Technical Papers: This paper looks at how Public Service Media can reduce their environmental impact.

Abstract

Public Service Media (PSM) is one of the many industries having to rethink their development methods to reduce their environmental impact. But how do you reconcile market imperatives with environmental ones in the development of new PSM services? The answer has often been to focus on increasing technological efficiency, with the unintended consequence of a rebound effect, in which efficiency with the purpose of decreasing consumption actually results in the opposite effect.

This paper proposes a different more holistic approach. We deconstruct the full cost and impact of technical development in our industry, and address the issue of rebound effect. We then discuss recent technical design and engineering approaches based on notions of leanness and simplicity, learnings from unexpected collaborations amongst different sectors, which could be applied in the context of PSMs, and even - as a positive side-effect and in conjunction with green organisational policies - help support their public service values and public remit.

Introduction

According to the ‘Oxford Dictionary (1)’, sustainability is “the use of natural products and energy in a way that does not harm the environment.” The ‘Brundtland (2)’ Report highlighted the three concepts and interconnectedness of economic, social and ecology. This three-dimensional notion was popularised and used as the basis of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The three pillars express the following ‘My Climate (3)’:

- Economic, social and ecological concepts are interconnected. The actions of public and private stakeholders cannot be considered as isolated, one-dimensional aspects; instead, one has to consider the interrelationship between them all; environment, economy and society.

- Sustainable development is more than just environmental protection. To satisfy our material and immaterial needs, we require economic well-being and a society based on solidarity.

- The effects of today’s actions on the future have to be taken into account so that future generations needs are also satisfied.

- Sustainable development is a long-term structural change in our economic and social system thinking, with the goal of decreasing environmental and resource consumption to a sustainable level whilst maintaining economic performance and social cohesion.

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