Social Impact


During 2020 extensive work was undertaken to understand and assess the carbon impact of the business. Energy use, including business travel, and waste are the most significant contributors to the environmental impact of the business with these principally arising from the company’s property estate and programme making activities.

This analysis helped inform a new sustainability strategy – STV Zero – launched in early 2021, which sets down our commitment to reduce STV’s environmental impact and improve the environmental sustainability of all aspects of our business activities in response to the climate crisis.  Details of our strategy are below, and you can find out more about STV Zero by visiting

Our headline commitment is to be a net-zero carbon business by 2030.

This will be achieved through changes to current business processes, the adoption of new ways of working and behavioural change. Our programme of activities and related targets to reduce the carbon impact of the business covers five key areas: energy consumption; waste reduction; programme making; promoting sustainability using STV’s reach; and achieving a sustainable supply chain.

Our short term target is to become carbon neutral by 2021. This will be achieved through offsetting all emissions from business operations, energy use and business travel through the purchase of certified carbon offsetting credits in sustainability projects in Scotland.

We will also use our unique position as a public sector broadcaster and Scotland’s pre-eminent marketing platform to inform and raise awareness of environmental issues and
challenges and positively influence consumer behaviour through our relationships with our audience and our advertisers and commercial partners.

Target setting and delivering on our commitments

The sustainability strategy will be reviewed quarterly by the Management Board. Each member of the Management Board will have a personal objective to support achievement of the company’s sustainability targets.

To create engagement and support a collective drive to improve environmental sustainability, the STV Sustainability Group, which brings together colleagues from across each area of the business, was formed in 2020. This group will champion sustainability; working in partnership with the business to develop and implement sustainability initiatives and activities and monitor progress. The group meets monthly creating a forum within the business for ideas, discussion and development of actions.

Five key areas to reduce our carbon impact
Energy consumption

  • Achieve 100% of electrical energy used from renewable sources by the end of 2022
  • Reduce business travel by 50% by the end of 2025
Our properties and business travel are the principal contributors to the Company’s energy usage with over 1,042 tonnes of CO2 emitted from our properties in 2020. In 2020, c.10% of electrical energy used is generated from renewable sources.

Further work will be undertaken in 2021 to assess our energy consumption using the Science-Based Target Initiatives criteria as the basis for our future measurement and reporting and disclosure.
To achieve our headline target we will:
  • Secure all electricity from renewable sources upon expiry of current electricity supply contracts during 2022
  • Implement a comprehensive programme of measures to reduce energy consumption from 2021. This will include a behaviour change programme, investment in ‘smart building’ infrastructure, including LED lighting installation, and temperature control measures
  • Introduce a new business travel policy in early 2021
  • Convert the company’s car fleet to be hybrid/electric by end 2021

Waste reduction

STV will become a zero waste business by 2030

We will achieve our headline target through a programme of ‘avoid’, ‘reuse’ and ‘recycle’ which will include:
  • Remove all single use plastics by corporate catering suppliers in early 2021
  • Remove waste paper bins at each desk across our offices to encourage recycling and a general reduction in litter in early 2021
  • Install ‘smart’ photocopiers to drive reduction in paper usage and improve monitoring of waste
  • Launch an internal communication campaign to increase understanding of opportunities to ‘avoid’, ‘reuse’ or ‘recycle’ and to enable each area of the business to begin to develop action plans to achieve waste reduction

Programme making

Achieve net zero carbon emissions on all programming, including commercial production, produced by STV and STV Studios by 2030

An industry wide initiative, led by BAFTA, has established a recognised benchmark and standard for the production sector to measure emissions arising from its activities.  Project albert is successfully supporting the film and TV industry to make positive contributions to the environment by actively seeking to eliminate waste and carbon emissions.

From 2021, all programmes produced by STV Studios will be registered with albert which enables a calculation to be made to assess the carbon impact of a production. Where required by the commissioner, productions will attain albert certification. This further commitment requires the production to use carbon offsetting to become net zero.

Programmes made by STV’s broadcast business, including the output of STV News, will also become albert certified by 2022.

STV’s in-house commercial production business, STV Creative, delivered over 450 advertising and promotional campaigns in 2020. STV Creative has committed to become an active supporter of Ad Net Zero, the UK’s response to achieving environmental sustainability, which shares STV’s headline target to become net-zero carbon by 2030.

To achieve our headline target:
  • STV Studios will register all productions on albert and, where required, attain albert certification for all productions by 2021
  • STV will commit to albert certification for all of its programming, including news and current affairs, by 2022
  • STV Creative will support sustainability within the advertising industry by becoming an active supporter of Ad Net Zero

Promoting sustainability

We will use STV’s reach to inform and raise awareness of environmental sustainability with our viewers and to support our advertisers to embrace sustainability

As a trusted public service broadcaster, we have a strong platform to encourage behavioural change by raising awareness, stimulating discussion of environmental issues and promoting sustainable lifestyles and behaviours.  We will achieve this through our programming and self-promotional airtime.

We will also work with our advertisers and commercial partners to support them in making their organisations, products and services more environmentally sustainable.

To achieve our headline target we will:
  • Ensure environmental sustainability is represented in the editorial content of our programming
  • Use promotional airtime to celebrate STV’s commitment to environmental sustainability and encourage positive behaviour change from our viewers and advertisers
  • Support our advertisers and commercial partners in becoming environmentally sustainable businesses through the launch of the STV Green Fund in early 2021

Achieving a sustainable supply chain

Our supply chain will be 100% sustainable by 2030

Currently, suppliers providing c.80% by value of our procured goods and services have confirmed sustainability commitments consistent with our overall objectives.
During 2021 we will develop criteria addressing sustainability and ethical requirements that all suppliers will be expected to meet by 2030. As we develop these criteria, we will undertake a review of our supplier base and our procurement and sourcing processes to ensure these are efficient, streamlined and aligned with our sustainability and ethical values, including the Modern Slavery Act and diversity and inclusion principles.

The review of our supplier base will therefore be focused on the remaining suppliers, estimated to represent c.20% of the value of goods and services purchased by the company.

To achieve our target we will:
  • Develop environmental sustainability criteria for all suppliers
  • Undertake a review of sourcing and procurement processes to ensure sustainability and ethical criteria can be incorporated into the supply chain in the long term
  • Perform a supplier data base cleanse to remove dormant suppliers, and focus our activities on those suppliers who are actively engaged with the business at present