Impact and Reporting

Tracking our ecological footprint and remaining accountable





As of March 31, 2013, CBC/Radio-Canada’s Real Estate portfolio includes 91 sites that house our production studios, transmission infrastructures and office spaces.

In five years, we have reduced the square footage of our building portfolio by 355,006 square feet (ft2) and aim to decrease our buildings footprint by at least another 600,000 ft2 – more than ten football fields – by 2017. 2012–2013 was a transition year for our Real Estate team. Although our overall square footage remains almost the same when compared to last year, much progress was made to reduce our overall footprint:

  1. We signed lease agreements totaling more than 176,000 sq. ft. at the Toronto Broadcast Centre, in Regina and Vancouver.
  2. We opened new, smaller sites in Laval, Brossard, Kamloops, Kitchener and Hamilton.
  3. We reduced the size or relocated owned and leased sites in Rouyn-Noranda, Saint John, Corner Brook, Sydney, Rimouski, Victoria and Saskatoon .
  4. We continue to work on consolidating our multiple locations in Halifax and Matane.

As of March 31, 2013, CBC/Radio-Canada’s Transmission Division included 200 owned active sites and 98 owned inactive sites. On July 31, 2012, 607 CBC/Radio-Canada analogue TV transmitters were shut down, initiating a multi-year project to dispose of associated Transmission assets. Decommissioning these sites means that we will responsibly dispose of the towers, antennas, transmitters and buildings that have occupied the land. This year, decommissioning activities took place at 132 transmission sites. As some assets, such as antennas, remain on some of these sites, the activity on this project will continue into 2013–2014.

Reducing our ecological footprint allows us to reduce the human demand on the ecosystem.

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Cooling systems, generators and heating systems

Generators are used to power the broadcasting and transmission sites that bring our programming to Canadians all across the country in emergency power failure situations.

In 2012–2013, CBC/Radio-Canada operated 168 generators. Three new systems were installed, six were replaced and two were reduced. The total estimated capacity for our generators was 21,683 kW, a slight increase over last year. We install new systems when needed to replace aging infrastructure with more efficient units, which sometimes means that our capacity increases, without necessarily increasing our actual use of power.

Our cooling and heating systems maintain our workplace at an acceptable temperature for both our employees and equipment (broadcasting and transmission-related).

This year, we operated 604 cooling systems (including nine new installations) and 52 heating systems. The estimated total cooling capacity of our cooling systems decreased 1.5 per cent from last year due to correction of cooling towers capacity. No major changes were made to our buildings’ cooling capacity.

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Storage tank systems for petroleum products

Storage tanks are instrumental to our core operations. Used to store petroleum products, these tanks are used to run our heating systems and backup generators, allowing us to stay on-air in the event of a power failure.

In our efforts to proactively prevent soil and groundwater contamination, we continue to upgrade, and where necessary, reduce the number of our storage tank systems across the country. In the last year, we decreased our total storage tank inventory from 262 to 250 tanks, a reduction of almost 60,000 litres in capacity.

As an owner and operator of aboveground and underground fuel storage tanks across Canada, CBC/Radio-Canada complies with the Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations. A total of 47 of our storage tanks are subject to these regulations. No incidents involving fuel storage tanks were reported in 2012–2013. We apply a risk management approach to ensure compliance for identified Product Transfer Areas.

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Energy consumption

Our energy consumption includes all the electricity, natural gas, oil and steam used to operate CBC/Radio-Canada production sites.

The energy consumption in our buildings rose slightly when compared to 2011–2012 (by 1.8 per cent). However, the shutdown of our analogue television services on July 31, 2012 had a significant impact on our energy usage, reducing our overall consumption by 8.4 per cent.

The average energy index in our broadcasting facilities is 32.2 equivalent kilowatt hours per square foot, more than 4.3 kilowatt hours better than the benchmarks set by the Canada Green Building Council. As in all the environmental areas we monitor, we will continue to examine ways to minimize our energy consumption.

