Switching your energy supplier is one of the easiest and most effective things you can do to lower the carbon footprint of your production company. We chatted to Neal Street Productions about why they were one of the first companies to join our Creative Energy Project and what else they’ve been doing to bring sustainability front and centre to their business.
For Neal Street, signing up to the energy project was a quick decision; a champion and member of the albert consortium (through All3media) they were already using the albert calculator on productions such as Call the Midwife and had begun to make albert certification a compulsory part of their production process too.
Like many companies, Neal Street hadn’t given any thought to their energy supplier prior to the Creative Energy Project which is no surprise – for many of us whether it’s at home or the office, being sustainable is usually confined to the things we can see in front of us (recycling plastics, using ecological cleaning products, etc) we don’t think about the other ways we can also make a difference like investigating who supplies our energy, who we bank with or where our pension is being invested – but once albert explained that Neal Street could reduce its carbon footprint by switching to a 100% renewable energy supplier the decision to make the change was a no brainer. ‘As soon as we understood the environmental benefits then it was an easy decision for us to make.’ Says Milly Leigh, Head of Production at Neal Street
And much like switching bank accounts, the switch to a new energy supplier was easy and seamless.
Joining the Creative Energy Project is just one of a number of initiatives that Neal Street has undertaken in a bid to be more sustainable. As with any successful change, the drive needs to come from the top so it helps that Director and Founder of Neal Street Productions, Pippa Harris, who is also Chair of BAFTA – is a big champion of albert too. Her own ethos is that we should be doing ‘as much as we feasibly can’ to make our industry green and that starts with her own company and productions.
The positive effects of albert are most easily seen on Call the Midwife which has been using albert as a tool to help reduce its carbon footprint since season 6, (they’re currently filming season 9.)
As Milly explains, ‘Now we have sustainability measures in place, it’s relatively simple. We try to do more each year of course but a lot of it is about maintaining the practices we’ve put in place already. We electronically distribute paperwork as much as possible and have an ‘opt in’ system for hard copies. We issue crew with their own water bottles so there is no need for plastic etc.’.
For Neal Street’s most recent drama for BBC, Informer, for which they received a three star certification, the overall efforts to reduce the carbon footprint also saved the production £37,000.
Neal Street has also turned its attention to the films they produce.
The Film Industry is catching up but it’s not there yet’ admits Pippa ‘but we’re beginning to see the change. For the uninitiated in the film world, they immediately think that implementing ‘green’ measures will mean having to employ lots of extra people so there’s immediately a fear that it’ll become a costly exercise, but once we explain that this isn’t the case, they tend to get on board. We can’t pretend that making changes to the way that ‘things have always been done’ is easy, it does require extra effort but we believe it’s worth it’.
Neal Street’s current film project, 1917 is undertaking certification and is the first large scale film to do so.
If you’re interested to join our Creative Energy Project and switch to a 100% renewable energy supplier then please contact MichelleW@bafta.org