Saving the planet, one small step at a time…

Andie Clare grew up enjoying the moss and moorland of the Lancashire Pennines before heading further north to study zoology at Newcastle University. She joined Icon Films in Bristol in 1997 as an Assistant Producer and has grown with the company to become Director of Production. Andie also heads up the company Green Team and ensures that all our productions work to albert sustainability guidelines. In her blog post below, she highlights the inspiring efforts of Icon Films to be as sustainable as possible, including making changes to their food practices.

Why TV production needs to jump on board and support Bristol’s Going for Gold Campaign…

Innovators, disruptors, rebels and creatives come to Bristol to live and work. It is home to a thriving media sector, spanning animation to natural history and entertainment. But whilst we work hard to inform and entertain the public on key issues including conservation and sustainability, the industry itself can damage the planet.

Last summer, BAFTA published their annual report detailing which TV productions were the most damaging to the environment. Yes, international factual has the biggest carbon footprint of all – generating a minimum of 55 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hour of programming. That’s the equivalent weight of 440 elephants!

That’s why it’s so important that we do everything we can to help reduce our own production carbon footprint. This is why we became an albert affiliate. In fact, we were one of the very first independent production companies to sign up in 2016. What is albert? In a nutshell albert is a collaboration between BAFTA, indie production companies and broadcasters such as BBC and Sky. Together, albert provides the film and TV industries with the expertise, advise and support to invest in sustainable production practices. The project aims for all UK screen content to be made in a way that benefits individuals, industry organisations and the planet.

What do we do? For us to gain accreditation we must provide evidence to show what we are doing and what we have done to reduce the carbon cost. Each production looks at specific ways to reduce the carbon cost of its activities. Obviously there are some things such as air travel that cannot be compromised. Because of this, we work very hard in the office to reduce our carbon footprint.

Last year we partnered with Geneco’s Bio Bee – collecting all our food and organic waste to turn it into biofuel. So far they have collected enough waste from Icon Films to power their lorry from here to Munich!

Over the last two years we have saved over 160,000 sheets of paper by printing double-sided and making most of our meetings paper-free. It’s saved 65 boxes which equates to the height of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. We have a passionate Green Team who are constantly thinking of new things we can do and partnerships we can engage with such City to Sea, Zero Green, The Vegan Society, Incredible Edible and the Soil Association for lunch and learns – helping to inspire our staff and give top tips to reduce our carbon imprint both at work and at home.

We’re determined to see Bristol become a Gold Sustainable Food City and have signed up to Going for Gold. We have put into place 13 actions so far – including:

  • swapping the majority of our milk to plant-based and getting the rest delivered from a local dairy
  • buying local including cereal, herbal tea, coffee, flowers and fruit from nearby independent suppliers
  • as well as turning our inedible food waste into biofuel, we make sure anything edible is shared out to staff or gets donated to local homeless charities such as Street Life
  • working with Boston Tea Party, we have bought over 35 reusable coffee cups (so far BTP have saved 125,000 single use cups from landfill)
  • using our own Tupperware and jars to collect our monthly staff pitta lunches, saving over 189 takeaway cartons so far
  • making sure our staff events have a vegan option and all vegan drinks.

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