At Sky we believe that what we do makes a positive contribution to customers and to the wider community. We open up more choice in TV and we bring people the content they love. We innovate to make things better and we help millions to save money on broadband and calls. We create direct employment for over 16,500 people and our investments support development across the wider sports and creative industries.

But while we're proud of the benefits created by our day-to-day business, we understand how important it is to see the bigger picture. Acting responsibly and making a broader contribution is vital to earning the trust of customers and achieving long-term, sustainable success.

That is why we look to use our capabilities to make the biggest possible difference to the issues people care about. We see it as good business as well as being the right thing to do. It creates more reasons to join Sky and to stay with us, whether for customers or our own people.

For a long time now, we've been striving to act responsibly and do the right thing in the way we run our business. Beyond that, we're taking action in three key areas we know our customers care about and where we can make a big difference: helping to protect the environment and tackle climate change; encouraging participation in sport; and opening up the arts to more people.

We've already achieved a lot. Now, with a new range of bold and ambitious projects, we're going even further.

Protecting the environment

Ross Kemp by the Amazon

We've been taking action to minimise our own carbon footprint for the last five years, reducing business travel, using energy more efficiently and switching to renewable sources.

Building on that commitment, we announced a new set of challenging targets in October 2009, including a 25% gross reduction in CO2 emissions (tonnes/£m turnover) by 2020. Other targets include making our buildings 20% more energy efficient and getting 20% of our energy from on-site renewables.

Having taken action to address our own emissions, we have an opportunity as a media company to engage and inspire millions of people to take action themselves to tackle climate change. In October 2009, we joined forces with WWF and the State Government of Acre, Brazil, to launch our most ambitious environmental project yet. Sky Rainforest Rescue aims to help protect three million hectares of rainforest, an area roughly the size of Belgium that is home to around one billion trees and rich natural diversity.

The scheme aims to prevent deforestation by creating economic incentives to keep the trees alive. For example, we're helping local communities get fair prices and find new market opportunities for sustainable forest products like rubber. To support the project, we've launched a public fundraising appeal and have committed to match all donations up to the campaign target of £4 million.

We're promoting Sky Rainforest Rescue across our TV channels, websites and customer magazine. As part of a week of programmes focused on rainforests and the environment, Sky1 broadcast the acclaimed two-part documentary Ross Kemp: Battle for the Amazon. In April, the singer Lily Allen visited Acre to witness the impact of deforestation and raise awareness further through a series of media interviews.

For more information about our environmental performance and targets, visit www.sky.com/thebiggerpicture

Changing lives through sport

People riding bicycles

Sport is at the heart of what we do at Sky. Our investment has provided funding for all levels of sport as well as opening up unprecedented quality and choice of live coverage for customers.

Beyond the television screen, we recognise the power of sport to inspire positive change in people's lives and we want to play our part. For the last seven years we've worked with the Youth Sport Trust on the Sky Sports Living for Sport programme, which aims to inspire young people to be the best they can be. So far the programme has reached more than 25,000 young people in 1,000 schools, supported by mentors such as Olympic sprinter Darren Campbell.

In cricket, the Sky Sports ECB Coach Education programme has trained over 23,000 grassroots coaches, helping to make the sport more accessible. Alongside the increase in qualified coaches, figures from the ECB show that participation in cricket increased by 15% in calendar 2009.

Every year Sky Sports Living for Sport just gets bigger and better as more schools recognise how this simple initiative can help students address personal and academic challenges with life-lasting results.

Baroness Sue Campbell , CBE, Chair , Youth Sport Trust

We're now in the second year of our five-year partnership with British Cycling, which aims to get one million more people cycling regularly by 2013. Our approach works in two ways: first by supporting elite success to inspire a new generation of cyclists; and second by providing help and encouragement for everyone to join in.

This year, alongside continued support for the GB cycling team in all disciplines, our professional racing team has taken to the road in its first season of competition. With a mix of experienced riders and exciting young talent, Team Sky aims to build towards the goal of creating a British winner of the Tour de France within five years.

At the grassroots level, more than 100,000 people took part in our first season of mass-participation Sky Ride events across the UK. Even more look set to join in an expanded programme of 12 events in traffic-free city centres during the summer of 2010.

While this is a long-term programme, the early results are encouraging. Since July 2009, almost 300,000 people have begun to cycle more frequently in response to our initiative and almost a third of these people say they now cycle regularly as a result.

Bringing the arts to more people

mariella frostrup

We got involved in the arts because we saw that there was a passionate audience which was not being served adequately by television. Now with a portfolio of four dedicated arts channels, our ambition is to open up the arts to people not just on screen and online but on the stage and on the streets.

We are one of Britain's largest corporate supporters of the arts, partnering with cultural institutions and events such as English National Ballet and the Hay Festival. Our coverage opens up Hay to millions of people at home, offering the opportunity to watch a selection of the festival's best events as well as daily editions of Sky Arts' own Book Show.

As part of our effort to champion the arts across the UK and Ireland, over the past year we have partnered with 24 arts organisations to produce and broadcast 'behind the scenes' documentaries about their work. The initiative, known as 'Sky Arts At…', has involved organisations such as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the National Theatre of Scotland and the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, which have been able to share their work with a national audience on television and online at the Sky Arts website.

Now in its second year, our collaboration with Artichoke, the UK's leading public art producer, aims to bring unique art experiences to public spaces. Our first project together was Antony Gormley's One & Other, in which 2,400 people appeared for one hour each on Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth over a period of 100 days. The success of One & Other has been followed by other exciting projects with Artichoke, including the Lumiere festival of light in Durham. Around 75,000 people visited the city over the four days of the festival to see its historic landmarks transformed by light installations from almost 100 artists.

1 billion

We aim to help save 1 billion trees in partnership with WWF

4 years

Sky Arts has been the broadcast sponsor of the Hay Festival for four years

  • Coloured lights on a bridge
  • Someone standing on a plinth in Trafalgar Square
  • A young boy being shown how to hold a cricket bat
  • Jamie Redknapp standing behind some children

LUMIERE

Around 75,000 people visited the Lumiere festival of light in Durham.

ONE & OTHER

Sky Arts received a BAFTA nomination for its ground-breaking coverage of Antony Gormley's One & Other.

GRASSROOTS CRICKET

The Sky Sports ECB Coach Education programme has trained over 23,000 cricket coaches so far.

Youth Sport Trust

Sky Sports Living for Sport reached its 1,000th school this year.