Does TV hold the key vision on climate change?

Sky is urging more broadcasters to work together to change public behaviours and tackle climate change

Net Hero Podcast

Almost 80% of Europeans support the idea of television broadcasters using their content and advertising to encourage more people tackle climate change.

That’s the key finding of a new report by Sky and the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), which also found that 70% of consumers across six European countries are willing to change their behaviour.

Sky is calling for a new era of collaboration between broadcasters and claims that behaviour changes surrounding climate can be driven by the TV industry.

The report has been launched by Sky at COP26, with Chief Executive Dana Strong commenting: “Through the content that we bring into our customers’ homes we believe broadcasters have a clear role and responsibility to encourage lifestyle changes that address the climate crisis.

“We’re publishing these research results in full as an open tool for content creators and broadcasters. This means that for the first time we have empirical evidence demonstrating how the creative industries can work together to deliver the behaviour change required to meet our net zero ambitions.”

The report gathered the views of 3,500 people across Europe and found that although the public are willing to make these changes only 16% knew what they needed to do to act sustainably.

The study is urging broadcasters to do the following:

  • Address the low level of knowledge on sustainable action by putting ‘climate-friendly actions’ by real people at the forefront of TV content. According to the study, actions by real people are most likely to inspire audiences to change behaviours (41%), with activists (33%) and charities (32%) following.
  • Lifestyle changes from characters that viewers associate themselves with is also deemed to have an impact on the general public – providing an easy case study of how these changes can be made, whilst enjoying a favourite programme.
  • Encourage more positive environmental behaviours amongst children, as they will have the most long-lasting impact on climate change.
  • Avoid the creation of content that incites fear or feels preachy to TV audiences, as the study found this to be counter-productive to getting more people on side.

David Halpern, CEO of BIT, added: “Broadcasters like Sky have a unique role in fostering behaviour changes that are essential to tackle climate change.

“We hope this report will provide broadcasters with actionable and evidence-based insights on how they can do their bit to avert the climate crisis.”