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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)


14 February 2019 – A business change case study published by CISL today shows how Sky has taken action to remove single-use plastic from its business through its strategy, leadership, management and engagement.

Based on a review carried out by CISL during 2018, it highlights what Sky has done towards meeting its commitment to remove single-use plastic from its business by 2020 and the process for achieving this goal.

The aim was to capture Sky’s own ‘story of change’ and the key elements of the transformation. As one of the first companies to set such a commitment, Sky aims to inspire and encourage other businesses to take action through learning from how it is working towards meeting its commitment.

Eliot Whittington, Director of Policy, CISL, said:

“This is a story of business leadership on a complex sustainability challenge, precisely the kind of action we sought to inspire when we published our Rewiring the Economy plan in 2015. We hope that more businesses will follow Sky’s example and take action to address single-use plastic use in their business, and that the proposed approach will support them in implementing their own commitments.”

Fiona Ball, Group Head of Inspirational Business Group at Sky:

“We launched Sky Ocean Rescue to raise awareness about ocean health and encourage our staff, the public and other businesses to remove single-use plastic from their lives. As part of this we want to make sure we are meeting our commitment to remove single-use plastic in the best possible way, and if not, learn how to do it better. We will use the findings of this work to inform how we further transform our business and inspire other businesses to become single-use plastic free.”

Tony Juniper CBE, Executive Director for Advocacy and Campaigns, WWF-UK:

“We need to act now if we are to stop our oceans and the creatures that live in them from being suffocated by plastic pollution. Businesses can play a key role in reducing the volume of plastic we use, for example, through exploring alternatives to plastic packaging or, like Sky, bringing the issue to life for customers. I hope this case study from Sky will inspire other businesses to take action, and that government will use it to consider how they can encourage other businesses to move quickly in the same direction.”

An estimated 89 per cent of all plastic entering the ocean is from single-use plastic. These items are designed to make our lives more convenient. However, if they are not disposed of correctly through well-managed waste and recycling systems these items can enter the natural environment, where their durability means they can take many decades to break down, posing a potential hazard to human and animal health. Businesses play an essential role in helping society to address the challenge of single-use plastic by reducing the flow of this material into the economy, and where it is required, ensuring a circular approach is taken in design to aid its recovery.    

In October 2017, Sky was the first company to set a target to remove all single-use plastic from its operations, products and supply chain by 2020. In a year since making its commitment, Sky has already removed 60 per cent of the single-use plastic used by the business.

Download the case study.


Adele Williams, Director of Communications  

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