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Now in its third consecutive year, the Sky Zero Footprint Fund fosters the power of TV advertising to tackle climate change through campaigns that drive sustainable behavior change.

This week, British broadcasting giant Sky announced the five winners of its award-winning Sky Zero Footprint Fund.

The Sky Zero Footprint Fund is a multi-award-winning, £2 million advertising fund designed to help brands accelerate and amplify initiatives that address climate change through more sustainable products and behaviors. Now in its third consecutive year, the Zero Footprint fund fosters the power of TV advertising to tackle climate change by supporting campaigns that drive behavior change for a more sustainable world. Sky believes it has a role to play in helping tackle the climate crisis and established the Fund as part of its Sky Zero campaign to be net-zero carbon by 2030.

Open to media agencies, creative agencies and brands in the UK and Ireland, the fund attracts a highly competitive pool of entries — with many businesses creating game-changing products, services and campaigns to drive more sustainable consumer choices.

So far, the fund has won British Media Awards' 2022 Best Sustainability Initiative, Ad Net Zero’s 2022 Media Award and the 2023 Media Leader Sustainability Excellence Award.

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"It’s been an absolute honor to work on the Sky Zero Footprint Fund for the last two years; and I’ve been so inspired by the brilliant range of applications this year, too,” said Sarah Jones, Director of Planning at Sky Media. “The caliber of presentations we saw in the Footprint Fund Dragon’s Den was truly exceptional. Thanks to our fantastic judging panel who helped to select our winners — I can’t wait to see the ads from our final 5 in December and to see the impact they have when they launch their campaigns.”

This year’s winners

  • Grub Club — hypoallergenic, insect-based dog food

  • Milliways — plastic free, plant-powered and planet-friendly gum

  • Ocean Bottle — B Corp-certified reusable bottles that fund the collection of ocean plastic

  • OceanSaver® — ocean-safe cleaning products

  • UpCircle — natural skincare with upcycled ingredients.

“We are ecstatic to have made it into the final five brands in the Sky Zero Footprint Fund,” said UpCircle co-founder Anna Brightman. “With our total commitment to the circular economy, we’ve been pretty disruptive in the beauty industry since day one, setting a new standard — it’s an industry which sends 120 billion units of packaging to landfill per year, so a new standard is necessary! This opportunity could be pivotal for UpCircle, taking the next big step towards making a concept like ours more mainstream. It’s incredibly exciting to know that we now have the opportunity to show our innovative ingredient-rescuing concept on national TV; and we can’t wait to get started.”

On August 10th, a panel of industry experts — with credentials in advertising, creativity and sustainability — met and assessed live pitches from the shortlisted brands at the Thinkbox HQ in Holborn. Each brand was judged on the merits of its creativity (ability to capture the attention of the nation); impact (the potential to drive real, tangible behavioral change); and sustainable credibility (its authentic commitment as a business to tackle climate change). This year’s five winning brands were selected because of their pitch’s potential to inspire change — with each one demonstrating sustainable values that align to Sky’s own.

William Pearson, co-founder and co-CEO of Ocean Bottle, said: “We are thrilled to have been selected as one of the winners of the Sky Zero Footprint Fund. With Sky's full support, Ocean Bottle will be able to reach millions of people across the UK and fund the collection of over 100 million plastic bottles in weight and prevent them from entering the ocean in coastal communities around the world. We hope to help un-brainwash the nation from the single-use habits we have all become so accustomed to, save our pockets and the environment, and make some history in the process.”

Each of the winning businesses has been awarded £250,000 in media value. They will now move into ad production, ahead of a final stage of judging in December — which will see the most compelling creative securing an additional £750,000 (totalling £1 million) in media value.

All five winning ads will be produced using insights, tools and learnings from AdGreen. Part of the UK’s Advertising Association, AdGreen supports the ad industry shift towards net zero by eliminating the negative environmental impacts of production — part of a recent, growing industry push to rein in the actual carbon footprint of the creative process — including producing, filming, displaying and running adverts.

“Sky uses its platforms to engage audiences on climate change and encourage steps to reduce carbon emissions,” says Fiona Ball, Group Director of the Bigger Picture and Sustainability at Sky; and a judge for this year’s Zero Footprint Fund. “Over the last two years, the Sky Zero Footprint Fund has helped produce 10 exceptional adverts — propelling sustainable brands’ messages onto television to inspire wide, tangible behavioral change. Advertising can play a key role in raising awareness of climate issues and inspiring changes in daily habits, so we look forward to seeing the 2023 winners’ adverts on our TV channels.”