Cleaning up film & TV with sustainable production

Did you know that one hour of TV contributes the equivalent of 9.2 tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases) per hour? If it sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. To put it in context, the average UK resident produces 13.5t of CO2e per year. What’s more, the latest data shows that drama productions have the largest impact overall. And film production’s no better, with blockbuster films producing an average of 2,840 tonnes of CO2 per production, according to a 2020 BFI study.

There’s no way of making these statistics look good; they’re shameful. But the fact that the screen industries spew out so much carbon does put us in a position to make a big contribution to carbon reduction. Here at UK Locations, we’re intent on playing our part – and helping our clients play theirs, too. 

Luckily, there’s a huge sustainable production movement underway within the UK’s screen industries, led by an organisation called ALBERT – the same organisation that produced those shocking stats we saw earlier. Founded in 2011 and governed by an industry consortium, ALBERT is “leading a charge against climate change; uniting the screen industries to make a positive environmental impact and inspiring audiences to act for a sustainable future.”


We’re in! Are you?

The whole team here at UK Locations has recently completed ALBERT’s Online Sustainable Production Training, and we’re encouraging everyone in our network to do the same. It’s free, it’s brilliant, and you can register here. In the meantime, we’ll be sharing what we’ve learnt on the course, to help our clients implement sustainable production techniques and best practice.

We’re also making changes to the way we do things, like focusing on building our location library around shoot hotspots, to help production teams reduce travel between locations. We’re also rolling out the 360° virtual recces we started during lockdown across our entire location library – a first for the industry! 

You might remember that we started adding 360° virtual recces to our location library in response to the government’s social distancing guidelines back when the pandemic first took hold. They were really popular – and it’s no surprise, given that they also save time, stress and money. But it turns out that they save a lot of carbon, too, with the average number of recce visits per location dropping from 5 to 3 – a very handy contribution towards any efforts our clients are making to obtain ALBERT certification for their productions.

There’s a rather nice knock-on for our Location Partners too, of course, with them not having to host so many recces!


Seeing the bigger picture…

At UK Locations, this is all part of the bigger picture – another step on our journey towards achieving B Corporation status for the company. Because for us, running one of the UK’s leading location agencies isn’t about helping clients to create great content at any cost. It’s about the ‘triple bottom line’: profit, people, and planet; working with our Location Partners and Clients in a way that respects people and the planet AND results in great content.

The UK is world-renowned for its film and HETV output and we’re proud to play our part in that. Let’s all make sure we’re world-leading when it comes to sustainable production, too.

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