Seeing the bigger picture

Acting responsibly and doing the right thing is vital to earning the trust of our customers and achieving long-term, sustainable success. As a media company reaching more than 10 million families, we have a unique opportunity to make a lasting contribution to the communities in which we live and work.

As well as striving to ensure that we always act responsibly in our day-to-day operations, we're taking action through our Bigger Picture programme in three areas that we know are important to our customers and where we can make a difference: helping to protect the environment; improving lives through sport; and bringing the arts to more people.

Protecting the environment

We're taking action to help tackle climate change by reducing our environmental impact across all our operations. And we have an opportunity to work with our 10 million customers to enable them to do the same.

In 2006, we became the world's first carbon neutral media company, and we've been working hard ever since to reduce our environmental impact further. In 2009, we set challenging targets to cut our carbon emissions by a further 25% and make our buildings 20% more energy efficient by 2020. We also plan to get 20% of our energy from renewable sources, which is something we're already doing at Sky Studios, our new broadcasting and production facility in West London that's the most sustainable of its kind in Europe.

We're looking to make an even bigger difference by working with our customers to prevent deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. In partnership with WWF and the State Government of Acre, Brazil, our Sky Rainforest Rescue campaign aims to help save a billion trees – an area roughly the same size as Belgium – and protect the region's rich natural diversity. The key to the project is the development of Sky Studios, Europe's most sustainable broadcasting facility incentives to keep the trees alive, helping local communities gain access to fair prices and new markets for sustainable products. Our fundraising appeal is already halfway towards the campaign target of £4 million. Customers have donated £1 million, which we've matched pound for pound.

We're also working to raise awareness and inspire customers to take action. In April, we showed a week of rainforest programming to inform viewers about the threats facing our planet and how we can all play our part to help protect it. One of those programmes was Sky 1 HD's Rooftop Rainforest, a specially commissioned documentary that saw a real-life rainforest constructed on top of the Westfield London shopping centre.

Also this year, we've launched the Sky Rainforest Rescue Schools Challenge to engage children in how to be more 'rainforest-friendly' and encourage them to get involved.

For more information about our environmental performance and targets, visit www.sky.com/thebiggerpicture.

Sky Studios, Europe’s most sustainable broadcasting facility

Sky Studios, Europe's most sustainable broadcasting facility

Sky Rainforest Rescue Schools Challenge

Sky Rainforest Rescue Schools Challenge

Rooftop Rainforest, Sky 1 HD

Rooftop Rainforest, Sky 1 HD

Improving lives through sport

Sport has always been at the heart of what we do at Sky. Our investment and coverage allows many sports to gain wider audiences and helps to fund sport at all levels. And we've teamed up with sporting bodies to encourage participation and to harness the power of sport to improve lives.

Now in its eighth year, the Sky Sports Living for Sport scheme aims to inspire young people to be the best they can be and to overcome hurdles at school such as a lack of confidence or engagement in education. This year, around 7,500 young people took part in the programme, which is run in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust and supported by ambassadors such as Olympic gold medallist Darren Campbell. Research has shown that young people taking part in the scheme achieved higher than average grades in English and Maths, while more than 80% of participants showed improved self-confidence and an improved attitude towards learning at school.

In cricket, our comprehensive coverage of the domestic and international game is helping to encourage more people to take part and we're also helping to ensure we have more coaches to meet the growing demand. Since its launch in 2006, the Sky Sports ECB Coach Education programme has trained more than 33,000 coaches, with 10,000 of them coming through in the past year.

Our five-year partnership with British Cycling aims to get a million more people cycling regularly through a combination of inspiration and increased opportunities to join in. To support continued success at the highest levels, we're providing funding across the breadth and depth of the GB team and helping new talent to shine. We've also created Team Sky, a professional road-racing team, with the aim of inspiring a new generation of cyclists to get involved. Alongside this, we're helping people back in the saddle through our series of mass participation Sky Ride events. Over the last year, we worked with 12 local authorities around Britain to open up their city centres for more than 200,000 people of all ages to enjoy a day of traffic-free cycling. Overall, we're making good progress towards our goal, with around 375,000 people becoming regular cyclists as a result of our initiative.

Over the next 18 months, we are further extending our support for sport by sponsoring a number of British and Irish athletes. We believe that our help can make a significant difference to their training programme and, also by following their stories on Sky Sports News HD and on skysports.com.

Sky Ride offers free events for all ages

Sky Ride offers free events for all ages

Sky Sports ECB Coach Education Programme

Sky Sports ECB Coach Education Programme

Sky Sports Living for Sport

Sky Sports Living for Sport

Bringing the Arts to more people

Millions of people are passionate about the arts. So, in addition to offering four Sky Arts channels dedicated to the best arts and culture from around the world, we are one of Britain's largest supporters of the arts, partnering with cultural organisations to help open up the arts to more people.

Since 2007, Sky Arts has been the broadcast sponsor of the Hay Festival, one of the world's leading literary festivals, and offers audiences at home the chance to enjoy some of the festival's best sessions. Building on the success of its special Hay editions, Sky Arts' Book Show went on the road last year to visit four more leading literary festivals in the UK and Ireland.

For the past two years, Sky Arts has supported Artichoke, the leading public art producer, to develop a series of projects that have delighted audiences around the country. Events this year included 'The Magical Menagerie', a giant carnival roundabout at the Milton Keynes International Festival, and 'Dining with Alice', a spectacular re-creation of the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

One of the biggest challenges in the arts world is securing funding to support new and innovative works of art. That's why, in April 2011, we launched Sky Arts Ignition, a new initiative that will seek to collaborate with six arts organisations over three years in the creation of brand new works. For each of the chosen projects, Sky Arts will provide a cash investment of up to £200,000 and work with the arts partners to bring their projects to a wider audience on-air, online and on the ground.

In addition, the Sky Arts Ignition: Futures Fund is designed to help young talent to bridge the development gap from school or college to becoming a working artist. The fund will support five individuals aged 18–30 with a mentor from Sky and a bursary of £30,000 each.

Dining with Alice, Sky Arts Artichoke series

Dining with Alice, Sky Arts Artichoke series

The Sky Arts Den at the Hay Festival

The Sky Arts Den at the Hay Festival

Rankin: Sky Arts Street Galleries

Rankin: Sky Arts Street Galleries

Actress Gemma Arterton visits the Sky Rainforest Rescue project in Acre, Brazil, to see the impact of deforestation

Actress Gemma Arterton visits the Sky Rainforest Rescue project in Acre, Brazil, to see the impact of deforestation