BfG News Issue 18 - Expert View: Sustainability Key to Success in Leaner Times

18 Jan 2009|Added Value

Ben_StimsonEach month News invites an expert to give us their view on a topical issue.  Ben Stimson, Director of Reputation and Responsibility, at BSkyB shares their long-term goals on tackling climate change.

“The last few years have witnessed companies of all sizes invest in environmental initiatives. Now, as the credit crunch bites, many companies are choosing to put green agendas on the backburner.

While the short-term pressures on business cannot be discounted, I would urge businesses not to lose an eye for the long-term. Customers are increasingly placing spend with companies they can trust. Taking action on the issues that count – and that undeniably includes climate change – is, we believe, a critical ingredient for sustainable business success.

Price is still only part of the picture, albeit a crucial one. Our recent research shows that consumers still want action on climate change and that they feel a stronger affiliation to brands that act on the issues they care about. 

By putting the long term challenge of climate change out of sight and out of mind, companies could be missing a trick. Those that take a lead now will reap the benefits.  Those that don’t will get left behind.

Our goal is to put sustainability at the heart of our brand. We’ve been taking action on climate change since 2004 and, despite hitting the ripe old age of 20 on 5th February, we’ve no intention of slowing down. It’s just part of how we do business now. 

2009 will be a crucial year with the Copenhagen Climate Change conference offering an important platform for global agreement after 2012.  At Sky, our priorities are a bit more modest: we’ll be developing Europe’s most sustainable broadcast facility, reducing the environmental impact of our television productions and rolling out green innovations that save our customers money and reduce their footprint.

Our new broadcast facility is set to enter service in 2011 as the new home of Sky Sports.  It will have natural ventilation chimneys that draw in fresh air and expel waste heat, reducing the building’s energy use by 7.5%.  Subject to further planning permission, two wind turbines will provide 90% of the energy needed for office lighting and an onsite renewable energy plant will reduce the building’s footprint by at least 20%.

This is an exciting future development for us, but it’s not stopping us from making changes today.  We’ve just set up a Sustainability Action Group with our production partners to green our programming and have already reduced the energy consumption of the new series of Gladiators by 35%.

We’ll also be saving customers 90,000 thousand tonnes of CO2 – twice Sky’s direct footprint – and £90 million pounds a year on their energy bills with our new 24/7 auto standby for set top boxes.  Small actions multiplied many times do make a significant difference.

We want to benefit the planet for all of us, and for future generations.  And at the same time we see taking action on climate change as an integral part of our commercial strategy – driving customer loyalty and by making our business as efficient as possible. “

Ben Stimson
Director of Reputation and Responsibility, BSkyB

For more information about Sky’s environment initiatives, visit: www.jointhebiggerpicture.com

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