Impact and Reporting

Tracking our ecological footprint and remaining accountable





Reducing our ecological footprint allows us to reduce the human demand on the ecosystem. As of March 31, 2014, CBC/Radio-Canada’s Real Estate portfolio includes 77 sites that house our production studios, transmission infrastructures and office spaces.

As indicated in previous reports, we continue to work on our strategy to reduce the overall footprint of our building portfolio. With the sale of owned sites, the initiation of tenant agreements, and the commencement of lease agreements, we are in transition in multiple locations including, but not limited to, Halifax, Sydney, Moncton and Rimouski. Due to this transition, the value calculated as our overall ecological footprint only includes active sites where CBC/Radio-Canada employees are working. Overall, in 2013–2014, our footprint was reduced by 27,739 square feet when compared to 2012–2013.

As of March 31, 2014, CBC/Radio-Canada’s Transmission Division included 200 owned active sites and we reduced the number of owned inactive sites from 98 to 67. This multi-year project was initiated with the shutdown of 607 analogue TV transmitters on July 31, 2012.

Decommissioning these sites means that we will responsibly dispose of the towers, antennas, transmitters and buildings that have occupied the land. As of March 31, decommissioning activities were completed at 360 transmission sites.

Cooling systems, generators and heating systems

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

In 2013–2014, CBC/Radio-Canada operated 180 generators. The total estimated capacity for our generators was 24,994 kW, an increase of 3,311 kW over last year. The increase is attributed to two new systems that were installed in 2013–2014. New systems are installed to replace aging infrastructure with more efficient units. The new generators, installed at CBC Montreal and CBC Winnipeg, were required to increase back-up capacity and meet demands in Computer Equipment Room (CER) data centres. Note: An increase in capacity does not mean an increase in usage, but signifies our ability to meet system demands, as required.

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 572 cooling systems (down from 604 in 2012–2013) and 59 heating systems (up from 52 systems in 2012–2013).

The estimated total cooling capacity of our cooling systems increased by 9.8 per cent, due to the updating of our inventories and revision of cooling equipment specification. No major changes were made to the cooling capacity of our buildings.

Storage tank systems for petroleum products

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

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 Regulation. A total of 41 storage tanks are subject to these regulations.

CBC/Radio-Canada applies a risk-management approach to ensure compliance for identified product transfer areas. In 2013–2014, one incident was reported involving fuel storage tanks where a historical tank was found on a site being decommissioned. The original tank was not owned by CBC/Radio-Canada.

In our efforts to proactively prevent soil and groundwater contamination, we continue to upgrade our storage tank systems across the country. In the last year, the Transmission Division decreased their total storage tank inventory from 190 to 172 tanks, a reduction of over 36,000 litres in capacity. For Real Estate Services, the fiscal year 2013–2014 saw a total of 65 tanks in operation, an increase of six tanks when compared to 2012–2013. This resulted in an increase of 36,159 litres for a total capacity in Real Estate Services of 223,305 litres. The total corporate results indicate an overall reduction in the number of tanks from from 250 to 237 with a negligible decrease (0.01 per cent) in the overall total capacity.

Energy consumption

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

In 2013–2014, the energy consumption in our Real Estate facilities decreased to 141,742,948 equivalent kilowatt-hours (ekWh), a 1.8 per cent reduction of over last year. When combined with our total energy consumption in the Transmission Division for 2013–2014, which was 61,964,555 ekWh, our overall performance shows a decrease of 4.68 per cent. This decrease is mainly due to the decommissioning of analogue television services, as well as site sales in the Transmission Division and a reduction in the square footage usage in our Real Estate buildings.

The average energy index in our Broadcasting facilities is 32.9 equivalent kilowatt hours per square foot, more than 4.3 kilowatt hours per square foot below 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.