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Water consumption

Water consumption includes the water used for drinking, in washrooms, for air conditioning cooling towers, etc. It includes everything in our buildings that is connected to municipal or other water systems.

Water consumption in our owned buildings remains better than the industry standard benchmarks established by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), the Real Property Association of Canada (Real Pac) and the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA).

This year, our total estimate water consumption decreased by 1 per cent from 79.2 to 78.6 litres per square foot. We continue to work on minimizing increases to our consumption wherever possible, however, our consistent performance over the past two years is reflective of the good management of our environmental program.

The 16.7 litre per square foot water increase we’ve noted when comparing this year’s performance with that of 2008–2009 may be attributed to a continued improvement in our data collection and reporting mechanisms, which will be further enhanced with the implementation of our electronic environmental management system.

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Air emissions - Infrastructure

Air emissions include anything our infrastructure emits into the air: exhaust from our vehicle fleet, from our buildings’ heating systems, from our generators, etc.

Total air emissions generated by CBC/Radio-Canada decreased by 13 per cent from 2011–2012. This improvement can be attributed to several factors including the shutdown of analogue TV and the ongoing greening of our vehicle fleet.

Our data was standardized and reveals that for another consecutive year, our performance is better than the benchmarks established by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA).

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Air emissions - Travel

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are not only restricted to our infrastructure and fleet emissions. When our employees travel for business, this has an impact on the environment.

This is the first time that we’ve collected data outlining CO2 emissions related to travel. In 2012–2013, CBC/Radio-Canada emitted a total of 5,020,085 kilograms (kg) of CO2 from travel by air or rail, this includes an analysis of short, medium and long haul trips (see chart below). When we compare these figures with the number of CBC/Radio-Canada permanent full-time employees at March 31, 2013, the total kg of CO2 emissions emitted per employee is 708.7. This data reflects over 95% of travel booked through our corporate travel accounts.

Travel Distance Travel Distance Total CO2 in kg
Short Haul 0-499 km 317,611
Medium Haul 500-1499 km 1,323,867
Long Haul 1500 km 3,378,608
Total CO2 Emissions 5,020,086*

* Total assumes that CO2 emitted during travel by rail is equivalent to that emitted during air travel.

We’ve also begun collecting data to calculate our CO2 emissions from vehicle rentals for both travel and production purposes. In 2012–2013, we traveled 536.1 km per rental, up from 473.9 km per rental in 2011–2012. Assuming the average of 0.20 kg CO2 emitted per km for an average gasoline-powered vehicle, in 2012–2013 we emitted 107.24 kg of CO2 per rental vehicle. (Source: Greenhouse Gas Protocol and Carbon Trust).

Air emission data related to travel is new to this report and we are currently exploring the potential generation and analysis of data related to our use of hotels and hospitality. We recognize that we cannot eliminate essential travel (e.g. coverage of the Olympics) but we can reduce non-essential journeys by using new tools recently made available in the organization (e.g. Google Hangout) and using more sustainable modes of travel, like the train.

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Non-hazardous waste

Non-hazardous waste includes paper, plastic, metal, glass, and all the similar everyday products that are easily recycled without causing harm to human health and the environment. Our goal, where possible, is to divert non-hazardous waste from landfill, in other words, to increase our diversion rate.

Our diversion rate in 2012–2013 decreased slightly, from 69 per cent to 66 per cent. It’s important to note these numbers are calculated based on waste hauler weight estimates and pick up schedule. It does not reflect all of our ongoing efforts to improve waste diversion (e.g. soft plastic and organic composting and boomerang boxes).

Our program continues to grow as we look for ways to continue to divert non-hazardous materials from landfill. The Toronto Broadcast Centre drives our global result with an overall diversion rate of 73%, while Montréal scores 60% without yet having an organics collection program.

