Definition July 2021 - Web


ABOVE William Bourns, sustainability analyst for the Bafta-led sustainability consortium, Albert

In 2011, the BBC and Bafta collaborated to create Albert, the sustainability consortium for the film and TV industry. How does it work? WILLIAM BOURNS: We’re an industry- funded project, backed by broadcasters, media groups and indies. Currently, we have two aims. One is to show the film and TV industry that planet placement can have a massive impact on the audience; the other is to help them recognise and reduce production-associated emissions. What do you mean by planet placement? BOURNS: Reducing the footprint of productions is important. But, by far the greatest opportunity to make an impact is through the content the screen industry puts out to audiences. Producers and writers can shift mindsets by carefully curating editorial to promote positive environmental behaviours. For example, [children’s programme] Shaun the Sheep has solar panels on the roof of his house, while the producers of EastEnders are very good at displaying recycling signs in all their pubs and restaurants. It’s this kind of subliminal messaging that has a much greater impact on the audience than something that’s in your face. We’re not asking you to be earnest or educational, scare people into taking action, or create the type of content you’d expect from an NGO. We’re just asking you to tell fascinating stories in a human way – like you always do. Are there examples of this being done on bigger productions, where, for example, there may be more red tape over what can be shown? BOURNS: Yes. Much of Wes Anderson’s film, Isle of Dogs , takes place on Trash Island, which is used solely for the disposal of rubbish and can be seen as a commentary on humanity’s consumption and creation of waste. This is a great example of how planet placement can be a story element and part of the dialogue, but it doesn’t have to be. In Season 2, episode 2, of His Dark Materials ,

for service providers, studios and facility companies. To help, we’ve created a carbon emissions calculator, for productions to get a better understanding of their environmental impact. It’s concerned with four key areas of production: materials, energy and water, studio buildings and facilities, and studio sites and locations. For each one, you can input what you’re using and how you’re using it. We can then provide you with methods to either reduce or offset the calculated emissions, through a personalised carbon action plan. Specifically, how can lighting and camera departments make a difference? BOURNS: They can challenge suppliers to support the use of low-energy lighting, while asking producers how much they’re paying for electricity, helping them understand the long-term savings that are possible. Second to that is energy consumption, so if these departments switch to LED – which has a surprisingly large impact on not only energy bills, but the subsequent associated emissions – their carbon footprint will be reduced. One studio in the UK switched all their lights to LED, and were able to reduce energy

when Will and Lyra are walking along in the street, ‘Saving the Arctic’ posters can be seen in the background. And behind the scenes, Peaky Blinders – filmed in Liverpool – used an almost entirely local crew to cut down on travel-associated emissions and invest in the local economy. Are travel-related emissions something productions need to be more mindful of? BOURNS: Yes. Around 51% of the screen industry’s emissions are related to transport, with 30% of that accounted for by air travel and 70% by land. The rest is due to energy consumption, with 34% of the average blockbuster’s CO2 emissions going on mains electricity and gas, and 15% on diesel generators. So, what can the screen industry do? BOURNS: The predicament we are in is down to poor planning. No exit plans exist for the majority of materials and resources that enter our industry – and little consideration is given to carbon emissions created from generators, or where props spend the rest of their days. Fixing this is our principal challenge, and one that represents a great opportunity

18 DEF I N I T ION | JULY 202 1

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