Any annual appraisal of activities and progress would, of course, be incomplete without considerable reflection. 12 unprecedented months of chain-reactions for every global citizen both personally and professionally will etch the year indelibly in our memories.
It was an unseasonably warm evening when I sat down to write this foreword, wind and dust from the Sahara shrouded the UK in an amber glow. A desert blues playlist seemed appropriate for both the weather and my concentration.
Very few predicted the scale or longevity of impacts from the pandemic. Although perhaps we should? Reacting to the devastation of families, communities and industries we have learned much and in quick order. Our relationship with science, our ability to decipher data, our lexicon of new terms and our entire relationship with the natural world has jolted us unsteadily and perhaps reluctantly, forwards. The rhythm of life and work has changed unrecognisably and we can’t put the genie back in the bottle.
In the year that albert launched a new global carbon calculator, the sports consortium, the news consortium, expanded our international partners and moved all our training on line – doubling our numbers and ability to reach our communities – there is much to be cautiously proud of. From doubt to trust, from staying the same to adapting. The beat goes on and we have proved, if only to ourselves, the breadth of our possibilities.
Everyone must find their own way to participate with a sustainable future. Like a playlist, you may not like rock, blues, country or opera – but everyone loves music. So find your own tune and let’s join together and in the next 12 months let’s turn our efforts up to eleven!
The perfect story, we’re often told, has a beginning, middle, end… and a good twist.
albert’s story began a decade ago, when tackling climate change was not in vogue. Since then, the evolution of albert has been an inspiration. From a small, but devoted group of sustainability experts to an international industry standard, with tools, support and training delivered by an outstanding team, backed by an army of industry members brimming with enthusiasm. It’s a great legacy from the leadership of my predecessor, Aaron Matthews, and the stewardship of the albert team and our community by Tricia Duffy.
The support, action and innovation of the wider industry has been essential to albert’s success over the past decade and no more so than overcoming the past year – the twist in ours and many stories - which has been gruelling for everyone in every industry.
Our industry, which has been at the front-line of a tradition passed down through millennia, found new ways to tell stories and helped the isolated feel more connected than ever through our screens, when all we had was our shared sense of collective responsibility to one another to stay apart. I have wondered, as I’m sure you have – perhaps you’re even writing the scripts already - how the story of 2020 will be told in years to come. One story which stands out for me, is that in the year the planet stopped it seemed to breathe a sigh of relief. Amongst the tragic and extremely difficult circumstances, many of us also felt the benefit of cleaner air and cleaner energy as travel and industry drew to a halt - perhaps this is the very start of a positive ending.
A new agreement to help actors and their agents get more sustainability measures implemented on set.
A new group formed to help sports broadcasters tackle their environmental footprint with Hazel Irvine as chair.
Follow @WeAreAlbert for updates.
Our first group of albert Grads successfully completed their albert training module.
Alongside BFI and Arup, albert set out a vision for what a sustainable film industry could look like
An event focussed on the Planet Placement opportunities available to continuing drama script writers.
albert’s second report which looks into how often climate change is mentioned in the UK’s TV programmes
A scheme to help productions offset the emissions they can’t reduce
January 11th saw the launch of albert’s online toolkit
A group formed to discuss and act upon the unique environmental challenges and opportunities faced by news broadcasters, with Krishnan Guru-Murphy as chair
albert celebrated Earth Day by hosting three separate events for the business, wildlife and production communities
Despite global events, 2020-2021 has continued to be an incredibly busy period for the TV and film production industry and, thanks to the launch of the albert toolkit, we have continued to see record numbers of productions calculating their carbon footprint and aiming for albert certification.
As the needs of the Industry grow, so does albert’s membership. This last year saw the launch of two new consortiums for Sport and News. Both groups have been set up to aid collaboration between the industry and to create a space to discuss and act upon the unique environmental challenges and opportunities faced by these communities.
The global shift to online working provided albert with an opportunity to move both training and events to a virtual setting - further reducing barriers to entry. In 2020/21 albert’s training team trained 3,631 people - more than all training in previous years combined.
In addition to its training modules, albert hosted 14 events online from its Soap Storytelling Summit to A Screen New Deal - Route Map to Sustainable Film Production.
albert works closely with its membership on projects that support their transition to Net Zero. Last year, these schemes included:
In 2020, albert saw a 52% reduction in the emissions for the average hour of TV down from 9.2tn CO2e to 4.4 tCO2e. In a year where so much travel was restricted, it is not that surprising and the expectation is that as life returns to normal, the industry’s impact will increase again. But if some positives can be taken away from 2020, then it must be that there are alternative ways to work which still allow our industry to continue to make excellent programmes, while limiting our impacts on the planet.
January 2021 saw the launch of the new international albert carbon calculator toolkit - the most comprehensive upgrade of our carbon calculator and certification to date. With regional emission factors for international productions and new reporting options the updated tool allows production companies across the world to measure their carbon footprint, understand their impact and act on it.
As albert continues to grow and heads into its tenth year, so does the team’s outlook, working ever more closely with production teams around the world and updating our tools and initiatives to suit the specific needs of different communities.