Water consumption

CBC/Radio-Canada’s water consumption includes the water used for drinking, in washrooms, for air conditioning cooling towers, etc. In essence, 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, the total estimated water consumption in our owned buildings decreased by 12 per cent from 78.6 to 69.3 litres per square foot. This is mainly attributed to a drastic water reduction of 36,303 m3 at CBC Montreal (-21 per cent). However, due to an increase of production activities, as well as the arrival of new tenants (for whom the water data cannot be separated for reporting purposes) and the installation of a digital tempering valve located in the steam room at CBC Vancouver, the total reduction is negligible; consumption in CBC Vancouver actually increased from 52 L per square foot to 115 L per square foot. It was noted that the water consumption at other facilities was consistent with results obtained last fiscal year.

We continue to work on minimizing increases in water consumption where possible and this is clearly reflected in our performance in since 2011–2012.

Air emissions – Infrastructure

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

Total air emissions generated by CBC/Radio-Canada buildings decreased by 9.54 per cent from 2012–2013. This improvement can be attributed to several energy-saving initiatives, including the implementation of LEDs in studio and office environments, and an overall reduction in our ecological footprint.

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

Air emissions – Travel

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are not only restricted to our infrastructure and fleet emissions. When our employees travel for business, the engines used emit particulates, gases and noise, which has an impact on the environment. Note: aircraft, train and vehicle emissions vary according to the size of the mode of transportation used, number of passengers and the distance of the journey.

Our analysis of carbon dioxide emissions as it relates to travel continued in 2013–2014.

Collected from our Corporate travel statements, carbon dioxide emissions data related to travel increased in 2013–2014. With a total of 5,914,533 kilograms (kg) of CO2 released, the data includes an analysis of short, medium and long haul trips, as summarized in the chart below. These values were normalized against the number of CBC/Radio-Canada permanent full-time employees at March 31 2014, to reflect a total of 647.39 kg of CO2 emitted per employee, an increase of 16.9 per cent since 2012–2013. This change is attributed to an increase in the total number of kilometers travelled particularly during long haul flights (e.g. Olympics and FIFA).

Type of Travel Travel Distance 2012-2013
Total CO2 in kg
Total CO2 in kg
Short Haul 0-499 km 317,611 356,029
Medium Haul 500-1499 km 1,323,867 1,526,133
Long Haul 1500 km 3,378,608 4,032,370
Total CO2 Emissions* 5,020,086 5,914,533
* Total assumes that CO2 emitted during travel by rail is equivalent to that emitted during air travel.

Travel emissions also include those from vehicle rentals for both travel and production-related purposes. In 2013–2014, we traveled
500.66 km per rental vehicle, down from 536.1 in 2012–2013. This equates to approximately 113.75 kg of CO2 emitted per rental vehicle in the last fiscal year. This minor difference may be attributed to the fact that we changed rental providers in July 2013. Each provider has their own way of collecting and analyzing data.

Based on the nature of our operations, CBC/Radio-Canada recognizes that we cannot eliminate essential travel (e.g. news coverage, coverage of overseas sporting events such as the Olympics). However, we are diligent and regularly examine alternative approaches to capture the story.

By being aware of our emissions and exploring options on how to meet operational requirements, we are able to set realistic internal targets to reduce our overall impact on the environment and reduce non-essential journeys.

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 2013–2014 decreased slightly, from 66 per cent to 64 per cent, according to waste hauler reports. It is important to note that these numbers are calculated based on waste-hauler weight estimates and pick-up schedule. It does not reflect ongoing efforts to improve waste diversion through the operation of programs, including soft plastics and organic composting and cardboard box recycling. Moreover, there are ongoing measures in place to ensure a reduction in paper usage within CBC/Radio-Canada. New technologies implemented, such as the use of online communication tools, help improve our processes and reduce the generation of waste impacting our diversion rate. For example, from 2009 to 2013, the total annual waste at CBC Montreal decreased by 83 tons, with recycled waste accounting for 64.4 tons (77 per cent) of that sum. This example illustrates that over the last five years CBC Montreal generated less waste (-20.6 per cent), despite the fact that our diversion rate decreased from 56 to 51 per cent.

