Sky+ HD Box Environment Factsheet

Sustainable products approach

At Sky we set out to make our products more sustainable by understanding where significant environmental impacts occur in our products and address these by making interventions in the product life cycle.

The core elements of Sky’s Better Products Programme include:

  • Using Life Cycle Assessment techniques to understand the environmental sustainability, including Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, across the life cycle of our products from cradle to grave.
  • Developing tools and training to embed ecodesign and enable decision making based on environmental sustainability across the entire product life cycle.

Life cycle assessment findings

The carbon footprint of a Sky+HD Box over its ten year lifetime amounts to a one-way flight from London to New York. We have designed the product for a technical life of ten years to promote durability and reuse, and this lifetime has been used in the life cycle assessment.

Below is the breakdown of GHG emissions for the Sky+HD Box by life cycle stage. The electricity consumed in the use phase accounts for the majority of GHG emissions across the product life cycle and we are continuously working to reduce the electricity consumption of our products. Of the remaining life cycles stages, we have identified that the next biggest source of GHG emissions lies with the manufacture of components and associated supply chains.

Sky+HD Box GHG emissions contribution to overall footprint breakdown

product cycle table 1

Sky+HD Box GHG emissions components contribution 5.5% of the overall footprint

product cycle table 2

  • 1 Product DesignShow section

    Decisions made in the design phase have a knock on effect on every other stage of the products life. This is why we design our set top boxes in-house and empower our design teams to embed sustainability in all parts of the design process. Key initiatives to enable this include running regular sustainable design workshops and developing a Sustainable Product Design Toolkit.
    Here are some examples of how sustainable design has improved the environmental performance of Sky products:

    • We have increased the reliability of our set top boxes and increased their technical life by enabling remote fixes and updates.
    • The box has been designed for disassembly to ensure we can fully reuse or recycle it as efficiently as possible.
    • The Sky+HD Box has gone through a number of design improvements since its initial release, resulting in materials and electricity consumption improvements.
      – Version 1, launched in February 2010, introduced a smaller design and the eco-mode function, dramatically reducing the electricity requirements of the product.
      – Version 2, launched in August 2013, automatically entered eco-mode overnight. It also included built in Wi-Fi which meant less devices needed in the home for the same service on the market and therefore lower environmental impact of Sky services
      – Version 3, launched in August 2014, further optimised the design, resulting in lower electricity consumption, reduced material use and lighter product weight.
  • 2 Components Show section

    This is our second biggest impact area in terms of GHG emissions (5.5% of the overall footprint). Our designers work to optimise the components used in our products by consolidating components, considering the environmental impact of different component options and understanding the supply chain through which they’re manufactured.

    Here are some examples of how we have considered sustainability when selecting components:

    • The Sky+HD Box is smaller in size than its predecessor, which has reduce the GHG emissions from manufacturing the plastic casing, and has a knock on effect reducing packaging and improving the efficiency of logistics and distribution.
    • We have reviewed existing materials and where possible have light-weighted metal and plastic components.
    • We swapped the standby LEDs to lower energy options.
    • We reduced the length and thickness of the power cables without compromising product performance

      The chart below shows the weight distribution of the Sky+HD Box.

      Bigger picture table 5

  • 3 ManufactureShow section

    We collaborate with our manufacturers to improve the environmental performance of Sky products and their own operations:

    • Our key suppliers adhere to international Environment and Health and Safety standards and we encourage them to reduce their carbon footprint through the CDP Supply Chain Program.
    • Our supplier audit programme provides information about environmental compliance and best practise and supports our manufacturers and supply chains to improve their environmental performance. We have signed up to Sedex to empower sustainable and ethical supply chains and have published our own Responsible Sourcing Policy.
    • A practical example of what can be achieved in practise is that tools are designed wherever possible to reduce excess material usage from the moulding of plastic components and any unavoidable waste is reused as pre-consumer recyclate.
    • We work with our manufacturers to reduce the waste generated from the production of our products, reduce operating costs and lower their environmental impact.
  • 4 PackagingShow section

    Sky packaging has to be robust enough to protect products from being damaged, whilst also minimising the impact it has on the environment.

    • Packaging for the Sky+HD Box is made of corrugated cardboard which contains recycled content and is fully recyclable. We use unbleached paper and have stopped full colour printing
    • We carried out a full audit alongside WWF of every single paper and wood element in our physical products to establish their chain of custody.
    • Our engineers strive to leave zero waste in customer’s homes and where possible remove all packaging from installation to reuse or recycle
    • We replaced the 96 page printed user manual included with set top boxes with an online version, saving over 16 truckloads of paper a year.
  • 5 DistributionShow section

    We work to reduce the environmental impact of the transport and delivery of Sky products. We aim to increase fleet fuel efficiency by 15% by 2020 compared to the 2011/12 baseline. We have achieved this by:

    • Replacing 100% of Sky’s engineer vans more efficient models, 70% of those also being smaller.
    • Installing telematics in all of our fleet to plan trips efficiently and minimise emissions.
    • Undertaking detailed monitoring of fuel efficiency and training on efficient driving for our engineers.

  • 6 Customer useShow section

    The biggest contribution to the carbon footprint of the Sky+HD Box is the electricity consumed during use in customer’s homes.

    • We ensured appropriate manual and automatic standby and eco-modes were part of the design and have continued to improve their configuration over time to fit in with the way our customers use their set top box.
    • This meant that although Version 2 of the Sky+HD Box introduced built in Wi-Fi, we were still able to reduce the total energy consumption of the set top box by 20% compared to version 1 with the introduction of the automatic eco-mode savings.
    • Recently, we remotely updated all Sky+HD boxes to extend the overnight automatic eco-mode timing by 50%, further reducing the total energy consumption of the boxes.
  • 7 Reuse and recycleShow section

    When a Sky product is returned that contains a fault, our logistics partner undertakes an appraisal to identify the fault, repair and refurbish the product. Refurbished products are used as a replacement for faulty products, ensuring resources are not wasted. Where a product cannot be refurbished the useful components are salvaged then the product is broken down and recycled. Examples of our initiatives and achievements include:

    • 100% of products returned through our take back scheme are refurbished or recycled
    • We run a detailed ‘In Life’ programme to identify and track the causes of product returns including technical faults.
    • We run a range of initiatives working in partnership with engineers, customers and employees to increase the take back of Sky products once they are no longer needed.
    • We work very closely with our recycling and refurbishing partner to feedback their learning for our designers to continually improve and extend the life of the product.
  • ComplianceShow section

    We ensure that our products are compliant with national and EU regulation regarding product sustainability.  We stay abreast of any new legislation and provide training to teams across Sky.

  • LeadershipShow section

    As well as taking steps to reduce the electricity consumption of Sky products, Sky also plays a proactive role in a number of relevant industry bodies. Sky co-founded and currently chairs the European Voluntary Agreement to improve the energy efficiency of Pay Television (Complex) Set Top Boxes., and initiated, chairs and is lead author of the international eco design standard, IEEE 1680.6, for Pay Television Set Top Boxes.

  • RecognitionShow section
    We are proud of our products and have won awards for our sustainability initiatives, business partnerships and product designs including:

    • Highly Commended in the 2015 Business in the Community (BiTC) Sustainable Products and Services Award.
    • Winner of Best Business Partnership with Unipart Technology Logistics (UTL) in the 2015 National Recycling Awards. 
    • Product of the Year in the 2014 What Hi-Fi? Awards for our 2TB Sky+HD Box with built in Wi-Fi.