It is of the upmost importance to us that environmental sustainability is embedded in the way our programmes are made and that production processes support our ambitions to be a net zero broadcaster. We have a duty to ensure we are keeping our environmental impact to a minimum and we aim to do everything we can to help and encourage the producers we work with to put the environment at the forefront of their programme making.
We work with the BAFTA albert consortium, an association of 13 of the UK’s largest production companies and broadcasters to achieve this, and bake sustainability into our production process with these requirements:
- Albert certification is mandatory for all new commissions and recommissions of content for TV broadcast from January 2022. Completion of both the albert carbon footprint and carbon action plan are fundamental parts of the certification process.
- Productions commissioned for TV broadcast before January 2022 which are unable to undertake a carbon action plan must complete the albert carbon footprint as a minimum.
- An albert carbon footprint is required for digital video content eg content commissioned for YouTube or iPlayer only. In these cases, certification is encouraged but not mandatory.
- In all categories limited exemptions apply for very short, low budget or acquired content. See below for details.
We expect the senior members of a production team to lead on environmental sustainability. We recommend the free online BAFTA albert sustainability training: 'sustainable production' or 'sustainability in editorial'. These two hour courses can be booked via the albert website.
This page offers specific guidance on how productions meet our albert requirements, and the limited exemptions.
For a run through of the complete process across editorial and programme production see the BBC end-to-end sustainability guide.
Find out more about the BBC’s sustainability strategy and how we support the creative sector to achieve this on the Commissioning website.
From January 2022 all new commissions and recommissions are required to complete albert certification, including content from Television, the Nations, Children’s and Education, BBC Film and non-News related Sport. The certification process is explained in full on BAFTA’s albert website. Using the albert carbon calculator to calculate a production’s carbon footprint and delivering a carbon action plan to reduce emissions are both essential parts of albert certification.
Programmes commissioned before January 2022 and unable to undertake a carbon action plan must complete the albert carbon footprint as a minimum.
Exemptions from the carbon footprint and certification requirements:
- Where the total programme rights license fee (PRLF) for the entire project (all episodes) is less than £50,000.
- Where the PRLF is over £50,000 but the total, aggregated duration of the programmes or entire series is under 15 minutes.
- Programmes made entirely from archive footage and reversions involving post-production only, and no specially shot material.
For co-productions where the BBC is a minority funder (providing less than 50% of the budget), certification is encouraged but not mandatory. Foreign based indies are similarly encouraged to use albert or an equivalent local scheme if available in their territory, but certification is not mandatory. See the albert website for more information on albert international.
For rolling or continuing series we would expect certification to be introduced as soon as practically possible from January, but certainly no later than contract renewal. Please contact albert to discuss. Continuing series usually complete certification annually at the start of each financial year.
Fast-turnaround and live programmes can be certified, but we advise productions to get in touch with albert as soon as possible to discuss. If the speed of production means any of the criteria prove difficult to meet then they will be considered as part of albert’s 'best efforts' approach (see below).
Programmes which are exempt at the point of commission maintain their exemption, even if they subsequently fulfil the criteria for mandatory certification (for example by extending their length), as certification cannot be applied for retrospectively.
We and albert understand that each production is unique and what can be delivered in terms of sustainability will vary. The nature of individual titles, the location and size of the company, and the surrounding production infrastructure will all affect the availability and viability of certain actions.
For that reason, BAFTA’s albert advisors certify each production on a title by title basis according to how the company have delivered on that specific title, and the certification process allows for a 'best efforts' approach. This will be based on the producer influencing outcomes where they can and making the strongest sustainability choices possible, but understanding that ultimately there may be limitations that are outside of the producer’s control.
albert will not penalise producers for the following:
- A lack of facilities, or other restrictions, in a particular location where a production or company is based.
- Scenarios where clear barriers to emission reduction measures are the responsibility of others (or resolving these barriers would be part of a bigger infrastructure change).
In these cases, certification will not automatically be withheld. Instead, where the sustainable action is mandatory, evidence will be sought to demonstrate the producer has taken all measures that are reasonably within their control to address the barrier.
Getting started with albert
There are three core components to albert certification:
- Completing an albert carbon footprint to measure your emissions
- Developing a carbon action plan to reduce your emissions
- Offsetting any residual emissions you can’t eliminate
The key to a smooth process is getting started as early as possible. If productions leave engagement to the last minute they risk being unable to fulfil their requirement to attain certification.
We suggest that when a production goes through the commissioning process, or ideally in the development stage, they set up a company albert account as soon as they can. Once this has been created a nominated member of the production company acts as albert admin and can issue logins to the platform for other staff. Contact albert to set up an albert company account and logins for staff.
