I pulled out the latest issue of Green Futures for a bit of light relief. It instantly lifted my mood as it reminded me just… how exciting sustainability issues can be.
A carbon calculator dedicated to film and TV productions is being ramped up, following enthusiasm from the industry. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Albert Consortium, the industry body for environmental sustainability, is working with Greenstone, a provider of non-financial reporting, to enhance a free service to measure and reduce the environmental impact of their projects.
Greenstone aims to make BAFTA’s Albert Carbon Calculator more user-friendly, in order to improve the transparency, consistency and comparability of carbon reporting for both big and small productions. “As engagement with the tool has grown, people want more from it”, says Aaron Matthews, Sustainability Manager at BAFTA. “Investing in the launch of a new version will make understanding a carbon footprint and how to act on it significantly easier, and is therefore more likely to lead to wider action.”
The UK film and TV industries have a substantial impact on the environment. The production of each hour of on-screen content is responsible for an average of 5.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, based on data from The Albert Calculator. This is equivalent to the emissions produced by one passenger flying around the equator in an aeroplane.
“Although media products are intangible, we still require many raw materials to power and make them – steel, timber, textiles, energy”, says Matthews.
More than 120 production companies already use The Albert Calculator, and the carbon footprint of over 1,000 individual productions has been calculated. It works by asking users (usually production managers) to answer a series of simple questions relating to how they make their programme. Once the data is collected, the tool can then calculate the carbon footprint of any TV show.
Production teams are awarded an Albert+ rating of one, two or three stars, depending upon the range and complexity of ‘green’ initiatives they have implemented. BBC programmes which perform well across the rating scheme will carry the Albert+ certification badge on their credits later this year, allowing audiences to see for the first time which TV programmes are meeting higher environmental standards.
“Like all industries the film/entertainment industry can only really get a grasp on their environmental impacts by measuring them”, says Alison Tickell, Chief Executive of Julie’s Bicycle, which works with arts organisations to help them measure, manage and reduce their environmental impacts. “Over the last couple of years the levels of engagement, action and appetite have been steadily increasing and now the industry really does seem to be coming together to make a difference.”