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Greening the red carpet: Emma (Watson), Martin (Scorsese)..and Albert (who?)

By 13th February 2012No Comments

Ron Yellon

Posted by: Ron Yellon

The 2012 BAFTA Film Awards Fellowship was presented to Martin Scorsese at the Orange British Academy Film Awards ceremony. Ron Yellon, Auditel, checks out BAFTA’s green credentials to see how “Living in the Material World” is being reconciled with a desire to be sustainable “Goodfellas”?

The champagne was on ice and the red carpet had been rolled out for some of the biggest names from the silver screen who gathered for the BAFTA film awards. The event was the biggest movie event of the year in the UK.  On the Friday night prior many of the stars turned out for a pre-BAFTAs party at the Savoy Hotel in London. Grabbing the photographer’s eye was actress Emma Watson, who has starred in the Harry Potter movies, dressed entirely in red after launching a new Valentine’s range for make-up brand Lancome.  While recent films such as 2006′s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and 2009′s ‘The Age of Stupid’ have played important roles in promoting sustainable living, the very act of producing and distributing a film or television show is notoriously environmentally unfriendly – a feature film can produce 2000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

So what can be done to encourage and incentivise working methods that cut down on a production’s carbon footprint?

I began by checking out the BAFTA site in search of environmental credentials.  To be honest I was quite surprised, and entertained: A participant in the 10:10 initiative; a company-wide recycling programme, investments in energy-efficient lighting, planned expansion of their Building Energy Management System, and working with suppliers with similar energy policies, all good so far.

I also learned that during its shoot ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine‘ saved $55,000 by diverting an estimated 615 tonnes of waste from landfill.  And the set on ‘Nanny McPhee 2′ was recycled up to 94%.  Cynics among you with an eye for irony – just stop right there!

BAFTA are also promoting a number of industry wide initiatives and two of these caught my eye..
Meet Albert – the carbon calculator

Originally created at the BBC, and designed specifically to help television production companies monitor (and subsequently reduce) their carbon footprints, Albert has two major aims: to help programme teams reduce the amount of CO2 produced during the making of their programmes, and to raise awareness of the environmental impact of programme-making.

The user answers a series of questions relating to production activities (such as studio usage and time spent in edit suites), and Albert calculates the total amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere as a direct result of making a programme and produces a series of charts showing the carbon impact of the work.  Outputs include: the total CO2 emitted during the course of production, the amount of CO2 emitted per £100k of budget and critically, CO2 per production hour.

BAFTA say that Albert is fully functional, public and currently completely free to use so if you’re interested in signing up, email albert@bafta.org, and they will guide you through.
BS 8909 – Specification for a sustainability management system for film

Not the most catchy title admittedly, but the adoption of a voluntary code of practice developed by the BSI, the UK Film Council and others is designed to give the film industry a robust framework for managing its social and environmental impacts.

Using the most widely adopted definition of sustainability, that of the World Commission on Environment and Development, BS8909 provides a framework for looking at social, financial and environmental behaviour.  It incorporates a Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle proven elsewhere.

Organizations state what they want to achieve in terms of sustainability and to describe what they will do to achieve their aims. They then implement their plans and review actual activity and outcomes against their initial objectives. Accurate records are kept throughout so that results can be reviewed and improved on in the future.
Epilogue

With BAFTA such an influential organisation across the domains of film, tv, games and heritage, it is important that initiatives like these gain traction.

A big fan of frameworks and systems, Auditel uses monitoring and measurement against benchmarks to examine the effectiveness of its cost management work with clients – cutting consumption is as important part of our service as sourcing carefully and at the most appropriate prices for clients. That sets us apart from many brokers for whom it’s often all about the price.

Continuing to do business in a throwaway society is not just irresponsible an unsustainable – it’s also bad for business.  Being able to demonstrate ethical purchasing practices is becoming increasingly important.  And, as the legislative environment tightens to enshrine environmentally sound business practices in law, choosing not to do business in an ecologically sound manner is becoming the expensive option.

Well, I stopped there as I was off to the party and my ‘Taxi Driver’ had just arrived.  If your invitation is still in the post then why not console yourself with a download of our most excellent white paper: “Total Cost of Purchase: procurement for sustainability” from http://auditelconsultants.co.uk/ronyellon/contact-me/

It’s completely free,  requires no annoying registration and contains no flash photography!
Other stuff

BS8909 can be found at: http://standardsdevelopment.bsigroup.com/Home/Committee/5021968

BAFTA is the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.  To read more on how BAFTA is aiming to reduce the carbon footprints of the industries they support as well as their own efforts go to: http://www.bafta.org/about/sustainability/