Sky partners with Oval cricket ground to raise awareness of ocean plastic pollution

Broadcasting company Sky is taking its Ocean Rescue sustainability campaign to the world of cricket by forming a partnership with the Kia Oval stadium, which will see refillable water bottles handed out to fans during England's match against South Africa this week.

Throughout the five-day Test match, which begins today (27 July), 20,000 limited-edition re-usable bottles will be given out at the London ground, and fans will be encouraged to use 20 free water points which have been installed throughout the venue.

On TV, Sky’s newly-launched Sky Sports Cricket channel will dedicate parts of its Test match coverage to highlighting the impact plastic is having on the world’s oceans, including some shocking stats and statistics: in the time it takes to bowl one over, the equivalent of four rubbish trucks’ worth of plastic will be dumped in the ocean, for example. 

Meanwhile, Sky News reports will be played at intervals during the test match to further break down the issue, and viewers will be challenged to reduce use of single-use plastics in the home.

Plastic-free fans

Sky chief executive Jeremy Darroch said: “The dire health of our oceans is such an important issue, and one that needs to be urgently addressed. At Sky, we want to use our voice and the potential of our reach to inspire people to take action to protect our planet by bringing to life our amazing ocean for millions of people across Europe, and discussing the solutions.

“We’re delighted to be working with the Kia Oval on an issue which sits at the heart of our Sky Ocean Rescue campaign and support them on their journey to becoming a plastic-free venue. This is also a great opportunity to drive home the issues with sports fans and underline the actions that can easily be undertaken to reduce our impact on the ocean.”

England cricketers Joe Root, Moeen Ali and Stuart Broad are among those who are backing the initiative, which aims to raise awareness about ocean health. Broad told the Sky Ocean Rescue campaign: “By 2050, there’s a chance that there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish, which is really scary for our world, isn’t it?

“It’s one of those things that we need to start making a change now and this is an amazing initiative. Sports grounds do waste a lot of plastic and as something for the Kia Oval to be able to get involved with is wonderful.”

Information to raise awareness of the issues of ocean plastic will be posted throughout the Kia Oval for the England v South Africa match, which is the 100th Test to be played at the venue.

Meanwhile, a Sky Ocean Rescue mobile studio has been set up at the ground, allowing fans to commit their own recorded pledge to become an #OceanHero, which will be broadcast on social media.

Kia Oval chief executive Richard Gould said: “We’re very proud to announce the work we are doing with Sky Ocean Rescue, as part of our aim to make the Kia Oval a plastic-free sporting venue.

“During the course of the 100th Test, we’re challenging our ticket holders to make simple behavioural changes that will have a dramatic impact on ocean health. We hope by raising the issues with cricket fans we can work together to reduce the use of single-use plastics within our grounds.” 

CSR campaigns

Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign was launched in January alongside a 45-minute documentary which was aired across the company’s TV channels and has received almost 25,000 views on YouTube. 

Under the campaign, the firm has used its Sky News outlet to put the spotlight on important ocean plastic waste reports published by the likes of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, while tips and advice for consumers have been continually broadcast on dedicated Ocean Rescue Twitter and Facebook accounts. 

Celebrities have also been enlisted in the Ocean Rescue campaign to create more personal and persuasive reasons to change behaviours around plastic waste, while Sky has itself agreed to an in-house crackdown on single-use plastic bags and bottles.

Sky Ocean Rescue follows on from the firm’s successful Rainforest Rescue campaign, which saw a range of zero-deforestation initiatives and themed TV programmes take place to raise more than £9m to keep a billion trees standing in the Amazon.

Luke Nicholls

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