Representing Sky and Swansea University

For the city of Glasgow, this November has an unusually vibrant atmosphere... On one side of the road there are protests organised by climate activists, while on the other side there are rows of police and security protecting the blue zone area, where world and business leaders, youth advocates, entrepreneurs, and United Nations representatives are debating climate change issues.

Whilst helicopters circle overhead doing their regular security checks, the weight of history in the making can be felt by those wandering the busy streets. There is a mixture of excitement, hope, anticipation and tension.

COP26 has brought together more than 30,000 delegates from over 180 countries to tackle the Global Challenge of climate change. People have come to exchange ideas, present their research and (we hope) make decisions which will halt irreversible environmental damage. 

Representing one of the Principal Partners

This week, we have had the opportunity to represent Sky, Swansea University and the Hillary Rodham Clinton Global Challenges programme at COP26. Sky is the sponsor of our Scholarship programme but also one of the Principal Partners and Media Partner of the Summit.

The Sky Zero stand is an immersive experience. The living walls and eco-archway provide a luscious haven. All plants and live materials are rented and sustainably sourced from a local nursery. The nursery water their plants at their HQ from a naturally sourced spring - they are a sustainable and carbon neutral company. The plants will be returned to the nursery once COP26 is finished, where they will be replanted and continue to grow.

the sky garden at COP 26

The Sky Zero stand is a place to pause, exhale and escape momentarily from the busy hallways of the Summit. The archway leads to the Sky Globe where guests are invited to make a pledge to reduce their personal emissions. Once they make their pledge, they get to take home a pack of sustainably sourced seeds. By cultivating plants we can absorb more carbon, and we can also protect carbon sinks (such as plants and forests). 

Committed to Reaching Net Zero by 2030

While working with the Sky team, we have had the opportunity to learn how Sky is combating climate change. Sky is committed to reaching net zero by 2030 across their entire value chain. This includes innovative solutions, for example, their new ‘Sky Glass’ TV which is the world’s first TV to be certified as a CarbonNeutral© product. Sky is working to produce less CO2 while absorbing more… From planting mangroves, trees and seagrass, to campaigning with WWF to restore, nurture and protect carbon sinks.

Sara at COP26
Felicity at COP26

Including Everyone from School Children to Young Entrepreneurs

The experience has allowed us to hear from a range of stakeholders who each have a role to play in this battle. This includes everyone from school children, to young entrepreneurs launching new platforms for advocacy, to UK energy providers who are changing their business models to ensure they reach net zero.

It has been great to be surrounded by people who are also passionate about driving change. We hope that this energy is reflected in the decisions made by the world leaders. It is not good enough to just talk about halting climate change - we need action.

On Tuesday the 2nd of November, 14 year old activist Vinisha Umashankar addressed world leaders at COP26. In her inspirational words... “We have every reason to be angry. But I have no time for anger. I want to act… Today I ask, with all due respect, that we stop talking and start doing.”