We have a responsibility to understand and minimise our own impact on the environment and an opportunity to influence positively our industry and audiences. Through our reach and value chain, we have the chance to create long-term change by bringing environmental awareness and sustainable behaviour into the heart of popular culture.
The most significant environmental impact of our sector is a result of energy use to power TVs and devices. But far from wanting people to switch off, we’re doing all we can to make a difference in the areas where we have direct control and influence.
Our approach and goals are based on a couple of key principles. Firstly, you can’t manage what you don’t measure, so tracking and monitoring data is an ongoing priority. Secondly, we’re targeting our most-loved and most-watched programmes so that our big-hitting shows, are leading the way.
For us, greener programming is about embedding environmental messages and values in our programmes that are at the heart of popular culture, not just about one-off documentaries with niche audiences. Our goal is for our most-loved and most-watched programmes to achieve albert+ certification.
The making of TV programmes uses natural resources; creating one hour’s worth of TV produces 12.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide, that would fill 13 hot air balloons and is equivalent to seven return flights from London to New York.
albert is the industry’s carbon calculator, giving production teams the ability to calculate the expected carbon footprint of productions and highlighting opportunities to reduce the impact on the environment. Using albert at the beginning of the production process to predict the expected carbon footprint helps production teams to identify opportunities for improvement and to take steps to lower the eventual carbon footprint, so reducing the impact on the environment.
albert+ is the certification scheme that builds on the albert carbon calculator and recognises programmes that have embedded sustainability not only within the production process but also through the sustainability messaging included in programmes. The process is externally audited and productions can be awarded with an albert+ mark of one, two or three stars. Across our schedule, a number of productions have already achieved the albert+ mark including Loose Woman, Downton Abbey and Coronation Street. Our goal is for our most-loved and most-watched programmes to achieve albert+.
Beyond our own direct activity, we engage with the wider programme making community through the Social Partnership to ensure understanding of our expectations and commitment to greener programming and we actively promote and encourage our own Studios and independent production companies who create programmes for us, to use the tools available to manage and minimise their environmental impacts.
Beyond making changes to our buildings and equipment, we know that one of the most powerful ways to affect change is to empower our teams to make more sustainable choices every day.
Our aim is to reduce our environmental footprint per employee every year. As part of our induction process, all new employees have access to our environmental awareness online training. The aim is to encourage colleagues to think about key issues that affect the environment and create awareness of positive actions that can be taken, not only in the workplace, but in their own lives. From day one, it’s an indication of our Company’s values, and the training covers areas like energy efficiency, waste segregation and recycling, water pollution and travel efficiency. As well as the environmental awareness e-learning module, our face-to-face carbon literacy training creates further awareness and understanding, including guidance on what people can do specifically in their role. The training consists of a day’s worth of accredited learning on issues such as climate change, carbon footprints and environmental sustainability.
We measure and report on our carbon footprint using the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and aim to minimise it every year in relation to our turnover.
We report on our direct emissions, which include our gas and fuel oil consumption, vehicle fuel and refrigerants (Scope 1) and indirect emissions from purchased electricity (Scope 2).
It’s no secret that lighting is an integral part of TV production so finding ways to improve efficiency and reduce energy use and it’s environmental impact is important. We’ve upgraded to LED lighting, which can be up to 90% more efficient than incandescent or halogen lighting, across our studio spaces at The London Studios and key office sites. We also measure our waste and water consumption, and have a number of initiatives in place to reduce, reuse or recycle.
We recognise that we are in a strong position to influence the ‘lens to screen’ journey when it comes to our value chain.
We want our environmental commitments to go beyond our own direct operations and aim to source goods and services in a way that minimises damage to the environment and reputational risk, and creates a positive impact on society. We’re working on sustainable procurement practices with our procurement team, suppliers and partners. This approach involves looking upstream, for example at the energy we buy, outlining our expectations with programme suppliers through the Social Partnership, and downstream, for example, at transmission and distribution technology.
Since 2013, 100% of the electricity we buy in the UK, for the buildings we own, has come from renewable energy. When our current electricity supply contract is up in 2018, we will look to extend this commitment. Our Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin certificate certifies that our electricity is produced from eligible renewable energy, and gives details of the mix of energy sources, so we know exactly where our energy comes from.