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Lights, camera, climate action: TV & film industry toolkit launched to help bring green propaganda to the screen

By Dennis Ambler

Industry initiative Albert launches bid to support editors, writers, and commissioners in improving climate content across the UK film and TV industry

 A new tool aimed at helping editors working in TV and film to “authentically bring the climate into their programmes” has been launched today by industry initiative Albert.

The toolkit allows writers, editors, commissioners, and others working in the sector to choose their programme’s genre before answering a series of questions in order to assess how ‘planet friendly’ the TV show or film they are developing is likely to prove. It also offers advice through case studies and impact reports to further inspire ideas for how to effectively incorporate climate-related issues in their content, according to Albert.

In addition, the BAFTA-affiliated climate initiative is offering editorial training to anyone in the industry, including recommendations based on subtitling data from the UK’s broadcasters, in a bid to better understand the prominence of climate change – and related subjects – on TV and cinema screens.

It follows the launch of the Climate Content Pledge at COP26, which was signed by the CEOs of 12 broadcasters and streaming service firms in the UK and Ireland, who have committed to delivering both more and better climate storytelling on screen.

A number of recent impact and case studies – including the most recent UN IPCC report – highlight how storytelling and TV programmes have the power to “create change in real life“, according to Albert.

As an example, it pointed to the most recent series of HBO’s popular drama Succession, which featured a storyline that saw one of the characters donate money to Greenpeace in their will. The storyline helped to drive a 10-fold surge in traffic to Greenpeace’s legacy page, according to Albert.

The “Albert” logo is now at the bottom of the credits on many TV programmes.

The creative industries offer the greatest opportunity to mobilise positive action for the planet. We are 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.

They quote the Climate Change Committee CEO: — Chris Stark – Chief Executive, Climate Change Committee

“Our journey to Net Zero is essential and entirely possible, but it can feel baffling and fraught for many. The TV industry is crucial in helping us to realise the future we must create – it can do it through a drama, a comedy or a quiz show – it can help us imagine our future in a way other industries cannot. The opportunity is huge, and it must not be missed.”

TV – a secret superpower? Can we nudge to Net Zero?

Mass media, such as television, can play a pivotal role in encouraging consumers to decarbonise.

The majority of future emissions reductions – 63% – will need to come from changes in how we travel, how we power and heat our homes, what we eat, and what we buy. It seems only logical that broadcasters should use their unique platform to improve viewer knowledge, challenge their attitudes, and inspire them to take action against climate change.