Sky CEO: TV Viewership Affects Climate Change

Sky CEO Dana Strong is asking broadcasters to work together to reduce carbon emissions across consumer households.

Speaking Nov. 1 at the United Nations’ 26th Climate Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, Strong said 70% of respondents of a Sky survey would be willing to change their behavior to address climate crisis, according to data from a joint study with Behavior Insights Team.

Using behavioral science techniques, Sky and BIT, in a report, identified ways broadcasters and content creators could help their viewers take action on reducing their carbon footprint.

Indeed, an estimated 4.3 billion people globally watch TV content on different devices for an average of 2 hours, 54 minutes a day, according to Sky.

The study found 80% of people across Europe support the idea of broadcasters using content and advertising to encourage people to adopt more environmentally positive habits. Of those asked, 75% support TV broadcasters encouraging viewers to think about the environment, whether that’s through documentaries, advertising or increasing the coverage of environmental issues in the news.

“At Sky we have set out our pathway to achieve net zero carbon, but we know this alone will not be enough,” Strong said.

The executive said broadcasters have a role and responsibility to encourage lifestyle changes that address the climate crisis. At the same time, many respondents said they are unsure how to make lifestyle changes to reduce their carbon impact. In fact, only 16% of respondents said they knew what to do to act sustainably, while just 20% said they know how to recycle or save energy at home.

“This means that for the first time we have empirical evidence demonstrating [the need that] creative industries work together to deliver the behavior change required to meet our net zero ambitions,” Strong said.

Strong’s comments are noteworthy because Comcast-owned Sky is Europe’s largest satellite TV operator with 23 millions subscribers. The media giant and its subsidiary also just launched a line of branded “Glass” HDTVs marketed as conduits to the internet and streaming video.

David Halpern, CEO of BIT, said people’s attitudes are significantly shaped by the media they consume. They also expect and encourage broadcasters to do more to educate and inspire viewers to do their bit for the environment.

“We hope this report will provide broadcasters with actionable and evidence-based insights on how they can do their bit to avert the climate crisis,” Halpern said.

Netflix Pledges to Combat Climate Change With New Initiative

Netflix will aim to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2022, and every year thereafter with a plan called Net Zero + Nature, according to a blog post.

“Scientists around the world agree we need to stabilize the climate at no more than a 1.5ºC temperature rise to avoid the worst results of climate change — and ensure healthy life support systems for our children,” wrote Emma Stewart, Ph.D. and Netflix sustainability officer.

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Netflix pledges to:

Step 1: Reduce its emissions by reducing internal emissions, aligning with the Paris Agreement’s goal to limit global warming to 1.5°C. The company will also reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 45% by 2030, based on the Science-Based Targets Initiative Guidance.

Step 2: Retain existing carbon storage. By the end of 2021, for emissions it can’t avoid internally, including Scope 3 emissions, it will fully neutralize them by investing in projects that prevent carbon from entering the atmosphere. Netflix will start by conserving at-risk natural areas like tropical forests that are critical to meeting global climate goals.

Step 3: Remove carbon from the atmosphere. By the end of 2022, Netflix will incorporate investment in the regeneration of critical natural ecosystems to achieve net zero. These projects, such as restoring grasslands, mangroves, and healthy soils, capture and store carbon, in addition to other benefits.

“Nature is at the heart of our commitment, as environmental leaders like Christiana Figueres tell us we can’t achieve climate goals without protecting and regenerating natural ecosystems,” she wrote. “This approach buys us time to decarbonize our economy, while restoring these life support systems.

“For example, the Lightning Creek Ranch project in Oregon shows our ‘Retain’ goal in practice — with our investment helping preserve North America’s largest bunchgrass prairie. In Kenya, we’re supporting the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project,  protecting the dryland forest that’s home to hundreds of endangered species and provides local residents alternative incomes to unsustainable activities like poaching.”