The BBC has had its plan to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

The BBC will pursue a ‘deep decarbonisation’ strategy to achieve net zero, a plan focused on targeting and eliminating fossil fuel usage across its operations to drastically reduce the amount of carbon produced by the organisation.

In January this year the BBC confirmed it would be pursuing a strategy to reach net zero by 2030.

The SBTi approved targets commit the BBC Group to reducing emissions for scope 1 and 2 – direct operations such as those from buildings and general energy use – by 46% by 2030. In addition, the BBC’s plan is to reduce scope 3 emissions – such as business travel and those of its suppliers – by 28% over the same time frame.

Details of the strategy include: switching to renewables and electric vehicles; reducing business travel; continuing to implement more sustainable production methods, such as BBC Studios’ use of hydrogen and battery powered generators on Winterwatch; and working collaboratively with the BBC’s suppliers to reduce emissions within their own organisations.

In validating the BBC’s targets, the SBTi commended the BBC’s ambition to adhere to a 1.5°C trajectory, currently the body’s most ambitious designation available and the limit which climate scientists argue is needed to prevent the most damaging effects of climate change, as set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Tim Davie, BBC Director-General, says: “At the start of the year we shared our ambition to reach net zero by 2030. Since then, there’s been a huge amount of work to put in place a credible and achievable plan. We are now converting that plan into action.  This will be a huge collective effort. It won’t be easy, but we must act, and act now, to reduce our environmental impact.”

The BBC has already taken steps to reduce its environmental impact, introducing a mandatory requirement for all new BBC TV commissions, and recommissions, to reach albert certification from January 2022, while the BBC Group has aligned to Taskforce of Climate Risk Disclosures (TCFD) governance and reporting requirements.

In August the BBC appointed Danielle Mulder as its first Director of Sustainability tasked with directing a corporation-wide approach to sustainability and principally leading on the development and implementation of the 2030 net zero strategy.

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) defines and promotes best practice in science-based target setting and independently assesses organisations’ targets. The SBTi is a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The BBC is a founder-member of the  BAFTA albert Consortium and Directorate, having gifted the albert carbon calculator to BAFTA a decade ago. The BBC is also a founder member of the albert Sports and News Consortiums, two groups set up to specifically explore and act upon the impact sports and news broadcasting has on the environment.

For 20/21, all BBC Studios TV productions completed the albert carbon footprint with 98% managing to decrease carbon emissions; 48% of BBC programmes were albert certified, an increase of 14% YoY; and 93% of BBC programmes completed the albert carbon footprint.

The BBC is also a part of DIMPACT, a broadcaster and academic partnership to develop an online tool that calculates the carbon footprint of actual streaming and other digital media content.

TCFD reporting requires identifying and assessing the climate-related risks and opportunities that could impact the BBC in the future and results in a significant change to the oversight and management of climate change impacts within the organisation.

More information about the BBC’s net zero strategy can be found on the BBC Environmental Sustainability website.

Pippa Considine

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