EXCLUSIVE: Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch will tell Edinburgh TV Festival that broadcasters should work together to better communicate environmental issues through the critical decade ahead
Broadcasters should be more willing to use their voice and creative abilities to raise awareness of the climate crisis and tackle the environmental challenges that will "define our generation".
That is the stark message that will be delivered by Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch in an appearance later today at the influential Edinburgh TV Festival.
Darroch will appear in conversation with Wendy Darke, the former head of the BBC Natural History Unit and CEO of natural history production company True to Nature CEO, in a pre-recorded programme that is set to be broadcast this afternoon as part of this year's virtual festival.
The pair will explore the role that broadcasters can play in shaping the conversation around climate change, as the world gears up to drive progress towards its net-zero goals through the critical next decade.
Darroch will discuss both Sky's pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2030 and the wider role broadcasters and media companies have to play in driving climate action.
"When all is said and done, the battle for the environmental health of the planet is the thing that's going to define our generation," he will say. "The environmental imperative is not going away. Covid-19 is a real reminder to us all of the outcome of what can happen when the infrastructure of the planet gets out of balance and things go wrong."
He will also stress that Sky is already realising benefits to the business as a result of its net zero target. "By 2030 we're going to be net carbon zero and eventually, hopefully, we're going to be carbon positive," he will say. "You can mine success all the way along that journey, so it's not a case of you have to wait 10 years and say, right we've done it… along that journey there's incremental improvements that you can tap into and build upon."
And he will highlight the company's willingness to work with partners and competitors to reduce emissions cross the industry. "I would love us to have an open, group mindset," he will say. "Anything we have done at Sky, if it's helpful or relevant, is there for others to mine, to use, to learn from. Particularly for smaller businesses who perhaps don't have the resource that we have; if we can help then we would like to do that."
Sky has taken a proactive stance on climate issues in recent years. As well as pledging to reach net zero emissions by 2030, its Sky Originals package was recently certified carbon neutral, and the firm is working to encourage other firms to make net zero pledges of their own via its GoZero campaign.
The firm is also building a new studio complex which will eschew any fossil fuels in its day-to-day operations and have the capacity to meet 20 per cent of its energy needs via on-site solar power. Construction of Sky Studios Elstree is expected to be complete in 2022.
However, Darroch will stress that it is broadcasters' unique reach and influence that means they have a particularly critical role to play in the net zero transition.
"We've got to use our voice," he will say. "We've got to be willing to speak. Whether that's on screen, whether that's in great content, or whether that's at events like this… more than anything else the power of storytelling, of content and of voice - that's our greatest asset.
"If we [businesses] can be seen to work together towards a common goal as opposed to an individual goal I think that's a very, very powerful thought for people… We can be in it for a greater good and actually we can compete but we can work together at the same time."
Darroch is also set to appear at the Net Zero Festival next month as part of a conversation with WWF CEO Tanya Steele and Environment Minister Lord Goldsmith on how businesses, civil society, and governments can work together to tackle the nature and climate crises.
The world's first Net Zero Festival will take place over three days from September 30th. You can register to attend here.
Former Energy and Climate Change Secretary secures victory in Liberal Democrat leadership election, as he promises to continue to prioritise climate action
Number of smart meters operating in Britain by end of June 2020 almost unchanged from March due to Covid-19 safety restrictions, new figures confirm
The collaboration aims to provide financial actors with the information they need to allocate more resources towards sustainable business
New project will see carbon capture pioneer Climeworks work with Carbfix and ON Power to remove 4,000 tons of CO2 a year from the atmosphere