Sky floats Sky Ocean Ventures with £25 million to clear ocean plastics

Reimagine Ventures

UK payTV and entertainment giant, Sky said it has launched Sky Ocean Ventures to invest in startups wanting to clear ocean plastics.

Sky said in a statement that it will commit £25 million with the plan to quickly scale up to £100m with the support of other businesses, Sky Ocean Ventures will seek to find solutions to everyday plastic problems.

Sky Ocean Ventures is encouraging, among others, businesses and innovators who are developing plastic packaging alternatives, new tech for the home that will help assist recycling and those developing alternative fibres for clothing to share their ideas and seek support.

Ideas could include alternatives to coffee cups, plastic bottles and plastic bags as well as tech that foster a virtuous recycling circle between consumers, retailers and local authorities.

Sky will bring its deep consumer knowledge and entrepreneurial experience to Sky Ocean Ventures to support these initiatives and to create meaningful change.

Alongside Sky Ocean Ventures, Sky is also launching Innovators in Residence, an incubator project that will offer businesses the opportunity to pilot and test their products at Sky’s London campus. This will enable businesses to gain insight on consumer responses and the practicality of their products in live environments while also receiving mentoring and drawing upon the expertise of Sky’s teams.

The first residency will be Skipping Rocks Lab, a start-up who are pioneering the use of natural materials extracted from plants and seaweed to replace traditional plastic packaging. The first products will include juices and water contained in biodegradable seaweed orbs as well as solutions for sauces and condiments.

Jeremy Darroch, Sky’s Group Chief Executive said: “We think it’s time businesses stop dumping harmful plastic in to the sea and instead start pumping more money into innovation. Sky Ocean Ventures is a bold new creation that will support breakthrough thinking and invest in promising new ideas that will help turn off the plastics tap. We look forward to working with other like-minded organisations who can help us find and support innovators who are developing products, materials and business models that will create meaningful change.”

Environment Secretary, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP said: “Through its Ocean Rescue campaign Sky has helped to shine a spotlight on the devastating impact plastic is having on our oceans and marine life. I am determined to take action to tackle this blight, but when it comes to protecting our natural world, everyone has a role to play. I look forward to seeing how innovation and creativity can help to turn the tide on plastic waste.”

Lise Honsinger, Chief Financial Officer, Skipping Rocks Lab said: “We are really excited to be working with Sky and to have the opportunity to test our products in their West London campus. Their forward thinking agenda on reducing plastic waste makes them a natural partner for an innovator likes us.”

Sky will continue to inspire simple, everyday changes that will stop our oceans from drowning in plastic, leading by example transforming its own business to be free from single-use plastics.

Sky is the first FTSE 100 company to commit to being free from single-use plastics by 2020. This means that 1,000 tonnes of plastic will be removed from its supply chain and operation – the equivalent of seven blue whales. Its commitment means the recently launched Sky Soundbox and NOW TV Smart Stick packaging are already free from single-use plastics, with all Sky branded products to be single-use plastic free by the end of 2018.

Sky Ocean Rescue follows the successful Sky Rainforest Rescue campaign which, with the support of its customers, raised over £9m to help save one billion trees in the Amazon rainforest. Ten years ago, Sky became the world’s first carbon neutral media company and is currently listed in the top 8 of sustainable businesses in Newsweek’s Green Rankings, Silver Class in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and included within the FTSE4Good.