New BAI network sees broadcasters agree to air more climate programming

26 Nov 2020

Image: © ike/

The BAI’s new Broadcasting Sustainability Network has signed up Irish media players to air more programming focused on sustainability and inclusion.

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has launched the Broadcasting Sustainability Network and a sustainability roadmap for the Irish broadcasting sector. The voluntary sustainability group aims to change both how broadcasters can become more sustainable and inclusive workplaces, as well as how they can represent these ideals more in programming.

In addition to the BAI, the initial steering members of the network include RTÉ, TG4, the Wireless Group, Communicorp, Craol, Flirt FM, Beat FM, Screen Producers Ireland, Screen Ireland, the Radio Kerry group and South East Radio.

Based on the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals, the new roadmap adopted by broadcasters will focus on three areas of sustainability: environment, social and economic. Each pillar contains three focus areas, which are accompanied by a set of recommended actions and key metrics to help to track and measure impact.

Among these is the concept of ‘green programming’, where broadcasters should ensure that commissioning editors, producers and senior writers have read existing guidance on more environmentally friendly production and would look for opportunities to highlight environmental issues.

Training for journalists

Member broadcasters have agreed to commit to making these issues a regular theme in programming and to provide training on issues such as the climate crisis to senior journalists, presenters and creatives. The BAI roadmap said that efforts to integrate climate issues into programming could include putting a daily climate update in news programming.

Producers of programming must also ensure that product placement is as environmentally friendly as possible and proactively highlight environmental products and behaviours.

Similar efforts will be made to produce more programming focused on inclusivity, including making issues of social inequality a priority theme. Broadcasters must also establish a baseline for diversity in both presenters on screen or on air, and set targets for the number of hours of programming discussing social inequality.

“Irish broadcasters have an opportunity to play a unique role in the promotion of the [UN’s Sustainable Development Goals] and in shaping a sustainable future, both within their own organisations, and through their content and programming,” said BAI chief executive, Michael O’Keeffe.

“The BAI is committed to working with broadcasters to support the achievement of greater sustainability and I am confident that the broadcasting sector has the ingenuity, creativity and resolve to deliver on the ambitions set out in the roadmap.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic