RTÉ’s Green Broadcaster Advisory Group is an internal decision-making forum established to enable the organisation to achieve its sustainability goals. This case study explains how the Advisory Group process has helped RTE integrate a sustainability lens into all areas of its operations and programming, ensuring a joined-up, company-wide approach.


RTÉ established the Green Broadcaster Advisory Group – an internal organisation-wide steering group – to coordinate the many sustainability-related activities happening across the organisation, and to be a forum for strategic decision making on sustainability topics. The Advisory Group also helps RTÉ meet its requirement to create a ‘green team’ as set out in the ‘Public Sector Climate Action Mandate’(an action of the Government’s Climate Action Plan).


As RTÉ progressed on its sustainability journey, moving from a focus on operational efficiencies to thinking about sustainable production and programming, the number of sustainability-related activities happening across the organisation increased. So too did the number of people and departments involved in these activities. The challenge for RTÉ’s Sustainability and Environment Services Manager, Eileen Duggan, was to keep all of these activities connected and aligned. She also wanted to make sure that sustainability was integrated into strategic decision-making at the highest levels of the organisation.


The Green Broadcaster Advisory Group was the solution to this challenge. Eileen first established the group in 2002, to bring together a small number of colleagues who were focused on operational/facilities-related environmental projects. Over the last two decades this has grown to around 30 representatives from across all parts of RTÉ. The Group’s focus has expanded beyond facilities/operations to also cover sustainable production and green programming/content.

Below is an overview the Group’s evolution

  • In the early days, Eileen and her colleagues began by focusing on environmental management actions, aiming for small victories in areas like waste and recycling before pursuing larger energy efficiency and waste reduction projects. This initial focus on visible, quick wins helped to generate momentum.
  • As the corporate sustainability agenda evolved, the Group’s focus shifted from operational efficiencies to strategic environmental sustainability issues. This meant thinking about issues such as decarbonisation and the need to reduce energy use and shift to renewable energy, through to biodiversity, the circular economy and managing climate risk. Most recently, over the last few years, it has also meant applying a sustainability lens to the production process and to programming and content.
  • With the growth and expansion of the sustainability agenda, came growth of the membership of the Advisory Group. Over time it has grown to include around 30 members. Essentially, anyone involved in managing any aspect of environmental sustainability – operations, production, or programming – now attends. Senior decision makers including the Head of Strategy and the Director of Operations, Technology and Transformation attend. RTÉ’s Director General also supports the process at a high level. Almost every department in RTÉ is represented from energy and facilities, to design, to risk management, communications, technology, strategy, training, content, news, procurement, cleaning and catering.
  • The Group, which meets monthly, is guided by a Charter, which sets out the objectives to be achieved. A key factor in its success has been the practice of keeping meetings short. They are kept to 40 minutes and feature a tour-de-table where members provide a brief update on what they’re doing in their respective department, providing updates on targets and any project plans.

Results & Benefits

The results achieved by the work of the Green Broadcaster Advisory Group have been significant for RTÉ. Key achievements include:

  • RTÉ is successfully certified to ISO 50001 and is now focussing on achieving ISO 14001.
  • Several of the sustainability awards RTÉ has received over the years have come from the ideas of people in the Advisory Group. One notable award is that RTÉ was named the overall 2017 Pakman Award winner at the annual Pakman Awards. This is a leading Irish environmental award that recognises excellence in recycling and waste management.
  • RTÉ is committed to using the Albert carbon calculator to measure and report on the carbon emissions of its productions/programmes. Nicki Rocca, a key member of the Advisory Group, leads RTÉ’s use of the Albert Carbon calculator and has spearheaded the work to get over 100 RTÉ programmes Albert-certified, including Prime Time and the Late Late Show.
  • In an industry first, in 2021, RTÉ and 11 other broadcasters and streamers, such as the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, S4C, and Sky, pledged to use their content to educate and inspire their audiences about climate change. This is referred to as the Climate Content Pledge. By signing the Pledge, RTÉ aims to help viewers understand how taking action against climate change can affect their lives and encourage them to make more sustainable choices.

Benefits of the Group include:

  • RTÉ has integrated sustainability into all areas of its operations, production and programming, and the Advisory Group has become a powerful decision-making forum for implementing change. It has helped to embed sustainability thinking into the way the organisation works.
  • Through information sharing at the Advisory Group meetings, RTE is in an excellent position to collect all the data it needs to report on its environmental sustainability performance – something that is becoming increasingly important in light of the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, which makes sustainability reporting mandatory for large companies
  • Similarly, through coordination by the Advisory Group, RTÉ is getting prepared to adapt to the impacts of climate change, such as disruptions caused by extreme weather events.

Lessons Learned

The key learning from the Green Broadcaster Advisory Group is that in order to truly integrate sustainability into all areas of an organisation, people from across the company must be involved and brought on the journey.

The process has also shown that sustainability needs to be driven from the top, and in the case of RTÉ its Director General is fully committed to the agenda. Having key influencers involved in the Advisory Group e.g the Director of Operations, Technology and Transformation, has been key to driving progress.

It’s important to find champions in different functions who know their job well and have a passion for sustainability. Nikki Rocca, who leads RTÉ’s work on sustainable production, combines a background in production with knowledge of and passion for sustainability, a combination that has made it possible for her to quickly get production staff/crew on board. Keeping Advisory Group meetings short has helped to keep colleagues – particularly senior-level colleagues – interested and engaged.

Eileen’s approach of setting realistic and achievable targets to begin with, building on those and constantly connecting the dots across departments, has helped the Advisory Group build momentum and deliver impact. Small wins have led to big wins.

The Broadcasting Advisory Group has gone from strength to strength. It’s been fascinating to watch how it started and how it’s grown.
Eileen Duggan
It’s amazing to see sustainability trickling into all areas of RTÉ. It’s becoming a way of life and a considered way of how we produce.
Nikki Rocca

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