Fiona Godlee: Why we’ve joined 10:10

Fiona Godlee
I’ve just signed up, on behalf of the BMJ Group, to a commitment to cut our carbon footprint by 10% by the end of 2010. For more information on the 10:10 campaign, go to

It was quite a launch do at Tate Modern on Tuesday afternoon – rather an apt venue given that it used to be a power station. The Sun and the Guardian and the Age of Stupid film makers were the hosts and lots of well known faces were there, some of whom I recognised. As various bands played and speeches were made and members of the public snaked in long lines through the turbine hall to sign up, we were all given pendants with the 10:10 logo made out of metal from recycled aeroplanes.

Why are we doing this? Because there’s a clear consensus among climate scientists that man made climate change is happening now, and among public health experts that climate change is the biggest threat to health of the 21st century. The BMJ has published on the need to act now to cut emissions and has helped to set up the Climate and Health Council to mobilise healthcare professionals. The 10:10 campaign is an opportunity to show that, through its own behaviour, the BMJ Group is leading on this important health and societal issue.

What does 10:10 measure and what if we fail? 10:10 aims to be simple and aspirational rather than punitive. It asks us to track only our heating, electricity, and business travel for one year. It takes account of the need for organisations to grow during that year and is interested in the commitment to reduce as much as the actual reductions achieved.

As a next step we’ll be measuring the publishing group’s baseline carbon footprint, with help from energy accountants Best Foot Forward.  Armed with the data we’ll then need to decide which areas to tackle first and how. Although the 10:10 campaign is interested only in our heating, electricity, and business travel, the carbon footprint measurement will cover the full range of our activities that generate carbon emissions, including our print products and commuting to work.

10 NHS trusts have also signed up with us in this first wave, pulled together by the Campaign for Greener Health Care, and there’s an open letter on signed by the health CEOs, including the BMJ Group’s CEO Stella Dutton, inviting others to join up. We’ll be tracking their stories (successes and failures) on and doc2doc.

Fiona Godlee is the editor of the BMJ.