This year’s report to end all reports on sustainability in production dissects industry data, finds the root causes and predicts a path to NetZero. albert, the BAFTA-owned sustainability organisation’s Annual Review 2022, proves the industry’s commitment and identifies the key hurdles to be overcome in the move towards a more sustainable future.
While all industries have been called upon to tackle climate change and reach NetZero by 2050, albert ensures that the production sector does not fall far behind.
This year’s report saw the highest level of engagement albert has ever seen, as 2,404 film and TV productions submitted carbon footprints to albert for review, and 1,933 albert certificates were awarded.
The BAFTA mission uses its platforms to engage audiences through research, tools, training, practical guidance, initiatives and thought leadership needed for the film and television industries to reduce their environmental impact.
Identify the problem, implement the solution
The certification toolkit from albert allows productions to monitor their environmental impact and commit to a Carbon Action Plan, and their 2022 report outlines their newest initiatives to educate and enable the screen industries’ efforts to reach NetZero. Now UK based broadcasters and streamers have shown their commitment by making the albert certification a mandatory requirement.
Carys Taylor, Director of albert, opened the report with a positioning statement: “As we know, the screen industries have the greatest opportunity to drive change. Alongside high emissions of its own, it has considerable purchasing power of around $200 billion annually, which can shift supply chains to cleaner alternatives and its global audience of over 5 billion means it can reach – and engage with – over half the world’s population.”
Efforts to Change the World
It’s been a busy year for albert. The report outlines key projects that have been launched, such as the first albert Summit, which was held alongside COP27 and hosted 250 industry specialists; the release of the Editorial Engagement Tool – enabling creatives to explore ways to incorporate climate action into their storytelling - and Edinburgh Festival’s Climate Impact Award which was presented to Rumpus Media for Channel 4 for their production Joe Lycett vs. the Oil Giant.
Other innovative projects include the Studio Sustainability Standard and Screen New Deal: Transformative Plan for Wales, an initiative which allows Wales to be the first to use findings of the film production’s carbon impact to decarbonise the film industry. albert will map existing film and high-end TV-related services and create and transform the Welsh screen sector.
As the industry transitions to more sustainable practices, albert has created the Creative Offsets Scheme to help film and TV productions to offset emissions that cannot be reduced. Over 50,000 tonnes of CO2 were offset by albert in 2022, supporting global environmental projects such as generating wind power in Brazil.
All initiatives will provide a benchmark for generating real-world practices that can help other production companies put similar practices into action.
Educate and Exemplify
Throughout 2022 albert trained 2,378 production professionals on sustainable practices and partnered with ScreenSkills to develop a new course providing knowledge and skills to improve sustainable practices.
As broadcasters and streamers in the UK have committed to halve their carbon emissions by 2030, albert has stepped in to guide and support studios, as only 14% of studios report to run on renewable electricity. To combat this, albert launched the Studio Sustainability Standard and in 2022 saw 12 studios join, pioneering ways to make studios more sustainable.
The report spotlights one particular studio, Bottle Yard Studios in Bristol, UK, who in 2022 opened TBY2, a state-of-the-art facility powered by 2,300 1MWp PV solar panels. The power generated is the equivalent to that of 250 households’ annual usage, saving almost 200 tonnes of CO2 per year. Premium insulation, electric vehicle points, and cycling facilities also contribute to the facility being carbon neutral.
Katherine Nash, The Bottle Yard’s Business Operations Manager told 365 why they are a great supporter of the standard: ”The Bottle Yard was part of BAFTA Albert and Arup’s working group that helped develop it and I’m proud to say that TBY2 went on to become one of the first studios to be awarded it earlier this year. It can only be a good thing for the sector if it helps studios measure and reduce their environmental impact whilst also becoming part of a community of facilities overcoming challenges to make real change to their carbon footprints. It prompts the sustainability outlook if you are starting on a project from scratch, and ultimately creates an action plan framework to work from, focussing on the key areas of Climate, Circularity, Nature, People, Management and Data.
She added: ”We’ve already learnt a great deal from others in our cohort, and in turn we’ve shared a lot of learning from our own journey too. I like that it sends a strong signal to the productions that film with us, that we are striving to place sustainability at the heart of our operations at The Bottle Yard, and we expect those that hire our studio spaces to follow suit.”
The Unprecedented Toolkit for Sustainable Change
As more productions have engaged with the study by using the albert toolkit, the free tool for productions to calculate emissions and identify ways to improve, because of industry involvement, albert has been able to report that the total annual emissions from 2022 are over 130,000 tonnes of CO2 (tCO2e), with 12.8 tonnes per hour (tCO2e/hr) of film or TV produced and over half of that coming from travel and transport. Its area breakdown calls travel and transport a ‘stubbornly high carbon intensive area’ and suggests for productions to reduce emissions by using train and car sharing.
While numbers are still high, it also reports that the number of productions using diesel generators has dropped from 74.8% in 2021 to 68.4% in 2022. albert predicts that using more sustainable generators can reduce emissions by up to 90%.
The production offices report section shows that in 2022, one third of production offices were run on renewable energy, while in post-production suites, just under half (47%) reported that they run on renewable energy.
Virtual Production, Renewable Offices and a Cleaner Future
Details are not scant in albert’s reporting, as the report breaks down emissions on productions by genre, and lays out what area of the production uses the most carbon. The Continuing Drama genre having the highest emission rate of 30.97tCO2e/hr of production, 33% of which is down to filming spaces, again piling on the need to follow the footsteps of Bottle Yard Studios.
Sport production on the other hand, responsible for 3.19tCO2e/ hr, sees 69% of its emissions spent on to transport and travel – also the highest emission area for all other productions. Albert offers the genre a solution of virtual production, remote studios and alternative fuels for outside broadcasting.
The devil is in the details – the report numbers prove not only those stand-out efforts made by the most environmentally-focussed in the industry, but the impending need for further innovative practices for decarbonisation in production to achieve the 2050 goal. The whole outlook of how productions are put together may need to be reconsidered and reconstructed from the ground up. While albert is asking all productions to take responsibility for the industry’s part in cutting emissions worldwide, they are showing everyone how it can tangibly and effectively be done.
As Carys Taylor stated in the report: “The climate crisis is the biggest story of our generation, and the screen industry has an essential role to play in supporting the public to engage with, and adapt to, our changing world.”
Watch the albert webinar: Managing Climate Risks - on Production and as a Freelancer