We spoke to Fiona Ball, head of environment and engagement for BSkyB, to find out how she engages the company’s employees and customers on sustainability.
“I’ve been at BSkyB for seven years now and I’m still learning all the time, which is great”, says Fiona.
“Half of my role involves working with teams across the company to make sure we’re being as environmentally-friendly as possible – making sure our offices are as energy efficient as they can be and that we source and design sustainable products. The other half is all about engaging people on sustainability – both externally and internally.”
Giving employees a choice
There are three pillars to BSkyB’s internal sustainability engagement strategy, giving employees the chance to get involved in whatever interests them the most.
“Our Sky Arts programme gives employees the chance to explore the Arts through activities such as the Sky Choir or Sky Book Club, while our partnership with British Cycling encourages employees and customers to get involved in our ‘Sky Ride’ nationwide cycling events with the aim to get a million more people riding their bikes regularly", Fiona explains.
“In terms of the environment, we’ve partnered with WWF to develop ‘Sky Rainforest Rescue’ - a campaign to help save a billion trees in the Amazon rainforest. We've recently launched 'I Love Amazon Week' which is a free initiative that gives pupils aged seven to 11 the opportunity to explore the Amazon rainforest through a fantastic range of flexible curriculum based resources. In addition, as part of our volunteering programme, our employees get the opportunity to go into local schools and speak to children about the environment. It’s very hands on and the employees seem to really enjoy it.”
One of the current priorities for Fiona and her team is to encourage employees to recycle.
“Highlighting the importance of recycling is very important to us and we try to communicate messages about waste in an interesting way wherever possible”, says Fiona.
“In our canteen we have an artistic display made out of waste showing employees what can be recycled and what can’t. It’s very eye-catching and is much more interesting than the standard recycling notices, so people are more likely to remember it. We’ve also had actors coming in dressed as seagulls to talk about recycling and make the messages a bit more entertaining!
“Another thing we’ve done to reduce waste is to remove paper cups from our breakout areas where we have our drinks machines. Instead we’ve given every employee a KeepCup, which can be used again and again.”
As well as engaging employees around sustainability, Fiona’s role involves liaising with the product development team to enable Sky customers to be more energy efficient.
“Our current Sky boxes are 30% more energy efficient than the previous model and we’ve developed our set top box so that it now has a function to go onto auto-standby after two hours of inactivity”, says Fiona. “We're saving an estimated 90,000 tonnes of carbon through this new feature”.
“And, of course, this is also displayed in messaging on our packaging, which highlights the importance of switching the box off when it’s not in use and of recycling the box and other accessories including batteries used in the remote controls. Our engineers who fit the boxes explain this to customers too.”
Tips for engagement
So what are Fiona’s top tips for engaging people on sustainability?
“Probably the most important engagement tip I’ve learned over the years is to keep things simple. At the end of the day, people are busy and they probably won’t remember everything you tell them. So you need to try and work out the two or three key points that you want them to really take in.
“Keep it relevant for them as well– always help them see what it means for them. Even though company sustainability goals are important and employees should be aware of them, it’s more effective to show people how changing their behaviour will benefit them directly.
“Finally, keep it fresh. After a while people won’t notice old posters on the walls, so you need to update them regularly and think of new ways to keep them engaged.”