Sustainability and transparency must go hand-in-hand: a DPP web event looking to demystify sustainability had its messages amplified and contextualised by sage inputs from a trio of carbon footprint professionals from Atos, Red Bee Media and Sky Sports.
Fronted by Abdul Hakim, DPP programme delivery manager and leader of the DPP Committed to Sustainability Programme , the event was split into the tactics, tools and must-do processes to secure DPP accreditation, which can be used to support marketing and promotional campaigns.
Hakim stressed the advance in respect for sustainability. “Increasingly, the performance data is demanded by investors. If you want to recruit the best talent, it is important you have an active programme, and customers are demanding that suppliers have programmes in place, whether you are in the B2B or the B2C space.
“Soon it is going to be required by regulation, and the key change is that environmental data will be treated in the same way as financial information. It will become material,” he added. “We do not want to be in the same position we were in when GDPR was introduced.”
The DPP has been able to publish an industry average score, with 5 being the target. Hakim said: “Currently it stands at a 3, so there is a lot of work that we need to do to improve that industry average score. Our programme will enable the industry to make that journey. From a DPP perspective, we are looking at specific environmental metrics.
“Scope is a loaded term, but when it comes to sustainability it is used quite generically to define the boundary of what you are measuring,” he added.
Hakim asked Jeff Chater, head of sustainability UK&I with Atos, to expand on the basics.
“The GHG Protocol is the most common standard process in place for measuring carbon footprints. It decided to say that Scope 1 is when you put any emissions directly into the atmosphere, say a gas boiler, or company cars,” said Chater. “If every company and everybody in the world reported their Scope 1 emissions, that would be the footprint of the planet.”
“All of a sudden people become big fans of sustainability because it saves them money, but you need someone on the main board who is personally responsible. Try to get it onto that level of the company,” Jeff Chater, Atos
Scope 2 and 3 cover the different aspects of indirect emissions. Electricity is the big deal in 2, and 3 – the corporate value chain - is daunting in its scope.
“Electricity is one of the easiest ways you can cut your emissions, by switching to a renewable tariff or self-generating. Scope 3 is the massive one, and I identify this as 70-90% of any company’s full emissions, if you look across everything right from the top of the value chain,” said Chater. “But the GHG Protocol did publish a separate Scope 3 standard, with 15 sub categories.
“We have been calculating and publishing our carbon footprint since 2008, but it has been only in the last three years that we have come up with the methodology to help us produce the essence and analyse our Scope 3 footprint. It is a real problem,” he added. “All of a sudden people become big fans of sustainability because it saves them money, but you need someone on the main board who is personally responsible. Try to get it onto that level of the company.”
The vast experience of Sky Sports was covered by the company’s manager of responsible productions, Jo Finon. Outlining what the scopes mean to Sky as a company is freely available in an ‘impact report’.
“You’ve just got to understand what your scopes are, and what feeds into them. Your Scope 3 could be your suppliers’ Scope 1. Sky as a company has been carbon neutral since 2006, and Sky Sports has been carbon neutral since last year. As part of our science-based target to be net zero by 2030 we have had to work with all 11,000 of our suppliers, said Finon. “We had to hold a lot of hands because of the language and new phrases, but it has been an organic process. All of these targets have to be sustainable financially as well.”
“From the production perspective the BAFTA-based program albert is key here. They are the only people who are able to give you an outline of what your carbon footprint for your production looks like. That’s not just defined by the Scopes,” she added. “All our suppliers now know that to win the work they have got to really sell what they are doing as a company, and it allows us to drive change throughout the contract. All of them have taken up bio-fuel in their OB vehicles.”
Sky has reduced the emissions from its Premier League coverage by 50%. Finon moved onto the point that understanding the cloud footprint goes hand-in-hand with understanding where you are now.
“We are looking at cloud workflow at the moment, working with IBC, and a lot of other broadcasters. We have an exciting project that we are talking about now, where we are discussing the Premier League and having a look at what a cloud footprint looks like,” she said. “Connectivity was not previously part of albert’s footprint, but we are taking albert on that journey with us.
“Because they have come into the sports world, we now really need to understand what the connectivity footprint difference is between satellite, remote production and then also cloud, plus concerns around data centres,” she added. “We started looking at this with albert in 2019, and we got a benchmark then. That was the only reason we able to do our first net zero broadcast in September.”
Martin Dover, governance, risk and compliance business partner with Red Bee Media, had a different sector story, but with similar issues.
“Scope 2 includes the majority of the big hitters that we focus on. Our data centres are a major energy burn, and a big contributor to our carbon emissions. We can take any of our energy consumptions and get a pretty good grip of what that is, but the challenge is the relationship of what is one company’s Scope 2 and another’s Scope 3,” said Dover.
“Even though the three Scopes give you a good breakdown and let you ascertain where you should be focussing your efforts, do not wait until you can measure before you do something about it,” Martin Dover, Red Bee Media
“Customers ask us what emissions are related specifically to delivering their services and channels. That is a big challenge for us now as we are providing multi-tenanted platforms, shared infrastructure, and more and more work is moving into the cloud. That is the challenge of the scope boundaries. It makes it a moving target to measure,” he added. “We too put certain measures on our suppliers, and we assess them on it.
“We know we are doing the right thing by going multi-tenanted and moving things into the cloud, from both an efficiency and emissions perspective. We do it because it is a no brainer.”
Dover observed (as did Finon) that sustainability is much bigger than the environmental aspects.
“In Red Bee Media sustainability covers the wider view of diversity and inclusion, through to modern slavery and business ethics. Keep that as part of the picture,” said Dover. “Even though the three Scopes give you a good breakdown and let you ascertain where you should be focussing your efforts, do not wait until you can measure before you do something about it.
“I have seen too many people say, ‘Well we cannot measure it yet, so we cannot set targets yet. Therefore, we cannot progress with it yet’. Yes, you can. Get on and make a difference now,” he added. “Sometimes an investment is required, but the payback can be surprisingly short.”
“One thing we have done successfully is our Green Bee programme. This is an employee-led initiative, so we are embedding environmental and sustainable thinking across the organisation, ground up,” he continued. “So, as well as the top-down buy-in, all the footprint goals, and the commitment from across high level, there is ground up engagement that helps us drive forward.”