When albert launched in 2011 at the Edinburgh TV Festival, it was to relatively little fanfare or excitement. Our presence at the event was little more than a branded rollerbanner, a laptop to show off our carbon calculator and a panel discussion that took place in one of festival’s smaller side rooms and clashed with a keynote speech
But there were still reasons to be excited; despite its modest beginnings, albert was the first practical step for the industry towards ‘going green’ and more importantly it had the backing of the UKs biggest broadcasters – BBC, SKY and ITV were all involved as well as some of the biggest indie production companies. Rivals on screen perhaps, but when it came to the environment, they were willing to come together to help us develop albert into a pan-industry initiative that would be free for any production to use.
Fast forward eight years and a lot has changed. albert has grown from a simple calculator into a fully-fledged project encompassing albert certification, a creative energy basket, training throughout the UK and (coming soon) Planet Placement, a new resource aimed at the writers, directors and commissioners of this world.
More encouragingly, conversations around climate change and the environment have also gained ground in the past few years. They are no longer confined to the science pages or to the ‘hippie’ community – everyone is waking up to the fact that we need to make changes to the way we live and work if we want to preserve the world as we know it.
And even more encouraging than this is the fact that it’s the world’s students who are being most vocal about the need for change. They are the ones who are slowly getting through to our governments and leaders and letting them know that doing nothing is no longer an option – we need action and soon.
The same enthusiasm has been seen for our BAFTA albert in education partnership – a specialist course that’s been designed for students enrolled on production courses at universities across the UK and internationally. So far it’s been adopted by 10 universities with more getting in touch every week. The course materials – which fulfil the criteria of the Carbon Literacy Trust – will teach students about the science of climate change, the environmental impact of the film and TV industries, and the sustainable production practices that can be implemented to mitigate against this impact. The course will also provide access to the albert calculator – our bespoke carbon calculator designed for the film and TV industries that helps a production to measure its carbon footprint and take steps towards reducing it.
We hope that this course, as well as giving students a good grounding in what sustainability in production actually means, will also find it helps them when it comes to finding a job. As Laura Djanogly, Joint Director of Productions at Hat Trick Productions, points out: “Sustainability and low carbon practices are core to the way we make our TV programmes. It’s really important that students entering the industry are equipped with the specialist skills they need for the job, and it’s great to know that graduates are now going to have an understanding of albert and the wider environmental issues that it strives to solve”.
We hope that over 500 students will complete the course in its first year and will enter the workforce with the ability to incorporate sustainable practices into the production process. albert’s objective is to empower everyone working in film and TV production to understand how they can make a change, ultimately leading our industry towards carbon neutrality. It’s a big ask and we’re not there yet but we’re feeling positive that we are moving in the right direction and our next generation of production execs, commissioners and producers starting on courses this September probably represent our biggest hope of getting there.
About the Authors:
We are albert. We believe that our creative industries represent the greatest opportunity to protect our planet. We are leading the charge against climate change; bringing the screen industries together to tackle our environmental impact and inspire sustainable living. We are albert. So are you.