Sky will remove all single-use plastics from its operations, products and supply chain by 2020 in a major package of measures announced at the Our Ocean conference in Malta.
By the end of 2017 all products will be made without plastic that is used once and then thrown away. And the company will help its business partners and suppliers transform their operations.
The company will also invest £25m in an Ocean Rescue Innovation Fund to help start-ups and other businesses develop technology that eradicates single-use plastics and stops the material ending up in the sea.
:: To get involved in Sky Ocean Rescue, visit the campaign website here.
Jeremy Darroch, chief executive officer of Sky, will tell assembled leaders from more than 100 nations that the media group will use its voice to raise awareness on a critical environmental issue and influence others to act.
Speaking ahead of the conference, he said: “We care about the environment and believe we have a responsibility to act on issues that matter to our customers.
“Ten years ago, we were the first media company to become carbon neutral and looking to the next 10 years, we want to use our voice and our reach to have a positive effect on ocean health.”
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This is the fourth Our Ocean conference, hosted by the European Union.
Governments, businesses and environmental campaigners have made more than 200 commitments to preserve the marine environment.
Karmenu Vella, EU commissioner for the environment, maritime affairs and fisheries, told Sky News that businesses could benefit from sustainable use of the oceans, the so-called ‘blue economy’.
He said: “We want to involve the business sector, not to rectify mistakes that we all made but because there are these opportunities in the oceans. And the cleaner the oceans the bigger the opportunities.”
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The conference will focus on issues including marine pollution, sustainable fishing and climate change.
It will also attempt to increase the area of ocean covered by marine protected areas (MPA). Currently just 1% of the sea is fully protected from fishing or industrial use.
Sky will partner with WWF to safeguard MPAs around the coastlines of its major European territories – the UK and Ireland, Germany and Italy.
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Tanya Steele, WWF-UK chief executive, said: “Businesses, governments and individuals all have a role in reversing the shocking decline in the health of our oceans for our own wellbeing, as well as for future generations.
“I congratulate Sky on its bold ambitions to reduce stresses on our oceans, and look forward to supporting them in making a real difference to ocean health, for people and the planet.”
:: Sky is running a dedicated Sky Ocean Rescue ‘pop-up’ channel giving viewers the chance to watch live events and panels from the EU Our Ocean conference in Malta.
Watch Our Ocean Rescue channel in the UK (channel 566), Germany (channel 384), Italy (channel 505) and on Virgin (244). It is also available to view via the Sky News website and the Sky News YouTube channel.