Sky Zero anniversary blogpost

Thursday 4 February 2021

Fifteen years ago, Sky became the world’s first carbon neutral media company and today, we’re marking one year since we set our ambition to be net zero carbon by 2030.

The events our world and society has faced in the past 12 months since we announced Sky Zero feel like they could have been spread across a lifetime. Yet we must stay focussed on tackling the critical threat posed by the climate emergency facing our planet. So, through this unprecedented time our progress towards net zero has not stalled, it has accelerated, culminating in our new role as a Principal Partner and Media Partner of the UN’s global climate summit in November.

Our Sky Zero strategy is the most ambitious environmental target we’ve ever set ourselves. It’s not going to be easy to transform our entire business in just a decade, but I believe that it’s only by setting bold and difficult targets that you gather the momentum required and galvanize your teams to act.

This is something I learnt first-hand back in 2017, when Sky pledged to remove all single-use plastics from our products and operations in just three years. Many questioned whether this could really be done, but despite the challenges we achieved it, and I’m proud of the passion that everyone at Sky showed in helping us reach that goal.

As a business, Sky helps to create jobs, opportunities and great products that improve people’s lives, and we get rewarded by customers and society for that. But we also consume a lot. Every person working for a business is consuming something from the planet as part of their work. So, even though we may only feel like a tiny part of the environment, it is important that we think about how we replenish as well as how we consume.

Transforming our business

Over the last 12 months we have embedded the Sky Zero strategy across the business, encouraging employees to make decisions through the lens of reducing our impact on the environment. Already, we’ve introduced over 150 plug-in hybrid electric vans to our engineering fleet and started building Sky Studios Elstree, which we want to be the world’s most environmentally friendly TV and film studios when it opens next year.

Our content teams have really embraced the challenge. Sky Sports are leading the way in sports broadcasting, with each of their host broadcasts set to an albert certified sustainable production in 2021. While Sky News have recently become a founding member of the albert news consortium, with the vision of setting standards for sustainability in an industry with complicated demands on reporting.

This year we’ve announced our biggest ever line-up of new and exclusive entertainment content and plans are in place to make sure every one of those is a net zero production in the future. We’ve also introduced a set of sustainable production principles and a Planet Test to make sure all our commissioning, production and editorial teams across Sky and Sky Studios actively consider the environment and champion sustainability on and off screen.

It’s vital that we have policies and procedures in place to guide our people toward responsible actions, but it’s important that we share these and our learnings outside of our own business, because it’s only through collaboration that we’ll achieve significant impact.

Using our voice for change

We’ve also seen the benefits of collaborating with partner organisations who can provide scientific knowledge that helps steer our effort. We have worked with WWF for several years on campaigns including Sky Rainforest Rescue which, in 2009 raised £9 million to keep one billion trees standing in the Amazon. Then again through Sky Ocean Rescue, which has inspired nearly 50 million people across Europe to stop using single-use plastics and is now searching for Ocean Heroes to call on the UK Government to protect our coastlines.

I’m extremely proud of the work we’ve done to protect and restore our oceans, because healthy seas and ecosystems are crucial for climate recovery. We know that our oceans have absorbed around a third of the carbon ever produced by humans, but they have reached their limit. We need a wave of action from business, governments and individuals to find solutions to the climate and nature crisis.

One way we can do that is through investment in nature-based solutions, such as our Seagrass restoration programme and by supporting emerging green and blue technologies as we have been since 2018 through our impact investment fund Sky Ocean Ventures.

COP26

How we bring about change and invest in positive solutions will be one of key discussion points at the UN’s forthcoming COP26 climate summit this November in Glasgow. Everyone at Sky can share in our pride that as a Principal Partner and Media Partner of COP26 we will all support the delivery of a successful and ambitious summit working alongside the UK Government. The summit provides a unique opportunity to bring business, governments and individuals together to develop coordinated action to tackle climate change. We want to be at the heart of it, using our voice and reach to empower our customers, partners and industry peers to make change because the time to make a difference is now.

Let’s continue to believe in a better world.

- Jeremy Darroch, Executive Chairman, Sky Group

Related news