Sports broadcasters must be comfortable talking about climate change

The Sustainability Report

December 2, 2020

Sky Sports News presenter David Garrido reflects on the climate change training he’s undertaken, and stresses the importance of broadcasters keeping the issue alive in the minds of sports fans

Limiting the warming of the Earth’s atmosphere to 1.5°c. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But imagine it’s your body temperature. A rise like that could be the difference between you feeling fine and you feeling quite unwell.

This was one of the analogies that hit home during our Sky Sports News climate change training session. As a group, we went on to discuss the definitive proof of what is happening to our planet and why, and how devastating the impacts really are. 

It’s not like we haven’t been warned – data shows us that carbon emissions have been rising steeply for a long time. Now is the time to act not just stem the tide, because the world can’t wait.

Earlier this year Sky announced its ambition to be net-zero carbon by 2030, two decades ahead of government targets. Since then, Sky Sports has been analysing its impact on the industry and working hard to reduce our carbon footprint. At the start of the season, we announced that all of our Premier League and EFL fixtures would be albert certified and in Sky Sports News our favourite day of the year, Transfer Deadline Day, turned from yellow to green with its carbon neutral stamp of approval.

Though cutting the carbon emissions from our productions is crucial in achieving net-zero, we also know our responsibility to use our voice as a broadcaster that reaches millions every day. That’s why Sky Sports has provided all on-screen and behind-the-screens staff with the opportunity to take part in climate change training. It’s important that every member of the team feels comfortable reporting on the issue and communicating how and when it affects sport, like flooding in the UK washing out football, or how air pollution can decrease an athlete’s performance.

It’s encouraging that our attitude is also mirrored by others. Sports governing bodies, such as F1, are putting real strategies in place to achieve their sustainability goals, and those don’t just come from departments who take care of corporate social responsibility. Taking it one step further is vital – this isn’t just some CSR box-ticking exercise. 

Brands and organisations are increasingly aware that younger, more vocal and more connected generations will hold them to account on how they do their business. If we are to achieve net-zero as a country, businesses are going to have to work together and that includes the sports industry. 

Our industry has a powerful voice that is directly into customers’ homes around the things they love. We have a responsibility to get the word out and keep climate issues on the agenda. We can continue to remind people of the impacts of climate change on sport but we should also highlight the beacons: Héctor Bellerín becoming a shareholder in environmentally-exemplary club Forest Green Rovers is a fantastic story that Sky Sports News should be telling to the masses, and hopefully, more of these instances will emerge in months and years to come.

The Sky Sports News climate change training was one of the most impactful sessions I’ve been to at Sky. It’s made me not just consider the world we live in more closely but also double-down on making meaningful changes and living more sustainably.

Sky’s own efforts on Transfer Deadline Day made it very clear to me what simple changes we can make in our own lives to help heal this planet, such as cutting back on travel and switching to renewable energy. We all need to make those changes now before time runs out.

David Garrido is a Sky Sports News presenter with more than 20 years’ experience in British broadcasting

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