BBC some way off its green targets

BBC Breakfast studio Salford The Breakfast studio in Salford uses only LED lights

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The BBC is making some progress in its aims to become a more efficient, green organisation but it still has a long way to go. This is the bottom line of the latest Sustainability data, published this week as part of the BBC's review into its corporate responsibility performance.

The environmental targets the BBC set in 2007 were meant to be met next year, but these have been pushed back to 2016, in an acknowledgement that the corporation is still a long way from reaching them.

The report for the first time includes data from MediaCityUK and New Broadcasting House, which partly explains why the environmental targets were not sufficiently met this year.

The strategy is to focus on having fewer, more efficient buildings. TVC alone accounts for 25% of the BBC's carbon footprint and 40% of the water consumed. Other buildings that are less efficient are Bush House and White City.

Overall, energy use, water use, carbon emissions (greenhouse gasses) and transport emissions are down since 2007. Transport has seen the biggest drop, down 8% overall.

The BBC's Sustainability Committee has targeted travel emissions by introducing policies such as encouraging rail rather than air travel to mainland and Eurostar destinations. It has also invested in video conference facilities across the BBC. Over the last 12 months almost 7,800 video conferences have taken place.

There's also been investment to change fluorescent tubes to LED lights in Elstree and Media Village. Approximately 700 have been replaced so far and they use 30% less power and should last four times longer than standard fluorescent lighting.

But we are recycling less than we did in 2010/11, going from 55% of waste recycled to 51% this year. The BBC's target is to recycle 70% of waste by 2016. In the Media Village and Glasgow, this target has already been met, with about 70% of waste recycled in 2012.

Hattie Park, the BBC's environmental sustainability manager, says: 'We're further away from our targets than we'd like to be at the moment - but we are going in the right direction and we have lots of support from BBC staff.'

Leading the industry

The BBC is leading the industry with the Albert Consortium set up with Bafta. This collaboration of broadcasters and super-indies is driving sustainability best practice across the UK tv industry. (Other members of the partnership include IMG, Endemol, Shine, Sky, ITV, Kudos, Boundless and Channel 4.)

The studios at Roath Lock in Cardiff - which achieved a BREEAM outstanding rating - harvest rainwater and solar power, while the studios in Salford for BBC Breakfast and BBC Sport are 100% LED. Salford HQ and London's New Broadcasting House both received an excellent rating.

There are training courses, too, for technology staff that get them to think about ways they can better help the BBC bolster its green credentials.

A BBC spokesperson said: 'We are addressing technology power demands in several ways, for example through our plans to consolidate equipment when we move it from Television Centre, reducing the number of satellite dishes, ensuring energy efficiency is considered in procurement, and by making air flow and temperature adjustments in apparatus rooms to save power.'

However, it's clear that the BBC will not achieve miracles overnight. The latest Sustainability data shows that there needs to be some creative thinking and collaboration if these targets - now set for 2016 - are going to be achievable.

Visit The Difference website and join the conversation on the Yammer Environment group.

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