In 2020, albert calculated that 1 hour of television contributes 4.4 tCO2e/hr. A 52% reduction from 2019.
This drop is to be expected in a year where the industry was forced to a standstill, but even when faced with lockdowns, uncertainty and new ways of working, the TV and Film industry found innovative ways to keep going, entertaining the nation and reducing its environmental impact in the process.
The albert team grew by 4 members increasing our number to 12 and two new consortium groups were set up: News and Sport.
Unsurprisingly, 2020’s emissions were substantially lower than 2019. A huge reduction in travel (both domestically and internationally) as well as the accommodation needed for location shoots were key to this. From 2019 to 2020, aviation emissions reduced by a staggering 48% globally due to restrictions on travel.
To find out more about the impact of TV production, download the PDF version of our report below.Read the full report
In 2019-20, we have seen incredibly positive progress towards our core objectives. Record numbers of productions have been using the albert calculator and gaining albert certification for their sustainable actions.
January 2021 was an exciting milestone for albert with the launch of its updated calculator and certification toolkit. This upgrade was a year in the making and allows us to continue to offer a world class product to our users
September 2020 saw the launch of ‘A Screen New Deal’ - a collaborative, first of its kind report released by albert, BFI and Arup which proposed a step-change in the way the industry operated, setting out a route map to help the film production industry transition to net zero emissions by 2050
May 2020 saw the launch of albert’s Green Rider Campaign - a new contract for actors, directors, agents and casting directors to request more sustainable measures on set.
albert’s creative offset scheme was set up to help productions offset any emissions that they couldn’t reduce or eliminate altogether. Following a tender process, Natural Capital Partners was selected as our offset partner. Natural Capital Partners’ projects are more than about just planting tree, their impactful REDD+ emission reduction projects, protect and restore landscapes, enhance biodiversity, and improve health and livelihoods around the world.
As the requirements of the industry have grown, so has albert. To accommodate the needs of those working in news and sport production, two new consortiums have been set up to directly serve these communities.
In May 2019, albert ran a first of its kind report, using subtitle data from 2017-2018 to look into how often climate change was mentioned on our screens. The results showed that in one year of TV programming (excluding news programmes) the term ‘climate change’ was mentioned just 3,125 times.
Back in 2019, albert announced the launch of its education partnership, a new training module created in collaborations with six universities and further education colleges. Its purpose was to arm students with the sustainability knowledge they would need when joining the production workforce.
In August 2020, albert celebrated its first set of albert grads entering the industry.
Over 22 Universities joined our albert Education programme in its first year, with over 338 students successfully completing the course.
In 2019-20, we have seen incredibly positive progress towards our core objectives across the globe. Record numbers of productions have been using the albert calculator and gaining albert certification for their sustainable actions.
One of our longest standing partners, Reel Green has been making great strides in its sustainability efforts, establishing a committee with 40+ individuals from all provinces and territories as well as creating a new 3-year strategic plan for 2021-2024.
NRK (Norway), Norway’s largest public broadcaster, formed a partnership with albert in 2020. Despite the global pandemic, NRK have found ways to embed sustainability into their practices, making it a holistic part of their overall corporate strategy.
Another of albert’s long-standing partners, the Netherlands have fully embraced albert with two broadcasters making production footprint calculation mandatory and one making training mandatory. A new online work flow was successfully implemented to help productions use the albert tools and the team is also looking into supporting productions with offsetting their unavoidable emissions.
albert supports Greener Screen in the UAE who in turn support productions looking to reduce their carbon footprint. They have recently worked with a Lebanese production on their sustainability action plan, helping to customise a best practice plan and train the impact production and eco-managers on how to implement sustainability best practice on set.
The Broadcasting Sustainability Network and Roadmap and TG4 become the first Irish broadcasters to make the albert calculator a requirement on all commissions since Jan 2021.
Screen Ireland is developing its sustainability strategy and three year plan. They are also calculating the carbon footprint of their agency so they can begin to reduce their impact
ITV Studios joined albert international as part of its global plans to become a Net Zero business by 2030. They have recently set an ambitious target for 100% of UK productions and commissions to be albert Certified from 2021, and this membership provides them with the support to build and upscale their progress.
Fremantle were the first company to roll out the global calculator to all its offices around the world, becoming the first TV company to calculate its carbon footprint on a global scale using the albert toolkit and measuring their impact against internationally recognised standards.
Sky is one of albert’s newest international partner, building on our long-standing relationship together.
We’re proud to be funded by our industry, allowing us to make our tools, training and resources free to use, removing any financial barrier for individuals who want to engage with the sustainability challenges we face.
albert was incorporated into BAFTA as a limited company in 2021, therefore whilst the report covers May 2020-April 2021, the finances below cover May 2020 to December 2020.
In 2020/21, investments were made in a number of key areas to ensure albert can continue to support the industry.
Chief among these was the investment into more team members to provide extra support for the brand new toolkit and website and to allow albert to continue to provide a good service to its members and wider industry users.
We also saw an unprecedented increase in demand for albert training. The shift to online training sessions as a result of the pandemic, coupled with many members of our industry experiencing enforced downtime resulted in a huge uptake in free training, meaning more trainers were needed.