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 70 per cent, while Montreal scores 51 per cent 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 percent diversion rate.

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.

The implementation of the e-waste recycling program was completed in 2013–2014. With a program in every major city across Canada, and reaching 98.5 per cent of employees as of March 31, 2014, the program has been successfully used to recycle well over 850 metric tons over the course of the last five years.

This year, we recovered an additional 170.18 metric tons of e-waste, excluding transmission e-waste. This value, which is 39 per cent less than last year, continues to demonstrate that the program has been effective in removing obsolete equipment that was historically being stored on site. In addition, 48.8 metric tonnes of e-waste and 606.8 metric tonnes of scrap metal were recycled by Transmission from the decommissioning of analogue television sources. Included in this number, 551.5 metric tonnes of scrap metal was recycled from Sackville, NB alone.

When combined, these numbers reflect the ongoing benefit of the program, which refurbishes or recycles obsolete electronics rather than storing them indefinitely on site. It should be noted that these numbers do not include electronics that were redistributed in other parts of the organization and reused.

As part of the Sackville, NB decommissioning project, 1,435 kg of lead paint chips mixed with soil were removed and disposed of properly. Additionally, 93,667 kg of wooden poles were removed from the site and recycled.

CBC/Radio-Canada continues to collect and recycle batteries. At March 31, 2014, the battery recycling program reached a total of 89.3 per cent of employees in 27 CBC/Radio-Canada centres across the country. A total of 3,481 kg of batteries were recycled through the program for 2013–2014.

Recovered hazardous waste (2013-2014)
(in kg)
Fluorescent Tubes
(in linear feet)
Paints, Adhesives, Oil and Other Products
(in litres)
E-waste (in Metric tonnes) Transmission Scrap Metal (in kg) PCB
(in kg)
3,481 421 1,594 218.97 651,538.1 82 kg


Reported environmental incidents

Environmental incidents at CBC/Radio-Canada range from halocarbon releases to hazardous materials spills. 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, 2013 to March 31, 2014, a total of 36 environmental incidents were reported, up from 22 for the previous fiscal period. This increase is likely due to the high preventative-maintenance standards set for our equipment. CBC/Radio-Canada has implemented processes that ensure regulatory requirements are met. The majority of the 36 incidents reported were identified during routine maintenance or leak-testing of the systems.

Our results in 2013–2014 were as follows:

  1. 18 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.
  2. 18 incidents were assessed as level 2, which must be handled using external resources and could require reporting to governmental authorities and/or trigger internal escalation procedures.
  3. 0 level 3 incidents, which require reporting to governmental authorities and could trigger emergency operating procedures, were reported.

In 2013–2014, 28 of the 36 incidents reported were due to spills or discharges caused by the Corporation. The remaining six were attributed to a third-party release on the Corporation’s property. The majority (20) were halocarbon releases ranging from 1.05 kg to 95.34 kg. Although there were no releases exceeding 100 kg, the biggest release of 95.34 kg was due a leaking equipment value that was replaced, leak-tested and recharged, and the equipment was returned to regular service. The release was reported to Environment Canada within the required reporting period. It was also noted that, unlike in previous years, we had an increase in “other” types of incidents, including three water episodes (leaks and flooding) attributed to frozen pipes due to severe cold temperatures.

Government Inspections

In total, three government inspections were conducted in 2013–2014: two in the Transmission Division and one in Real Estate Services.

Of the two Transmission visits, the first was a site visit, made by Environment Canada, to confirm that a fuel storage tank had been removed. The second inspection was a follow-up visit involving the sale of a storage tank.

The one government inspection, at CBC Edmonton TV and Radio (Real Estate facility), involved the review of the Federal Halocarbon Regulation. More specifically, the enforcement officers reviewed the air-handling unit documentation and were satisfied with their findings.

In all three visits, all requests were met and no warning letters or notices were issued. More importantly, no non-compliances were found.

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