While the fashion, food, auto and energy industries are held to high sustainability standards, television tends to fly under the radar. But environmental sustainability is an important issue to networks and producers across the globe. Sky was the first broadcaster to fully embed the Albert carbon calculator tool for screen art production into its commissioning process, and now the BBC is moving forward with plans to employ the scheme across its programming.
The BBC has announced that from April this year all of its TV programming within factual, comedy, drama, entertainment and daytime will have to track their carbon footprint using Albert. This marks the BBC’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact and is part of its wider sustainability plan.
The Albert scheme aims to better understand the environmental impacts generated by program production and to promote more sustainable ways of working. The scheme was devised by the BBC and is now managed by the BAFTA Albert Consortium. It has become a respected industry standard and has been adopted internationally.
Calculating an Albert footprint helps to identify where carbon hot spots are in the production process, informing best practice on how to reduce environmental impacts. Completion of a footprint is already the standard for the majority of BBC productions, made by both BBC Studios and independent production companies. The decision to make the scheme mandatory is supported is supported by PACT, the trade association representing the commercial interests of UK independent television and media companies and was backed by BBC Director of Content Charlotte Moore.
“The BBC is an industry leader in sustainable television production, and the Albert scheme has played a large part in that. Making the calculator mandatory is a practical way to help production teams reduce their impact on the environment and to embed sustainable production values in all our shows,” said Charlotte Moore.
Max Rumney, Deputy CEO, PACT, added: “Pact members understand the importance of transitioning their productions to environmental sustainability and welcome the BBC’s commitment to this goal by making the use of the Albert production calculator mandatory.”
From April 3, program makers will be required to submit an Albert footprint for all BBC TV commissions.
Some of the ways BBC programs have already reduced their carbon footprint include:
- The Springwatch team reduced their carbon emissions by using new technology such as waste vegetable oil and solar powered generators to power the facilities base while on location at RSPB Minsmere.
- The Casualty production team in their first year of the scheme cut their paper consumption (from scripts) in half, saving 750,000 sheets of paper a year — the equivalent of about 90 trees.
- The Dragon’s Den team remain committed to using low energy lighting — keeping temperatures low and allowing for a smaller office space to be used for this set, rather than a larger, more expensive and power-hungry studio space.
- The BBC Breakfast team have focused heavily on reducing their emissions from travel by encouraging the use of public transport such as trains over flying, and by using low energy emission vehicle hires and taxis. They also reviewed the partner companies they used to ensure they share the BBC’s commitment to sustainability.