Examples of support for businesses and innovators include plastic packaging alternatives, new tech for the home that will help assist recycling, alternative coffee cups, plastic bottles, plastic bags and fibres for clothing, as well as technologies that foster a virtuous recycling circle between consumers, retailers and local authorities.
Sky, who with the support of other busineses aim to increase the fund to £100m, claim it will bring its deep consumer knowledge and entrepreneurial experience to Sky Ocean Ventures to support these initiatives and to create meaningful change.
Alongside Sky Ocean Ventures, Sky is also launching Innovators in Residence, an incubator project that will offer businesses the opportunity to pilot and test their products at Sky's London campus. This will enable businesses to gain insight on consumer responses and the practicality of their products in live environments while also receiving mentoring and drawing upon the expertise of Sky's teams.
The first residency will be Skipping Rocks Lab, a start-up who are pioneering the use of natural materials extracted from plants and seaweed to replace traditional plastic packaging. The first products will include juices and water contained in biodegradable seaweed orbs as well as solutions for sauces and condiments.
Jeremy Darroch, Sky's Group Chief Executive said: "We think it's time businesses stop dumping harmful plastic in to the sea and instead start pumping more money into innovation. Sky Ocean Ventures is a bold new creation that will support breakthrough thinking and invest in promising new ideas that will help turn off the plastics tap. We look forward to working with other like-minded organisations who can help us find and support innovators who are developing products, materials and business models that will create meaningful change."
Environment Secretary, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP said: "Through its Ocean Rescue campaign Sky has helped to shine a spotlight on the devastating impact plastic is having on our oceans and marine life. I am determined to take action to tackle this blight, but when it comes to protecting our natural world, everyone has a role to play. I look forward to seeing how innovation and creativity can help to turn the tide on plastic waste."
Lise Honsinger, Chief Financial Officer, Skipping Rocks Lab said: "We are really excited to be working with Sky and to have the opportunity to test our products in their West London campus. Their forward thinking agenda on reducing plastic waste makes them a natural partner for an innovator likes us."
Sky is transforming its own business to be free from single-use plastics, being the first FTSE 100 company to commit to being free from single-use plastics by 2020. This means that 1,000 tonnes of plastic will be removed from its supply chain and operation – the equivalent of seven blue whales. Its commitment means the recently launched Sky Soundbox and NOW TV Smart Stick packaging are already free from single-use plastics, with all Sky branded products to be single-use plastic free by the end of 2018.
The company's launch of Sky Ocean Ventures coincided with the UK Government announcing it would introduce a deposit return scheme for single-use bottles, subject to consultation. There are over 150 million tons of plastic in the world's oceans, and every year one million birds and over 100,000 sea mammals die from eating plastic or getting tangled in waste. By 2050, it is predicted that the total amount of plastic in the oceans will weigh more than the total amount of fish.