Posted on 19th May 2020

New COVID working practices (and what it means for sustainability)

New guidelines for getting the Film and TV Industry back to work have been published. But what does it mean for the sustainability and more specifically, albert Certification?

Welcome to the new normal

As we begin to make our way out of lockdown, we’re faced with a new set of challenges and a new way of filming.  Guidelines published set out how productions can restart while keeping everyone as safe as possible.

Lots of people have got in touch with us, worried that the new guidance is at odds with the changes they’ve been trying to implement for years and that it’ll impede on their ability to gain albert Certification.

Below we lay out some of the challenges you might face as you try to incorporate sustainability  measures into your new filming practices.

albert and COVID 19

albert is a science-led programme, advocating a similarly science-based approach to mitigating risk. The health and safety of cast and crew is paramount and we support the new guidelines to allow our industry to get back to work.

albert seeks to use sustainability to help make a production financially and environmentally efficient. albert Certification is an easy, enjoyable and flexible system, to be used by all genres and under all conditions, this is achieved by:

*Striving to establish principles, rather than mandating actions
*Suggesting a large number of possible positive actions from which to score points.
*Requesting attainable levels of evidence

… all of which accommodates real-world production challenges.

Changes to working practices in light of COVID-19 can appear at odds with a lot of the sustainability measures that productions now put in place as standard, and it’s true that we may well have to accept an increase of single use items for a while. That said, stepping back to look at our working practices also gives us the opportunity to explore other areas where we can reduce environmental impact. Below we highlight some of the areas you might consider whilst also keeping cast and crew safe – which must be the top priority.

Principal Covid Considerations


It’s likely that we’ll see an increase in the use of private cars over and above public transport in the coming months with car sharing also unlikely. In albert certification, opting for vehicle sharing and public transport is one possible (but not mandatory) action. It carries 4 (out of 195) possible points so can be easily opted out of if needs be. Where private cars are used, using hybrid or electric vehicles will help keep your footprint down.

Working abroad or even further afield in the UK will be much trickier in the coming months so now is the time to consider hiring local crews and building up a relationship with competent crews around the world. 

Catering and Craft Services

Plastic has relatively little impact on carbon footprints, either at home or at work. albert Certification mandates that productions ‘reduce’ the use of single use plastic, especially in catering. In the context of covid, this is taken to mean ‘reduce to safe levels.’ At the same time, albert Certification encourages and awards more points for actions on activities with a higher carbon footprint (studio power, generators, vehicle choice, etc.), so a temporary return to single use does not impact heavily on certification score. 


Clear communication with a production team on the changes to work practices will now be more important than ever – albert Certification requires productions to send out a green memo so now is a good time to incorporate both sustainability and Covid planning and communication into the planning stages of a production. 


It’s possible that you will consider isolating a team in order to allow them to work closely together for a time. Hiring a house carries a lower carbon footprint than individual hotel rooms and can provide knock on benefits in terms of costs and rapport amongst the team.

Planet Placement

albert Certification asks productions to consider the representation of issues with environmental implications on-screen. This is especially relevant in the context of Covid, as high carbon activities are often high cost (i.e. holidays abroad, meat, fashion) As we are likely to enter a recession it becomes even more appropriate not to promote unattainable activities and preserve editorial authenticity, relevance and attainability.

albert Training

albert certification requests that production attend albert training, all our courses have now moved online and occur 2-3 times a week.


We can’t even think about sustainability right now, can I still get certified?

In short, no. If you can’t incorporate sustainability measures into your production then we can’t award you with our Certification.

But take a look at the questions, it is likely that you will be able to meet them relatively easily.

Running a sustainable production does not require significantly more effort or cost. It requires focussed decisions to be made at the right time (ideally in advance) that allow the production to be produced in the lowest impact, and often the most efficient way possible.


We don’t know what other challenges we might face, we don’t want to fail. What shall we do?

Certification is not an automated process. We have a team who understand the nature of production and the current challenges. We are flexible and here to help.

Our score is lower than usual, because there aren't as many actions we can take. What can we do to get more points?

Certification exists to reward actions that productions hae taken to reduce their footprint. If actions haven’t been taken then we can’t award the points. Although it might seem at odds to have a lower score when your footprint is naturally lower, you will still receive the albert logo or your endboard.

Find out more about albert Certification

Read the full set of questions