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Water Today Title October 22, 2020

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Update 2018/11/9
Greening government - CBC/Radio-Canada


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By Cori Marshall

This week CBC/Radio-Canada released its 10th anniversary Environmental Performance Report, which outlines the efforts made by the broadcaster to be environmentally responsible and transparent by making the information available to the public.

This week's publication marks the tenth year that the national broadcast corporation made this information available to the public in this format. Athena Trastelis, Chair of the Environmental Lead Team and Senior Manager Environment, Health, Safety and Environment with CBC/Radio-Canada took the time to speak with WaterToday about the report.

Efforts to be environmentally responsible go back more than a decade. CBC/Radio-Canada "had a monitoring program in place more than ten years ago, and the idea was to continue sharing our metrics with Canadians," Trastelis said.

    "[The report] allows us to be a modern public broadcaster, the report continues to evolve and showcase what our accomplishments are and how we continue to grow."

    - Athena Trastelis, Chair of the Environmental Lead Team and Senior Manager Environment, Health, Safety and Environment with CBC/Radio-Canada

The annual report allows you to see how the broadcaster is performing in various areas. For example, CBC/Radio-Canada's Ecological Footprint is divided into four key areas buildings, cooling systems, generators and storage tanks.

The surface area occupied by the broadcaster's buildings for 2017-2018 was 3,800,000 square feet, down 1.3% from last year. Trastelis explained that the decrease has to do with "the Strategy 2020, which we are getting close to completing. Part of that strategy was to reduce our physical footprint which in itself had an impact on the area that we occupy, and as a result had an impact in our ecological footprint." The strategy has allowed CBC/Radio-Canada not only to reduce the physical space their buildings occupy, "it allowed us to become more sustainable, and introduce more sustainable measures, such as our transition to LEDs and the fact that we have introduced the first LED studio in the world," Trastelis said.

The change in physical footprint impacted the amount of water consumed in these facilities. In this year's report, water consumption is down 6.4%, and Trastelis explained this is directly linked to the strategy 2020 "As we move from the owned buildings to the leased facilities our footprint has changed, so our consumption has changed."

Water consumption remains essential, and CBC/Radio-Canada continues to seek ways to decrease the amount it uses. "We are looking at the new Maison de Radio-Canada in Montréal, [which is under construction], for opportunities to decrease consumption," Trestalis said, "here in Toronto we are doing a massive renovation on all of the washrooms in our facility."

The decrease in energy consumption is due to continued work within the facilities on LED conversion. Work in this area has continued for more than a decade, "as recently as this past February our newsroom in Vancouver went to full LED conversion, and that has an impact in the decrease in our consumption from an energy perspective."

CBC/Radio-Canada has generators in case of a power outage and storage tanks to store fuel for uses such as heating. There were negligible increases in both of these categories. Trastelis explained that, in the case of the generators, "the increase is representative of the total potential power supply that is available for use, it doesn't reflect where actual usage is."

"Despite the fact that [generator] capacity increased by 1.7%, they are much more eco-friendly, and their impact environmentally is lower compared to some of the older generators," Trastelis said. The increase in storage tank capacity of 0.6% "is due to the operational conditions that vary from year to year."

    "We continue to improve our systems and implement upgrades so we continue to improve and do the right thing making sure that we're not having a negative impact on the environment."

    Athena Trastelis, Chair of the Environmental Lead Team and Senior Manager Environment, Health, Safety and Environment with CBC/Radio-Canada

Fleet vehicle emissions increased slightly by 6.3% in 2017-2018, after decreasing in previous years. "It's mainly attributed to the vehicle type and the way in which the vehicles are used," Trestalis said, "we suspect that it is an outlier based on our trending over the four to five years, that doesn't mean that we are not continuing to make efforts in reducing our impact."

    "We continue to promote alternative vehicles, we have new electric vehicles that are being installed in Montréal and in Rimouski, so we are not just focused on the larger centres."

    Athena Trastelis, Chair of the Environmental Lead Team and Senior Manager Environment, Health, Safety and Environment with CBC/Radio-Canada

CBC/Radio-Canada is in the process of converting part of its fleet to electric vehicles, and this change is being driven by its employees. Conversion to 100% electric vehicles may not be feasible for the broadcaster for the moment. There are many different types of vehicles used in CBC/Radio-Canada's operations, and "the reality is we are responsible for transmission towers on the top of a mountain, an electric vehicle may not get our employees to that location," Trastelis said. It may be "feasible in the bigger centres, our remote locations such as transmission sites are something that we will look into further."

Looking to the future, we asked what were the broadcaster plans to continue its already robust efforts to improve environmental practices. "We continue to implement new initiatives on a regular basis," Trastelis said, "we are getting ready to launch a new organics program in the Montréal and Ottawa buildings." As new initiatives are implemented, they will be driven by the employees as employee engagement is central to this effort.

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