The Sky Rainforest Rescue project, which involved a range of zero-deforestation initiatives and themed TV programmes, raised just over £5m from Sky customers, with a further £4m in match-funding from Sky.

The funds will support conservation projects in Brazil and other parts of the Amazon, where WWF is committed to ongoing work to protect the rainforest.

Sky says the partnership has given 7.3 million people “an increased understanding of climate change”, and the two organisations will continue to work in partnership to drive awareness of the issue.

Future generations

WWF-UK chief executive David Nussbaum said: “We’d like to thank Sky and their customers for joining us on this amazing six-year journey into the rainforest. Their generosity has made a real and lasting impact on the people and wildlife of the Amazon.

“Keeping the rainforest standing should matter to all of us, wherever we live. Globally, deforestation and forest degradation cause up to a fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions and are robbing future generations of rich, beautiful natural resources. By joining WWF’s conservation expertise with Sky’s vision and with the commitment of the Acre state government, we have found ways to help keep deforestation at bay in this fragile part of the Amazon.”

The partnership saw WWF and Sky work alongside the Acre state government to achieve a number of conservation successes, including helping to improve the market conditions and price for wild rubber – a more sustainable resource that can be harvested from the rainforest without harming trees.

The organisations also worked with over 1,500 farming families to give them ways of keeping their soil fertile as an alternative to exhausting the land and cutting down more trees for crops. A schools programme then raised awareness of environmental issues amongst the next generation of Acre farmers.

In the UK, more than a million people visited interactive rainforest installations set up by Sky; 80,000 primary school children took part in the awareness-raising I Love Amazon Schools programme, and Sky viewers were encouraged to make “forest-friendly changes” to their everyday lives.

Sustainability report

The ending of this partnership came in the same week that Sky released its 2015 sustainability report, which actually revealed that the company has fallen behind on many of its green goals – particularly emissions reductions and a transition to renewable energy.

Sky’s emissions reduction in gross CO2 emissions relative to revenue have dropped from 40% to 38% in the past year, putting the group further away from its 2020 target of 50%. Meanwhile, Sky’s buildings are now 5% more energy efficient than a 2012 baseline – a drop from 10% last year.  And the percentage of energy obtained from owned or controlled renewable energy at Sky-owned sites dropped from 7% in 2013/14 to 6% in 2014/15.

Sky puts the increase in emissions down to the continued development of its new west London campus, whilst still leasing old buildings. The company also says it is now exploring ways to further complement its existing on-site solar, wind, biomass and combined cooling and heating plant energy generation.

Luke Nicholls

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