In the Green Spotlight

Spotlighting environmental initiatives that we are especially proud of this year

On December 22, 2008, CBC/Radio-Canada published its first annual Environmental Performance Report. At that time, our environmental strategy was based on three principles: prevention of risk, implementation of corrective measures and employee training.

Since that time, our strategy has evolved dramatically. Compliance remains an aspect of our reporting procedure; however, the focus has shifted from compliance to environmental sustainability and employee engagement. We are committed to implementing sustainable options to protecting our environment, while encouraging our employees to be part of this important movement. Some of the key environmental initiatives completed in 2017-2018 are highlighted below.

Furniture Disposal Strategy

Room full of office furniture for disposal

Made up of representatives from Health, Safety and Environment, Procurement, Real Estate Solutions, Insurance and Risk Management, and Legal Services, the Furniture Disposal Strategy Working Group was established to identify a sustainable solution to address old surplus CBC/Radio-Canada assets. Prior to the establishment of this group, furniture waste generated through office closures, departmental moves, ergonomic assessments, etc., were sent to landfill for disposal. The committee was tasked to implement a process by which furniture waste was either reused within the Corporation, recycled responsibly or resold and redistributed to third parties.

Four strategies were identified and implemented by the Working Group:

  1. Broken furniture under warranty was repaired rather than discarded

  2. The resale of furniture and other goods by an approved Government of Canada agency called GCSurplus

  3. Donations made to registered charities

  4. The implementation of a furniture and chair solution strategy at the procurement level that includes an end-of-life cycle analysis of the equipment as part of an RFSO/RFP (Request for Standing Offers / Request for Proposal). All approved vendors are required to have a furniture warranty or recycling strategy in place to help reduce waste.

Two pilots were conducted in 2017-2018. The first involved the sale of old recycling and garbage bins in Toronto; the second involved surplus furniture and goods following a move to a smaller facility in Calgary. Both pilots were very successful, ensuring all goods were not sent to landfill, while facilitating compliance with CBC/Radio-Canada’s Environmental Policy. Goods were sold on the GCSurplus website, the Government of Canada`s entity dedicated to the sale of surplus federal goods, with remaining goods donated to reputable charities, including Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army. The GCSurplus process was also used by our third-party facilities management group, Brookfield GIS, to sell decommissioned mechanical and electrical equipment owned by CBC/Radio-Canada. Both pilots are summarized by the following flow chart:

Summary of GCSurplus Process

Complete full inventory Public to Rethink Recycling
Post on GCSurplus website, bidding commences Public to Rethink Recycling
Organize pickup with buyers Public to Rethink Recycling
Coordinate pickup and sign release paperwork

We anticipate that this program will continue to grow, particularly as we continue to decrease our footprint and prepare for consolidation moves across the country.

Challenging the Public to Rethink Recycling (Facebook Group)

Employee engagement is instrumental to our environmental sustainability program, particularly when it comes to recycling. However recycling does not only involve our employees. It’s an issue that impacts all Canadians, and everyone around the world. The next story shows how our employees work beyond compliance-based recycling to engage the public and challenge our audiences to rethink recycling.

In early 2017, the CBC News Network social media team created a Facebook Group following the release of a CBC News series about recycling. The purpose of the Group was to maximise Facebook as a platform to engage with the public and explore recycling and evaluate why things are at a turning point, while identifying ways to recycle better.

The launch of this Group was a resounding success. The overwhelming engagement of our audience resulted in more than 5,700 members with approximately 45 posts per day, as well as 12,000 comments and 33,000 reactions within the first two and a half weeks.

We will continue to explore additional engagement opportunities for the Group in the 2018-2019 fiscal year. Members will have the opportunity to participate in Facebook Live events, allowing for interactive conversations with experts.

This is all part of our strategy to continue to engage, not just our employees, but all Canadians.


Close-up of a group of bees

Since its inception in 2015-2016, our bee program has been an immense source of pride for our employees. Beginning with eight hives in two locations, we have now expanded to 22 beehives in six locations across Canada (Fredericton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg).

Hives set up outside CBC/Radio-Canada - Fredericton

Our newest bee colleagues joined our Fredericton team in autumn 2017. This venture was different from the other relationships formed with local beekeepers as CBC/Radio-Canada partnered with The Central Beekeepers Association of New Brunswick (CBA) to maintain the hives. Established over 50 years ago, the association has a mission to support, educate and advocate for beekeepers to ensure a vibrant and sustainable beekeeping community in central New Brunswick. As with other hive installations, employees had the opportunity to name their queen bees, formally welcoming Bee Mmeup and Beelie Jean to the CBC/Radio-Canada family.

