BBC Launches Carbon Calculator for TV

By Michael Silbergleid

The following is from a BBC press release:

The BBC today launches the UK’s first carbon calculator for television as part of an industry-leading campaign to improve sustainability and cut carbon emissions.

The BBC has a target of 20% reduction in energy consumption by 2013. The carbon calculator is an online tool that programme-makers can use to estimate their carbon footprint and will be accompanied by a guide with actions to reduce this footprint.

Use of the calculator is mandatory for all programme teams in BBC Vision Productions and the BBC is also planning to share the technology with the wider industry. In collaboration with Bafta, announced today, and with technical support provided from Microsoft and Outsourcery, the carbon calculator will be made available to other broadcasters and independent production companies to promote responsible and sustainable programme-making across the UK.

The calculator is just one of a host of measures introduced as part of The Difference, a new sustainability campaign launched across the BBC to encourage staff to take a more sustainable approach to everyday working practices. The campaign will focus on reducing the BBC’s impact on the environment, working with partners to improve sustainability and reducing costs.

As well as the carbon calculator, other high-profile measures promoted by The Difference include:

• Roll-out of low energy studio lighting enabling the same quality of production in a more energy-efficient way. This has been implemented in BBC London studios and is planned for other regional locations such as Bristol and Nottingham.
• 24-hour zones for workers outside of office hours – allowing large parts of buildings to shut down when not in use and reducing the BBC’s workplace energy consumption.
• Installation of water-saving devices to contribute to the BBC’s target of 25% reduction in water used per person, by 2013.
• Video conferencing upgrades to reduce the need for travel to meetings and contribute to the target of 20% reduction in CO2 emissions due to transport.

Director-General Mark Thompson says: “The BBC’s new campaign will embed sustainable working practices into every part of the organisation. The targets we’ve set ourselves are challenging but we need to deliver. By working more sustainably, we can make significant cost savings that can be reinvested in high-quality, original programmes for our audiences.”

Patrick Younge, Chief Creative Officer, BBC Vision Productions, says: “The UK’s first carbon calculator for programme production will ensure the BBC is helping programme-makers across the industry to reduce their carbon footprint. Though each programme is different, we can hopefully share learning across our production methods in order to produce the most sustainable productions possible for the benefit of our audiences and the environment.”

Earlier this year, the BBC held a Sustainability forum to share ideas and best practice with programme-makers across the broadcasting industry. Further forums are planned for 2011.

Notes to Editors

Carbon Calculator aka “Albert”

The BBC is working in collaboration with Bafta to release “Albert” to the wider television industry. Albert is receiving generous technical support from Microsoft and hosting by Outsourcery which shall enable Baftato launch Albert to the industry next year.

The Difference

• The BBC will focus reducing its impact on the environment, working with suppliers to improve sustainability and making efficient use of financial resources .

• The BBC also believes that is should lead the media industry in sustainability – creating and exemplifying industry best practice. The BBC will aim to set the pace by leading the development of best practice; exemplifying change through its own behaviour; and encouraging the wider industry to take action.

• This isn’t about editorial decisions, just the way the BBC works. Editorial decisions will be guided by due impartiality and diversity of opinion.

• The initiatives will save the BBC money over the current licence fee period

Environmental Targets

The BBC has set itself some challenging targets for improving the BBC’s environmental performance by 2012. These are:

• 20% reduction in energy consumption
• 20% reduction in CO2 emissions due to transport
• 25% reduction in water used
• 25% reduction in waste to landfill and to recycle 75% of waste.


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