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The BBC details emission targets amid warning that UK net-zero is at risk

Wed 27 Oct 2021 | 06:39 am GMT
Rob Hutchins | Products of Change Writer

The BBC has detailed its plans to reduce emissions by 2030

The BBC has become the latest in a volley of broadcasters to set out its plans to cut direct emission by 46 per cent and indirect emissions by 28 per cent by 2030, before offsetting emissions to reach net-zero in the same time frame. The news arrives as an update to the BBC’s announcement in January this year that it would target net-zero across the value chain by 2030 when it promised that more details would follow later in the year. Those details emerged last week. They land at a time in which a new report from Sky and WWF has issued a stark warning to the UK that unless all large business now draw up and implement their own plans, the nation risks missing its long-term net-zero target. With goals approved in line with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C trajectory by the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), the BBC plans to cut Scope 1 (operational) and Scope 2 (power-related) emissions by 46 per cent by 2030, against a 2020 baseline. Within the same timeframe, Scope 3 (indirect) emissions will be reduced by 28 per cent. The BBC has been making a number of strategic moves in recent months to position itself for the net-zero strategy, including – reports the online publication, Edie – the appointment of its first director of sustainability, Danielle Mulder in August this year. Mulder will be leading the BBC’s wider sustainability team to help deliver the planned reductions, utilising her experience from previous roles that include a prior position as director at consultancy Carbon Intelligence, a firm specialising in helping clients to measure and reduce emissions across the value chain. “We are pursuing deep decarbonisation to achieve our net-zero goals as this is what 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.” The BBC is now the latest in a tranche of broadcasters to detail plans to hit net-zero by 2030, joining the likes of Sky, BT, and ITV who are also working towards the target. News of BBC’s plans to decarbonise arrive amid stark warnings, however, that the nation now risks missing its long-term net-zero target unless all large businesses in the UK draw up and implement plans to reduce their emissions in line with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C trajectory in the next two years. A report produced in partnership with CDP and Natural Capital Partners titled Corporate Ambition Meets Net-Zero Mission, states that companies are responsible for two-thirds of the UK’s domestic land-based emissions annually, with large businesses accounting for the largest proportion. It suggests that if all large businesses set science-based targets in line with 1.5C by 2023, half of the emissions reductions needed to reach net-zero by 2050 would be delivered by the private sector. The report goes on to warn that any delay in increasing corporate ambitions and actions within this space will ‘risk jeopardising the nation’s progress as a whole.’ It reiterates that ‘if all companies in the UK had adopted the science-based climate targets in line with 1.5C back in 2019, the nation could have achieved a 78 per cent reduction in emissions against a 1990 baseline by 2030.’ Edie reports that there are now more than 950 companies across the globe with ambitions for 1.5C, a stark rise from the three that instigated the campaign in 2018. However, the report details that the overall proportion of UK corporate emissions currently covered by approved science-based targets is just three per cent. “Companies are key to the Government keeping its climate promises,” said WWF’s director of sustainable economy, Karen Ellis. “Cutting our climate emissions in line with Paris Agreement targets is still achievable but will require fast action and leadership from the Government and across all business sectors.” Sky’s director of Bigger Picture, Fiona Ball, added: “This report highlights that the fight against climate change cannot be won by a handful of companies. If we are to protect the planet for future generations, we cannot afford to delay meaningful action.”
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