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BBC sets out path to net zero by 2030

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has approved the BBC's roadmap to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, commending its ambition to adhere to a 1.5°C trajectory

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

The BBC said its accreditation is an endorsement of its “credible strategy to significantly reduce its environmental impact by the end of the current decade”, which it announced in January of this year. The BBC will pursue what it calls a “deep decarbonisation” strategy to achieve net zero by targeting and eliminating fossil fuel usage across its operations.

Details of the strategy released by the BBC 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.”

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 per cent 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 per cent over the same timeframe.

The SBTi also 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.

“At the start of the year we shared our ambition to reach net zero by 2030,” said Tim Davie, BBC director-general. “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 introduced 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.

Danielle Mulder was appointed as the corporation’s first director of sustainability in August, and is leading on the development and implementation of the 2030 net zero strategy. “We are pursuing deep decarbonisation to achieve our net zero goals as this is what the science is telling us we need to do,” said Mulder. “Our approach will be transparent while working collaboratively with our supply chain and industry partners to drive the change that’s needed.”

Christina Figueres, founder Global Optimism, UNFCCC executive secretary 2010-2016, added: “I am delighted to see the BBC apply the same scientific rigour to sustainability that they’ve applied in their programming and content, by adopting science based targets. Aligning to the science and demonstrating leadership by example is very welcome at this critical time.”