BSkyB takes CSR to board level

BSkyB has strengthened its commitment to CSR by appointing both its first board level member and a dedicated PR agency to take responsibility for the issue.

The broadcaster has given Random House Group CEO Gail Rebuck, already a non-executive board member, CSR responsibility.

The move follows the publication last August of BSkyB’s first CSR report. It is trying to boost uptake of its youth community initiatives, notably Reach for the Sky, which urges young people to participate in arts projects.

BSkyB has moved its CSR PR account out of Cohn & Wolfe, which will still work with the broadcaster on other projects, to Geronimo PR.

Senior communications manager Terri Hathaway said the hire of Geronimo was intended to improve promotion of its CSR work to

education professionals.

The agency has been hired for an initial three-month period, which Hathaway said could be extended depending on performance. The brief includes public affairs and media relations work.

Other projects Geronimo will promote include the Sky Plus Education programme, which aims to make the Sky Plus service available in schools for free. It is hoped this will be made available in 150 schools nationwide during the next seven months. Also being promoted is Living for Sport, encouraging sports participation, which launched last month.

In 2002 the Reach for the Sky initiative was among a number of CSR projects criticised in a report by think tank Demos, which found that many companies were investing more in the promotion of CSR projects than in the projects themselves (PRWeek, 2 August 2002).

Hathaway said: ‘That is not the case. All you have to do is talk to the young people who have been involved.’ She said 15,000 young people had so far taken part in the project.

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