We continue to offer annual bee workshops across the country focused on teaching employees about the importance of bees in our environment, the inner workings of the hive and how honey is extracted. The honey collected is sold back to our employees, with all proceeds going to local food-based charities, allowing us to build on the corporate social responsibility aspect of this initiative. In 2017-2018, the bees produced approximately 2,500 jars of honey (in various sizes), resulting in over $8,500 in donations.

We are proud to lead this initiative and do our part for the environment by promoting the issues associated with the declining honeybee population. Globally, pesticides, habitat destruction, climate change and reduced bee health have contributed to this decline. This is significant because the honeybee is responsible for enabling at least 30% of the world’s crops and 90% of wild plants to thrive. Our hives contribute to garden pollination and overall perennial greening throughout urban centres – with the added bonus of honey.

Moving Sustainably


Furniture from CBC Calgary building

After 57 years in the same location, CBC Calgary made the move from 1724 Westmount Blvd to the new leased location at 2000 Veteran’s Place at the end of October 2017. The move resulted in a decrease in our physical footprint at that location by 70%, to 18,780 square feet over three floors. The new facility boasts the most modern purpose-built centralized studio in the country without a control room and with a newsroom floor designed to be a fully integrated, collaborative environment with all teams sharing the space.

Decommissioning at the old site began immediately with the removal of technical equipment, library and archive materials, and satellite dishes. Initially there was no formal plan in place for surplus furniture and equipment, however representatives from Real Estate Solutions and the Health, Safety and Environment team quickly identified a sustainable solution to divert these items from landfill. As a result, a pilot was born out of the Calgary decommissioning process whereby GCSurplus was used to sell the furniture left behind after the site move.

Over a dozen office chairs in Calgary

Although the surplus items did not achieve a high resale value, the pilot was successful in reducing the amount of potential waste to landfill. Almost $5,000 was raised through GCSurplus sales, all of which went back into the Sale Proceeds Account. Additional savings included $25,000 worth of workstations and office furniture donated to Parks Canada, Habitat for Humanity, a Calgary drop-in shelter and the Calgary Public Library. This resulted in a further savings of $12,400 in disposal costs associated with bins and labour. In total, nearly $43,000 was saved through this project.

Using environmentally sustainable principles, we identified new opportunities and introduced methodology to divert furniture, electronic waste, equipment and other materials from landfill. As we continue to reduce our real estate footprint, we will continue to utilize sustainable solutions to reduce waste and promote environmental solutions.

St. Boniface

CBC/Radio-Canada St. Boniface

A consolidation and decommissioning project was completed in our Winnipeg locations during the 2017-2018 fiscal year. The project consisted of four main activities:

  • Consolidating all French Services employees from our St. Boniface location to the downtown CBC Winnipeg building

  • Moving Transmission employees to a smaller renovated space in our St. Boniface building

  • Releasing our contract at a leased building where our Transmission employees were originally based

  • Decommissioning old studio space in the St. Boniface building in preparation to lease unoccupied space

As a result, three radio and one television studio were decommissioned, along with a central equipment and telephone room, resulting in the generation of enough e-waste to fill three-quarters of a semi trailer; that waste was then processed for recycling. In addition, the consolidation of our employees into one location is anticipated to impact the carbon footprint as it relates to our fleet. Prior to the move, multiple employees from different locations were assigned to cover the same story. Now, assigned employees leave the same building in one vehicle, increasing our process efficiency while contributing to the reduction of our footprint.


CBC/Radio-Canada’s new offices in Iqaluit

In November 2016, the CBC Nunavut team moved into a new facility resulting in a decrease in our physical footprint of just under 9,800 square feet. As part of the move, a three-year recycling plan was developed. Given Iqaluit’s remote location, the plan required careful planning to ensure we maximized any opportunities based on site accessibility (i.e., vessels can only travel there from July to September). The clean-up was completed with a huge focus on waste reduction. Very little waste from the former station was transferred to the municipal landfill. Old reusable furniture was donated to local nonprofits and two containers of miscellaneous items – including e-waste and scrap metal -– were shipped on the annual sealift to Quebec to be processed
and recycled responsibly.

During this process, the team took the opportunity to introduce an eco-friendly approach to our new station. The space was designed to have better insulated walls and windows. Coupled with a smaller surface area (6,230 square feet in the new building versus 16,000 square feet in the old one), this has generated a clear savings in energy. In addition:

  • Heat from the central equipment room is recovered to help keep the station warm.

  • A temperature management system and exhaust systems optimize air-conditioning periods.

  • A simple two-stage water filter system provides high-quality tap water to help discourage bottled water use.

  • Carpeting, furniture and paint were selected to minimize emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC), as is standard in all of our stations.

  • A reverse osmosis system on the area humidifier was installed to eliminate dust in the newsroom.

The Iqaluit team worked diligently to implement innovative approaches to minimize our impact on the local environment.

