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21 November 2023

Piloting a Path to Net Zero for the Film and High-end Television Industries


BAFTA albert have outlined the key recommendations from the Screen New Deal (SND) Transformation Plan for Wales, setting out a path to a sustainable future for the film and high-end television industries alongside its second annual Production Summit, held today in Cardiff.  

This landmark report covers the changes to transport, energy use, waste and culture needed to meet net zero targets, distilling these actions into a clear timeline.

The series of key recommendations for production teams, commissioners, broadcasters and funding bodies was produced by Arup and BAFTA albert, supported by the BFI through its National Lottery Research and Statistics Fund.

Recommendations include: 

  • Shifting to renewable energy for productions on location by replacing diesel generators with battery power or hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) in the short term; upgrading studio spaces to use less energy and generate their own where possible through wind or solar power;
  • A fundamental overhaul of transport options to eliminate fossil fuels, prioritising renewable energy sources such as electric cars and using virtual production methods wherever possible;
  • Creating a circular approach to materials and assets used in production, establishing rental and reuse systems for set materials, costumes and kit; ensuring that food provided on set favours locally produced and low carbon options;
  • Boosting the training and information available to production teams about the sustainability of existing production approaches; working with suppliers to the screen industry to reduce their waste and carbon footprints;
  • Shifting culture within the industry to create a new sustainability standard for productions, establishing carbon budgets and harnessing the creative power of content makers and on screen talent.

Following on from the first SND report in 2020, produced by Arup, BAFTA albert and the BFI, Wales was chosen as a pilot area due to its fast-growing creative industry cluster and ambitious sustainability targets.

Working with screen organisations in Wales – Creative Wales, Ffilm Cymru Wales and Media Cymru – Arup undertook detailed analysis of available data, relevant policies and legislation, and combined this with interviews of film and high-end television industry stakeholders to devise their recommendations. The insights from the pilot project will be made available to other areas of the UK.

The report indicates who might oversee these recommendations, including studio managers, industry leaders, training providers and policymakers. albert will now work closely with stakeholders to roll out the Transformation Plan and monitor progress.

April Sotomayer, Head of Industry Sustainability, BAFTA albert said:

“Climate change is impacting our world in immediate and sustained ways, and the film and high-end television industries have a key role to play in showing the ways to address it. This is a landmark route to a sustainable future in production, mapping out a practical approach to reducing both carbon footprints and waste. It is a very exciting step for the production community in Wales to pilot the Screen New Deal, and we’re committed to working with stakeholders on the ground to support programme-makers in adopting these recommendations.  Now we all need to work together, and at pace, to encourage, implement and fund real progress which can be used as a blueprint for the rest of the UK.”

Harriet Finney, BFI Deputy CEO and Executive Director of Corporate & Industry Affairs, said:

“In the race against time to address climate emergency, the Screen New Deal Transformation Plan for Wales sets out practical actions in areas of film and high-end television production that need to be taken in order to reduce our carbon footprint and meet net zero by 2050. In undertaking this ambitious project, alongside our partners in Arup, BAFTA albert and the participating organisations in Wales, we are proud to share these findings widely to benefit the industry across the UK.  The BFI supports decisions to be taken at all levels of production to work more sustainably, benefitting the environment, society and the future of the industry.”

Florence Mansfield, Senior Climate Change Consultant at Arup, said:

“Representing a huge milestone for the screen industry, the SND Transformation Plan for Wales report provides tangible and actionable sustainability guidance for all those involved in film and television production. Accelerating and enabling positive impact across the industry, the report outlines how ambitious change can be achieved through a holistic approach to carbon reduction, circularity and supporting all stakeholders in becoming more informed and empowered to make sustainable decisions. It was a huge privilege to continue our work with BAFTA albert, and we look forward to supporting the outlined actions as they come to fruition.”

Dawn Bowden, Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, said:

“The screen industry in Wales is of huge value to our economy. In recent years we have seen numerous high-profile productions filming in Wales and making use of our world-class studio facilities and locations, bringing with them opportunities for our talented workforce as well as offering trainee placements. The benefits and potential of the industry are huge for Wales, but in line with our commitment to building a greener Wales we must be focused on ensuring we are all working together to minimise the impact on our environment, and identify ways that the screen industry can succeed with sustainability at the forefront.

“I was pleased that Wales was the chosen nation for this project. As part of the findings of this report and its subsequent recommendations, Welsh Government funding distributed via Creative Wales will be directly invested into sustainability initiatives, one of which is encouraging our studio facilities to participate in the BAFTA albert Sustainable Studio Standard this year. In doing so, the data-driven insights provided by the Standard will shed light on studios' progress in reducing their carbon footprint and they'll become part of an industry-wide movement shaping a greener future for film and television.”

Greg Mothersdale, Media Cymru Research & Development Producer and environmental sustainability lead, said:

“We welcome the key findings of this comprehensive report which companies across Wales have contributed to as part of the Screen New Deal Transformational Plan pilot. We look forward to encouraging and curating innovative solutions from the media sector through Media Cymru activity in order to secure an environmentally sustainable future in this part of the world, and beyond.”

Recommendations from the SND Transformation Plan for Wales are already forming part of activity taking place in Wales. Before the call closed earlier this month, Greening the Screen was a fund from Media Cymru and Ffilm Cymru Wales, which will enable organisations to research and develop (R&D) sustainable products, services or processes that will green the screen industry in the Cardiff Capital Region. Organisations were able to apply for between £75,000 and £250,000 to deliver positive change across the sector with long-term solutions to the industry challenges of reaching net zero, and projects will begin in April 2024.

The second annual albert Production Summit is held today, 21 November at Techniquest in Cardiff. The event brings together industry leaders, production experts, industry suppliers and policymakers in Wales to consider the sustainability challenges facing the industry, and look at practical ways to overcome them in order to future-proof the screen industries and the planet. The full programme and details for accessing the stream from the event can be found here.

 



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