Exclusive: Sky Studios’ Jane Millichip urges plastics and ‘corporate tat’ ban at markets

Jane Millichip

Sky Studios chief commercial officer Jane Millichip has urged the TV industry to rapidly improve its approach to the environment by banning “crap and pointless corporate gifts” and calling on event organisers to make markets and festivals carbon neutral and free from single-use plastics.

Millichip was speaking at yesterday’s Content Innovation Awards here in Cannes, where she picked up the Lifetime Achievement Award following the rapid expansion of Sky Vision, the distributor that was recently brought together with NBCUniversal Global Distribution.

She used her acceptance speech to draw attention to the ongoing effects of climate change and called out the TV industry for not doing enough, arguing that companies should ban the use of “crap and pointless corporate gifts” that added to environmental issues.

“We are not working collectively, and I believe we can, and need, to do more,” she said, highlighting that Sky became carbon neutral in 2006 and had slashed plastic consumption on its sites since 2017, using half a million fewer plastic bottles and 20 tonnes less of plastic cutlery in a year.

“Now, I’m not telling you this to gloat. Just think how much more we could do here in Cannes and other international markets. Imagine if Mipcom, Natpe, Realscreen, Content London and all other markets became truly carbon neutral and banned single-use plastics.

“The irony is not lost on me that we all took airplanes to get here. But as long as markets and festivals form an important part of our working world, we will continue to fly.

“If we work collectively, we can clean up our act. And it’s not that difficult. Sky Vision made considerable headway in achieving this goal at markets and festivals, simply by issuing staff with keep-cups and using compostable cups for clients.

“We got rid of those ridiculous individually wrapped candies on reception. We massively reduced our printed materials, and we banned crap and pointless corporate gifts. These measures seem trivial, they are kind of trivial. But their impact is profound.”

Millichip called on distributors, broadcasters and producers to work with event organisers to make changes such as providing more water-bottle refill stations and reusable cups.

“Talk to your stand designers about sustainable materials; issue staff with keep-cups and re-usable water bottles; and paper and printed materials.

“Ban the tat, the pointless and wasteful corporate give-aways. And stop the lanyards. Replace them with something more sustainable or re-use them,” she added.

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