To meet our net-zero targets, we must make lasting and significant changes to our business

Last week's announcement from the Prime Minister marked a critical moment in the UK's journey towards achieving the country's net-zero target. Sky's chief executive outlines what this means for the business.

To meet our net-zero targets, we must make lasting and significant changes to our business

At Sky, we share the ambition and optimism of the government’s 10-point plan. If business, policymakers, and campaigners can work together, then this bold commitment could spur a truly integrated approach to the biggest challenge our world is facing. If it works, the government’s plan could benefit our planet and economy in a sustainable way, and if it doesn’t then the UK risks failing to succeed in the race to net-zero carbon.

It’s important that we analyse the details and scrutinise how this plan might support that urgent transformation, but we must resist just pointing out the problems. Governments aren’t going to solve this issue on their own. Business and civil society have an important role to play and should work with government, share our point of view and act positively to be part of the solution. Because the great strength of business is its ability to make things happen and adapt to change.

As a broadcaster, we recognise that our voice and reach offers a unique opportunity to inform and inspire people to reduce their carbon footprint. Every business has something unique to bring to the net-zero challenge, that we share.

As well as looking outside our business to deliver a net-zero future, it’s essential that we look inside it too. Earlier this year Sky committed to being net-zero carbon across our entire value chain by 2030. We’ve been carbon neutral from our own operations since 2006, but to reach net-zero across scopes 2 and 3, we will have to make lasting and significant changes to our business.

One of those is transforming our fleet of over 5,000 vehicles to zero emissions. This is no easy feat, like others in our sector, our commercial fleet has requirements on range and weight that the market and charging infrastructure currently can’t meet.

Today, we have announced a partnership with Ford Motor Company that will see 151 Ford Plug-In Hybrid Electric vans join our fleet. Each one will reduce emissions by 60% and will be assigned to low-mileage engineers to make them as efficient as possible. We know this isn’t a long-term solution, but this first step is part of our ten-year road map to reduce our emissions now, while we plan for 100% EV solutions.

With the deadline for the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles set at 2030, now is the time for businesses to talk openly about the fastest routes to transform their operations and infrastructure. If we don’t share these shortcuts and insights, then we hinder others from planning their own switch to accessible and affordable electric options.

As chair of Business in the Community, I’ve learnt that when business convenes to work towards a shared goal, the results can be remarkable. We’ve seen the world come together and implement extraordinary change in rapid time to fight the pandemic. If business, government and society apply that same mindset to the climate crisis, we can be confident that we’ll hit our net-zero targets.

As we close out a year that has impacted so many of us in so many ways, it’s important we look ahead with optimism. We must remain focused on what we can achieve in 2021 in the lead up to COP26 and we should do it with open arms, because success should have many authors and the more authors we have the greater we will achieve.

Sky at the Sustainability Leaders Forum

Sky’s Bigger Picture director Fiona Ball is speaking at edie’s Sustainability Leaders Forum. The chief executive of Anglian Water, Peter Simpson, and Minister for Business Energy and Clean Growth Kwasi Kwarteng are among the latest headline speakers that will feature at edie’s biggest event of the year – the Sustainability Leaders Forum – which takes place as a global, virtual event on 2-4 February 2021.

Ball will be discussing “climate advocacy and the net-zero transformation” and how individuals and businesses can become leaders in the battle to combat the climate crisis. It will also cover the business opportunities on the road to COP26 and how the Government’s Ten Point Plan can drive change.


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