Although these numbers compare favourably with diversion rate objectives issued by the provinces, we continue to set our sights on the top performance reported by BOMA – a 90 per cent diversion rate.

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Recovered electronic waste and hazardous waste

Electronic waste or e-waste refers to electronic devices such as computers, televisions, radios and transmitters. Hazardous waste can include batteries, oil, paint from buildings and industrial solvents.

Northern recycling progam

This year, we recovered 277.9 metric tons of e-waste, more than doubling the amount from last year, recycling the equivalent in weight to more than 55 five-ton dump trucks. This value does not include the 103 metric tons of combined e-waste and scrap metal recycled by Transmission from the decommissioning of analogue television sources. These impressive numbers can be attributed to three major initiatives rolled out over the year: an expansion of our e-waste program to new locations, including a pilot project in the North; the shutdown of our analogue television services; and major cleaning projects to remove obsolete equipment across the country. Our e-waste program now reaches 96.8% of our employees, but before we recycle, we look for opportunities to reuse electronics within the Corporation. Our figures for e-waste do not include electronics that were redistributed internally.

We also continue to collect and recycle batteries. Our battery recycling program reaches 89.3% of our employees, who recycled 4,867 kg of batteries in 2012–2013.

Recovered hazardous waste (2012-2013)
Batteries (in kg) Fluorescent Tubes (in linear feet) Paints, Adhesives, Oil and Other Products (in litres) E-waste (in metric tonnes)* Transmission E-waste and Scrap Metal (in metric tonnes) PCB (in Litres) Glycol
4,867 17,202 1,455 277.9 103.0 2.65 1,230

* Excluding e-waste collected by Transmission


Reported environmental incidents

Halocarbons are synthetic chemicals used in refrigerants, fire-extinguishing agents and solvents, fumigants and foam blowing agents. Classified as greenhouse gases, halocarbons contribute to global warming and the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer.

From April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013, a total of 22 environmental incidents were reported, down from 34 last year. This is likely due to the corrective measures we implemented last year (system inspections and standardized record keeping). We can expect further improvements as we introduce a new predictive maintenance program using vibration analysis on critical equipment and halocarbon containing equipment.

Our results in 2012–2103 were as follows:

  • 14 incidents were classified level 1, which can be controlled on-site, have little to no environmental impact, and do not develop into an emergency situation.
  • 8 incidents were assessed as level 2, which must be handled using external resources and that could require reporting to governmental authorities and/or trigger internal escalation procedures.
  • 0 level 3 incidents, which require reporting to governmental authorities and could trigger emergency operating procedures, were reported.

All of the 22 incidents reported in 2012–2013 were due to spills or discharges caused by the Corporation. The majority (19) were halocarbon releases ranging from 0.91 kg to 21.5 kg, with one release exceeding 100 kg. This release, due to wear and tear over time, was reported to Environment Canada within the required reporting period. The leak was repaired and the equipment was returned to regular service.

CBC/Radio-Canada also participated in an Environment Canada Public Consultation Meeting with other federally governed agencies on the proposed revisions to the Federal Halocarbon Regulations.

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Government Inspections

One government inspection was conducted at a transmission site in 2012–2013. The visit involved the review of a storage tank installation that was under shared ownership with a provincial-based organization. The fuel storage tank in question has since been sold.

Additional contact was made by Environment Canada who was verifying the current status of certain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) items in their inventory. All requests were met and we received no warning letters or notices.

Projects subject to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act

New requirements under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) were issued in July 2012. Based on these changes, CBC/Radio-Canada currently does not have any projects that would require the completion of an environmental assessment as outlined in CEAA 2012.

Nonetheless, we will continue to conduct environmental assessments, wherever necessary, for due diligence purposes and as a good corporate citizen.

Update on the environmental assessment conducted in a Steveston, British Columbia transmission base: all mitigation measures identified as part of this assessment were completed in September 2012. For more information refer to the public registry.

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