As Europe’s leading media and entertainment company and a headline sponsor at COP26, Sky understood the role it could and needed to play in rallying the wider content industry to act more sustainably, and align with Government’s broader ambition for the UK to be carbon net zero by 2050.
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Sky has already made significant commitments in the field of sustainability, including sourcing all its electricity from 100% renewable sources, committing all TV productions to net zero and rethinking its production values.
By actively considering the environment in production and on-screen content, Sky hopes it can create more change, more quickly, so as Principal Partner and Media Partner for COP26, Sky was eager to show up with new research and an evidence-backed call to action to take advantage of the enthusiasm around the climate conference to drive positive change.
The business objective was clear – use COP26 as an opportunity to set an example to and help educate the wider broadcast industry to act more sustainably.
To achieve this objective, we knew we had to base our call to action on undeniable and thought-provoking new research. We commissioned the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) to speak to consumers across six European countries to understand the willingness to decarbonise as a result of the content on their screen and the most effective ways of achieving this.
Sky x BIT interviewed over 3,500 participants in the six countries Sky operates in and was encouraged by the results that found 7 in 10 consumers are willing to change their behaviour and that TV has the power to encourage them to decarbonise with 1 in 3 having already changed their lifestyle as a result of the content they’d seen on TV.
The study found that 80% of people across Europe supported the idea of broadcasters using content and advertising to encourage people to adopt more environmentally positive behaviours and of those asked, 3 in 4 survey participants supported TV broadcasters ‘nudging’ viewers to think about the environment, whether that’s through documentaries, advertising or increasing the coverage of environmental issues in the news.
Rightly encouraged by these outcomes, Sky used this as a base and evidence for its call to action for broadcasters and the platform for its narrative at COP26.
As a result of the research and accompanying strategy, Sky hosted a high-profile panel event at COP26 chaired by Sky Presenter Kay Burley including Dana Strong, Sky’s Group Chief Executive, David Halpern, BIT’s CEO and Mark Strong, Actor and Executive Producer of Sky’s Temple, to discuss the role that on-screen content could play in decarbonising viewers’ lifestyles as well as the importance sustainable production has on a greener planet.
The report launch was covered as an exclusive in The Guardian alongside 15 pieces of trade coverage off the back of the release, including Broadcast Now, Energy Live News and Future Net Zero.
Since COP26, Sky has continued to honour its commitment by opening Sky Studios Elstree with its aim to be Europe’s most sustainable film and TV studio and donating £2 million to the Sky Zero Footprint Fund to support brands committed to a more sustainable future by helping to amplify their positive environmental messages using the power of TV and advertising. It also launched Sky Glass, the world’s first carbon neutral TV and only TV that comes in recyclable packaging, free from single-use plastic and, in addition, created Obki, a new show helping kids explore climate issues.
In January 2022, Sky Sports News received the albert certification for its carbon neutral status joining Sky Sports UK Host Broadcasts, Sky Original productions and Sky News who have already hit the highest standard of sustainability set by albert and awarded the same certification.
On the back of this research, Sky agreed with 12 of the UK’s biggest broadcasters to keep climate issues on the agenda across the full range of its content from hard-hitting news through to dramas, kids shows and more. At COP26, they all signed The Climate Content Pledge, convened by albert to use content that helps audience understand what tackling climate change might mean for them, as well as inspire and inform sustainable choices.