CBBC show All At Sea receives first-ever Albert+ mark

Sam Hattersley, Olivia Cosgrove and Ryan Wilkinson from CBBC's All At Sea sit against a wall Sam Hattersley, Olivia Cosgrove and Ryan Wilkinson from CBBC's All At Sea

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The first-ever Albert+ mark for sustainable production has been awarded to CBBC's All At Sea.

Albert+ has been designed as a companion to Albert, an online tool that calculates a production's carbon footprint.

'If you're trying to shed pounds, Albert is the scales and Albert+ is the diet plan,' says Nicholas Leslie of the BBC's sustainability team.

It's a list of about 70 questions that aim to make a production 'greener', with points awarded for each positive response.

With All At Sea, the cast and crew were given reusable mugs, and disposables needed to be biodegradable. The caterers sourced local and seasonal produce, recycled waste and used sustainable alternatives to bottled water.

Paper usage was reduced by an estimated 60% by making cast and crew opt in to receive hard copies of call sheets, schedules and scripts. The sound department, meanwhile, exclusively used rechargeable batteries, saving approximately £700 in the process.

The easiest changes to make are those that coincide with cost savings, says line producer Jonathan Leather.

'A lot of the [changes] balanced out in terms of cost,' he tells Ariel. For instance, thermal mugs may initially have cost more but were more efficient overall.

But the key thing, explains Leather, was changing the culture.

'It's about changing people's attitudes. People are used to working in a certain way and any kind of change, not just on green issues, is hard to implement.'

Sometimes a cultural change can simply be about the language used. Leather says that people will often ask for a DVD - which is non-reusable and costly - when what they often want is an 'episode'.

People were instead sent a link or used USB drives to share rushes and episodes. 'Changing the way people ask for something helped change the end result,' he concludes.

The three main characters of CBBC show All at Sea wearing foil hats and looking out of a window A sustainable way to ward off aliens?

Although the All At Sea team encouraged car sharing as much as possible, Leather says the difficulty of finding short-term hybrid car rentals means there is still progress to be made.

'We can't get quite as far as we'd like to do yet… but it's essentially going in the right direction. By the end of it a lot of people were more on board.'

The production team also gained points for having 'infected a couple of other productions to take on the baton', says Leslie. He hopes that the knowledge and attitude of the crew will help spread sustainable production practices.

All At Sea received a two-star award and was commended for having clear leadership from the start.

As with the carbon calculator Albert, Albert+ will be shared through the Bafta Albert Consortium to promote industry-wide sustainability practice.

The hope is that Albert+ could become an industry standard. Three more productions - Autumnwatch, 4 O'Clock Club and indie From There To Here - are also about to be awarded certification.

  • Find out more about sustainable production with a video produced by the College of Production.

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