BSkyB Goes Carbon Neutral

It seems like not a week goes by without another major corporation announcing its "carbon neutral status", the latest being BSkyB. The UK's largest provider of multi-channel entertainment claims that this is "the first commitment of its kind by a major broadcasting company". Like many treehuggers, I have mixed feelings about these announcements — on the one hand I applaud attempts to reduce carbon footprints, on the other, I worry about a situation where companies and individuals can excuse polluting behaviour by simply planting trees or paying for compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) in developing countries. There's a fine line between "polluter pays" and "the payer can pollute". However, it is important to note that most major carbon offset programs announced so far have featured offsets and carbon credits as part of a much wider program of environmental initiatives, and BSkyB is no exception. Not only is the company reducing waste, purchasing 100% renewable energy, and increasing energy efficiency in its buildings, it is also providing grants to employees that buy hybrid cars and is working to ensure that the set-top boxes that it places in people's homes use less energy. Perhaps most significantly, BSkyB claims that these are a first step in a program designed to spread the environmental message to its viewers, currently numbered at 8.1 million, empowering them to make a difference in their daily lives. Another small step towards mainstream environmental awareness. [Written by: Sami Grover]