albert, the BAFTA led consortium on sustainability for the screen industries has released updated figures to illustrate the impact the TV industry has on the environment.

albert has been helping the production industry to measure its impact since launching a calculator back in 2011. In that time, over 1300 production companies have used the tool and over 7500 production footprints have been calculated. This report looks at the industry’s impact from 2017- 2019.

The latest data shows that one hour of TV contributes the equivalent of 9.2 tCO2e/hr which is a 10% drop from 10.2 tCO2e/hr in 2017.

To reach this figure, albert asks productions to measure their impact in a number of areas including the production office, studios and stages, days in the edit, materials, disposal, travel and accommodation. Questions are asked on a range of different activities from number of flights taken to litres of paint used on set. Brought together, the data allows albert to work out the average impact of an hour’s worth of broadcast television across all genres.

Roser Canela-Mas, Industry Sustainability Manager for albert commented: “Since launching the first iteration of our calculator back in 2011, we have steadily increased both the accuracy of our measurements as well as the number of questions we ask of our productions. This data, along with the fact we manually audit each footprint submitted has helped us build up a unique understanding of the impact a production has on the environment and has helped us to launch specific initiatives such as our Creative Energy project to help the industry switch its energy consumption to 100% renewable power”

The reduction in carbon emissions is partly a result of changes happening outside of the production industry – with more wind power being generated and less coal being burnt, electricity across the UK is greener, automatically reducing the impact of energy consumption on sets or in studios. However, while the impact of many production activities has reduced significantly, carbon emissions from travel and transport have risen consistently between 2017 and 2019.

Aaron Matthews, Head of Industry Sustainability for BAFTA albert said: ‘it’s really positive to see this reduction but it’s clear we still have much to do to hit net zero. Individual productions are making huge efforts to reduce their impact and must now be supported by those with the ability to bring about long term infrastructure change

The annual report also looks into the impact of a production by genre, with Drama productions having the largest impact overall and news programming the lowest. When broken down by production type, International Factual continues to have the biggest impact however it has seen a decrease of 45% in 2019. This was due to a fall in people transport and accommodation, but a large part of this reduction is also likely to be because no major productions were made during this period. That said, more factual productions achieved albert accreditation than any other genre, meaning that they took meaningful steps to not only measure but also reduce their footprint.

In 2021, albert will be rolling out an updated, international version of their carbon calculator and certification toolset. The new calculator will have increased functionality allowing users to accurately measure their impact when filming outside of the UK as well as enhanced reporting features to help identify where changes can be made.

Roser Canela-Mas added, “As an industry our goal has to be net-zero. The updated calculator and certification toolkit is part of a package of solutions we’re offering to the industry to help them achieve this. These tools, alongside our Creative Energy and Carbon Offset schemes will help our industry to achieve the UK’s target of net zero by 2050”

The updated albert Calculator and Certification will launch in early 2021.

The full report can be seen here

Jon Creamer