LED Lighting

Spotlights lighting up a television production set - Vancouver

Our ongoing energy-saving LED activities continued in the Corporation in 2017-2018. Initiated in March 2018, the Vancouver Newsroom lighting upgrade began in collaboration with key personnel from Media Technology and Infrastructure Services (MTIS) including Real Estate Solutions and Health, Safety and Environment. Extensive research was completed as part of the execution of this change to ensure the safe and sustainable application of the most recent technology.

As part of the move toward High Definition (HD) technology, all existing fluorescent light fixtures in the Vancouver newsroom were replaced with new LED lighting. These new LED fixtures:

  • are projected to last at least 10 years;

  • can be adjusted for comfort and production requirements using a state-of-the-art touchscreen control panel;

  • are in line with the CBC/Radio-Canada lighting level standards; and

  • will eliminate ongoing camera shot view obstructions.

This change not only reduces our energy consumption and maintenance costs, but also allows for flexibility for production-related purposes when filming from the news floor.

Transmission Services continues to upgrade incandescent tower lighting systems to LED with new installations occurring in Gravelbourg AM-F SK, Saskatoon AM-F SK and Warmley SK.

The Ongoing Evolution of Our Fleet

White CBC/Radio-Canada Transmission van

In June 2017, our Montreal Radio-Canada site acquired its first electric fleet vehicle. Used daily, the Nissan Leaf was transferred from our Quebec City location to optimize its usage. The transfer was a resounding success. Our statistical analysis indicates that the Leaf is in high demand, signed out more than 300 times in a 9-month period. The ongoing success of this program is directly attributed to our employees. Staff feedback indicates that the vehicle is easy to use, comfortable for the driver, and it is easy to store materials and equipment as drivers travel the city reporting on daily news stories, all the while cutting emissions.

The Transmission Division replaced eight vehicles in 2017-2018 under the capital vehicle replacement program. Of the eight vehicles, three were replaced with light-duty vehicles. Two ¾-ton trucks (6.0L V8 engine) were replaced with ½-ton trucks (5.3L V8 engine) and one ½-ton truck (5.3L V8 engine) was replaced with a midsize pickup, the Chevrolet Colorado (3.6L V6 engine). Located at the Windsor ON maintenance base, the Chevrolet Colorado truck was introduced as a pilot project to determine if a midsize pickup truck would be suitable for Transmission work. If, after one year, the vehicle is deemed a workable truck, the long-term plan is to replace other Silverados in the Transmission fleet, particularly at larger bases with multiple staff and multiple vehicles. This fits with our plan to have the most efficient and suitable vehicles used as part of our work (i.e. site visits or ongoing maintenance). This approach contributes to cost savings in fuel and an overall reduction in our environmental footprint.

While not officially part of our fleet, we heavily promote the use of bicycles as an important mode of transportation for our employees. In 2017-2018, CBC Toronto saw the addition of 40 new underground bicycle parking spots inside our building. At the same time, we continued to promote the concept of Biking for Reporters in Ottawa, as introduced in last year’s report. Another new biking initiative was the improvement of bike parking facilities at our CBC Winnipeg location. Stored outdoors, behind our building, the biking cage was reinforced with a second layer of fencing, as well as the addition of a roof and LED lighting for safety and security purposes. Servicing approximately 25 employees at a time, the improvements were well-received by local staff. In collaboration with our on-site bike clinics and our local bicycle user groups, our biking program continues to grow.

Transmission Tower Removals in the Pacific Ocean

Walkway leading to our transmission towers after a 2016 fire

A reconfiguration of our Steveston BC AM Transmission site was completed following a fire in June 2016 along the catwalk that accessed the two towers situated in the Pacific Ocean.

The Steveston BC AM site had a four-tower array situated off the BC coast in the Pacific Ocean that provided Radio 1 coverage to the Sunshine Coast. In 2016, a fire damaged the transmission lines and the catwalk that served towers three and four – the towers furthest from the mainland. As result of the damage, it was decided to reconfigure the site. The project was led by Surren Balendran in MTIS Engineering Solutions and supported by Jacek Bator of Transmission along with Dennis Graham in MTIS Production Solutions from an environmental perspective.

The project involved the removal of two 60 metre towers, guy anchors and two tuning huts. Environmental consultants were engaged to work with CBC/Radio-Canada to ensure that the proposed work had no negative impact on the environment. Project mitigation measures were established based on applicable laws including the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA), Navigation Protection Act, the Fisheries Act and the Species at Risk Act. Permits were obtained and assessments were conducted to address Transport Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada requirements, and information was provided to the City of Richmond (BC) to satisfy their inquiries.

The contractors involved in the project were monitored to ensure that mitigation measures were implemented. The physical work was successfully completed in February 2018 without any adverse impact on the environment, which included avoiding impacts on adjacent environmentally sensitive areas and the local fishery.

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