plastic.

Learn more about our Sky Ocean Rescue’s targets and impact in our Bigger Picture Impact Report 2018.

Collaborating for change

Sky can have a much greater impact by working together with our suppliers, partners and customers to make a difference, so we look beyond our own operations.

Our Sky Ocean Rescue campaign takes a systemic approach, working with stakeholders across society to tackle the scourge of single-use plastics.  Our Sky and National Geographic-funded Ocean Rescue Scholars, and Sky Ocean Ventures fund support research and innovation on solutions and alternatives to single-use plastics. This year we partnered with Future plc to deliver the first single-use plastic free Mobile Industry Awards ceremony and invite the mobile industry to work together to drive the use of ‘single-use’ plastic out of products packaging, supply and operations. 

Read more about our Sky Ocean Rescue partnerships

We continue to work with a number of groups supporting the call for a productive, efficient and low carbon economy. Among these are the Prince of Wales’ Corporate Leaders Group and the Aldersgate Group. Our work to combat climate change has been recognised by leading indices, including the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and Newsweek Green Rankings.

Reducing our emissions

Our Responsible Business Sky strategy ensures that we consider the environment in everything we do. We’ve focused our attention on our energy, travel, waste and water, working in the UK & Ireland towards nine ambitious targets for 2020. We have already achieved a 55% reduction in our carbon intensity and now send 0% of waste from Sky owned sites to landfill. This year we are pleased to have also met our target to improve our fuel efficiency across our fleet, meaning we have met six of our ten UK & Ireland Environmental targets ahead of time. We are now setting our path towards net zero carbon by 2050 across our value chain.

We have increased our energy efficiency through infrastructure updates, such as replacing the main generators at our Osterley campus in the UK. In addition to the existing heat recovery systems in our Milan and Rome offices, we have introduced a Trigeneration plant, which enables us to use some of the heat we produce to generate chilled water for air conditioning or refrigeration. The plant will help us cut an estimated 2,300 tons of CO2 every year as well as improving our production efficiency of electricity and heat.

We're conducting ongoing reviews of fleet engine efficiency, training workshops on effective driving and have been installing 'black boxes' into Sky’s fleet vehicles to better understand further ways we can reduce emissions. We are exploring diesel and petrol alternatives such as hybrid, electric and other alternative vehicles for our engineer van, company car and third party taxi fleets, including a pilot for London-based work. We are also members of the London Business Climate Leaders Group, through which we’ve committed to working with the London Mayor towards a zero carbon London, by implementing new circular economy initiatives and piloting alternative fuel vehicles.

We have been continually improving our use of renewable energy both on-site and through our supply chain, actively encouraging our suppliers to invest in and use more renewable energy. We’re one of the leading members of the Carbon Disclosure Project’s (CDP) Supply Chain program, and this year encouraged a further 10 of our suppliers to integrate climate change into their strategies, raising the total to 60 suppliers we actively engage with on the issue. After several months of collaboration, Zinwell, one of our manufacturing partners in China, has installed large-scale solar panels at their site in Shenzhen, China. The first of their kind in the district, they will produce 1.4 megawatts a year providing around 50% of the electricity Zinwell use to make Sky products. Two further suppliers of ours in China, WNC and Picotronics, are now also making moves to implement renewable energy and energy efficiency measures on their sites.

Read more about our environmental performance in our Bigger Picture Impact Report.

Sustainable products

In line with our Sky Ocean Rescue targets to we’ve been innovating our products and their packaging to remove all single-use plastic. We started in October 2017, with the NOW TV Smart Stick and launch of Sky Soundbox and then the Sky Q set-top box. We have replaced the traditional plastic seals and bags with natural adhesives, cork pads and a layered cardboard structure, all to help protect the product in an environmentally friendly way.

We’ve looked at non-boxed items too: our Now TV pre-paid cards, anti-theft device and Sky magazine are also free of plastic-wrapping. We expect all our products to be completely single-use plastic free by the end of 2018.

This has helped us, and our customers, to increase our recycling rates and spread further awareness of plastic waste pollution. As we move to embed circular economy into our operations we’re making design improvements that allow us to refurbish more products, including the ability to replace parts without dismantling set-top boxes. We also work to reduce the amount of energy consumption of our products using life-cycle assessments (LCA's) to inform this. Customers are able to return their used products, such as Sky Q, which we’ll either refurbish or recycle thus ensuring maximum lifespan of our products. 

We also encourage climate action with our suppliers. We’re part of the Carbon Disclosure Project’s (CDP) Supply Chain and currently 40 of our top 50 suppliers have integrated climate change initiatives into their strategies. We continue to be on the CDP Supplier Engagement leaderboard. Two of our key manufacturing partners in China, have installed large-scale solar panels at their sites.

Click here to find out how to return your Sky products.

Sustainable production

We’ve been working with our production companies and partners to measure the environmental footprint of the programmes they make.

In the UK and Ireland, we’re working to increase the awareness of environmental issues within the production industry through BAFTA’s Sustainability Working Group. We’ve fully embedded BAFTA’s industry tool, albert+, within our commissioning process, using it to measure carbon emissions and for all of our externally commissioned programmes and then set genre-specific targets.

We’re also committed to tackling all single-use plastics in production, as across the rest of our business. We are leading on industry-wide approach, plus driving change and innovation across our own programmes in studios, on location, outside sports and new broadcasts and our Sky Store. We have already removed water bottles (saving of 90k bottles/year), disposal coffee cups, plastic cutlery and polystyrene at our Host Broadcasts. Sky Sports are also working with governing bodies to improve the sustainability of events we broadcast from but do not host ourselves.