Dec 8, 2011 Last updated on Jan 24, 2012 at 17:12
The BBC wants to reduce its impact on the environment. We have targets to cut energy, waste, mileage and water consumption. We’re doing this because we believe the BBC has a duty as a global organisation to behave in an environmentally sustainable way. We also know that cutting our bills will save us money. Read more about the BBC’s sustainability policy.
But our interest in sustainability goes further than just how our buildings are run. We believe that sustainable working practices should touch every aspect of what we do, including programme production. We want to have the absolute minimum negative impact on the environment while making our programmes.
It’s a value we also want our suppliers to share and we know many of you are already thinking about these issues.
The difficulty has been knowing where to start. Until 2010 we had no way of measuring one of the major environmental impacts of programme making: carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. CO2 is a greenhouse gas and one of the major contributors to global warming.
We have now developed Albert, an online “carbon calculator” specifically designed to measure the carbon impact of programme production. Albert asks a series of simple questions relating to how a programme is made and with the answers creates charts which clearly show the carbon footprint of the production and how it compares to other programmes made using the same methods or in the same genre. We believe it is a powerful benchmarking tool with the potential to drive real change in our industry regarding attitudes to environmental issues. Use of Albert is mandatory within Vision Productions and Children’s and we have a small team of advisors to help people use it.
Data is stored securely and although companies can see industry benchmarking data to help them see how they’re doing compared to others, no company can see any detail on another’s footprint.
We’ve been using Albert at the BBC for well over a year now and it’s given us a lot of valuable information about the typical CO2 emissions associated with production and where the biggest impacts lie. We’ve also written a guide to help programme makers understand how they can improve their environmental credentials.
We’re not alone in this. TF1 in France has a similar tool to Albert and almost all the major Hollywood studios are using one too. Sustainable production is likely to become a key element of programme making in the coming decade and that’s why we’re now sharing Albert with the rest of the industry.
The BBC has formed a partnership with BAFTA to share Albert with any production company who wants to use it. Sky, Channel 4, ITV, Kudos, Shine, Talkback Thames, Twofour and IMG have all signed up to use Albert and are contributing to its funding and development. A range of technical partners are also working with us on a charitable basis to deliver the pan-UK version of Albert.
Albert will be free for use for any production company for as long as possible, but certainly throughout 2012.
Use of Albert is not part of the BBC’s commissioning process for production companies. However, we strongly encourage you to sign up to use the tool. We believe that if you act on what Albert tells you about your carbon emissions you may be able to cut your CO2 footprint and save money – which is good for both the planet and the budget.
To find out more and sign your company up to using Albert, please visit the Bafta Albert site where you’ll find a guide on how to make a sustainable production, a 45-second video on how to use Albert and a video testimonial from Mark Hawkins, MD of Twofour, on why his company will be using it. You can also email the Albert team at Bafta with any questions.
We want to make programmes that don’t cost the earth and we’d be delighted if you’ll help us.
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