Corporate Responsibility Report 2010 is launched
It can sometimes feel like an anxious time when annual reports are looming - the trenches of stats and information, probing questions from verifiers! Essentially though, I think external reporting is a thoroughly useful process - both for ensuring we keep our house in order and also for being more open with our audiences. Reporting creates a useful (and public) milestone and a chance to reflect on the year's achievements - which are by no means small.
For me, one of the highlights of the year has been seeing the strength of the BBC's charity broadcast appeals - in spite of the current economic climate. Audiences have been incredibly generous. Both Children in Need and Sport Relief exceeded their previous fundraising totals, raising £39m and over £40m respectively - a fantastic achievement that will benefit people across the UK and abroad.
I've also been incredibly proud of the support BBC staff have given to outreach initiatives that
extend beyond their day jobs. School Report is just one example. It's a project that engages 11-14 year olds with BBC News - and one of the ways it achieves that is by drawing on the expertise of BBC journalists.
Staff provide mentoring support and help guide teachers, often including a visit to their matched school. In March, over 25,000 students from over 700 UK-wide schools took part in annual News Day by publishing their own reports, on news that matters to them. It's a fantastic moment in the BBC calendar and creates a truly unique opportunity for our young audiences to have their voices heard across BBC News.
Several of my team have been School Report mentors and they've got a great deal out of it. It's amazing how talking to young people about what you do can reconfirm the reasons you do it - not to mention developing communication skills - it's no small feat to hold the attention of a room full of 13 year olds!
Staff also get involved by volunteering with charity partners through the BBC Connect & Create scheme. Last year, an impressive 694 colleagues took part and I also continued providing mentoring support for the charity Tomorrow's People. Ten new national charity partners have now been selected and real effort has gone into ensuring these represent the diversity of our audiences - so staff can develop their understanding at the same time as developing specific skills. I look forward to seeing how these relationships grow over the year ahead.
Reporting on the BBC's environmental performance was another key focus for this year's Corporate Responsibility Report. We have continued to make progress towards reaching the targets set in the 2008 Environmental Action Plan and we're delighted to be on-track with this challenging task.
One of the most significant developments is that the team have been working hard to extend our environmental initiatives - to include how we make our programmes, as well as the way we run our business. As a result, later this year we'll launch "Albert" - a carbon calculator to help production teams assess and measure carbon emissions. I'm told the name has no particular significance - and can confirm that it's not the name of the project lead either (he's called Richard in case you wondered).
BBC Environment Action Plan targets for year end 2012/13:
While the year ahead will present challenges, we remain committed to corporate responsibility and are delighted to have retained Platinum status in Business in the Community's Corporate Responsibility Index - a benchmark for evaluating our impacts in society and on the environment.
I look forward to the year ahead and in particular we plan to focus on the community impacts of opening a new BBC site in Salford in 2010. We're already developing relationships with people on the ground and I'm optimistic that we can make contact with significant sections of the community in advance of the building even opening. Already we have met over 3000 local young people, through projects including media training and backstage tours for schools.
Alec McGivan is the Head of BBC Outreach
- Read the full Corporate Responsibility Report