As soon as possible, no matter how small the initial team, the draft carbon footprint should be completed. This can be based on budget and is an initial estimate only, which can subsequently be refined during the production process. The carbon action plan starter questions should be reviewed and considered on the basis of what the senior team on the production judge to be achievable environmental actions. The action plan should only be submitted to albert once the programme editorial is confirmed, as unlike the footprint it can’t be updated.
Both the carbon footprint and action plan are important resources that should be discussed with the BBC Commissioning representative as part of the commissioning process. A line for carbon offsets (see below) should be included in the production budget.
Live or fast-turnaround programmes should contact albert for advice as soon as they can re the best process.
Creating an albert carbon footprint is the first stage of albert certification, and is mandatory for all productions, excluding the limited exemptions listed above.
Footprints are created using the albert carbon calculator and the final one must be submitted within six weeks of the final episode delivery, but ideally at programme delivery.
A draft carbon footprint form should be created during pre-production. This is not mandatory, but will help significantly during the commissioning process, when discussing sustainability plans with the Commissioning representative and when completing the final footprint form. In general, getting to know the information required for the albert carbon calculator in advance will make it easier to complete the final form and will help inform decisions on how best to cut the carbon footprint during production.
Completing the carbon footprint form requires the input of data such as a production’s travel, accommodation, energy use in studios or on location, staffing and time in post-production. Familiarity with the information required early in the production process ensures that the right data is collected during the course of production.
The carbon footprint can either be regularly updated throughout the production process or completed in one go at the end. However, collecting the required information throughout the production process will make it significantly easier to fill in the final form and have it ready to submit to albert in good time to receive the albert logo for end credits.
The calculator can be found at https://calc.wearealbert.org.
The completed carbon footprint form must be checked and approved by the production company’s nominated albert reviewer for accuracy. It will then be automatically directed to an external auditor for a standard assurance review. Once audited and approved, the nominated albert reviewer will receive an automated email from firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Final carbon footprint has been approved’ in the subject line.
It is then the production company’s responsibility to forward this email to their BBC delivery contact. This must be done within six weeks of the final episode delivery, and ideally at the point of delivery.
The carbon action plan
Going beyond the carbon footprint, the carbon action plan helps productions identify how they can reduce their emissions.
If possible, once your production company has a BAFTA albert account, nominate one member of staff as the main liaison for all things related to albert. Their first role will be to talk the production through the list of yes/no questions within the online carbon action plan. Depending on the programme genre, answers to these questions will guide the production to where environmental actions can be embedded. This will then form the basis of the production’s carbon action plan to reduce their environmental impact. By nominating an ‘albert expert’ within a production company this person can also develop the knowledge to guide successive productions on how to upload evidence of their sustainable actions.
Once a title has been commissioned/green lit, the production should ensure that the completed online carbon action plan is submitted to albert. albert will respond with a request for evidence, which the production team needs to gather and upload online during the production process.
The production should also continue to update the carbon footprint. Ideally both the carbon footprint and the submission of carbon action plan evidence should be completed before the offline edit. This allows albert time to approve the action plan evidence so that the albert certification logo is ready to include in a programme’s end credits. Please note, albert typically require a minimum of two weeks between the receipt of evidence and the issuing of the logo, though there is some flexibility specifically for fast-turnaround programmes if discussed in advance.
If your production is struggling to understand the process or over specific requirements please consult the albert on-line resources, training or contact the albert team at BAFTA direct on email@example.com.
Offsetting your emissions is now a compulsory part of the BAFTA albert certification process.
The first step is for all productions to estimate their offsetting costs on their production budget at the point of commission, using one of the methods below:
- Based on the average figure of 0.1% of a production’s overall budget (this % can vary by genre).
- Using the estimator tool on albert’s Creative Offsets website.
- Using the draft carbon footprint figure and a cost of £9 per CO2et of emissions.
When the final footprint is completed at the end of the production the accurate offset cost can be calculated, recorded in the production budget and paid.
All independent production companies should either pay their offset via BAFTA albert’s Creative Offsets programme, at a cost of £9 per tonne CO2e, or by choosing a Tested offsetting scheme of their own.
Once the offset cost is paid productions are eligible for certification.
At the end of the process, once the carbon footprint and carbon action plan evidence have been submitted for review, productions will be assessed by albert based on how many of the agreed actions in the action plan have been implemented, the quality of their evidence and the level of sustainability achieved - indicated by the star rating awarded based on questions answered (between one and three stars).
Having submitted their carbon footprint form and carbon action plan, paid their offsetting costs and received albert certification, productions can use the albert certification logo on their programme endboard. This will be provided by albert and shows that sustainable best practices have been embedded in the production. Please the see the Credits and branding page for logo requirements and positioning.
Productions must forward the albert certification confirmation email to their BBC delivery contact within six weeks of final episode delivery (or as soon as possible before then if they wish to use the albert certification logo on their endboard).
Please note: submission of a final carbon footprint alone does not entitle a programme to use the albert certification logo on their endboard. A production must have completed the entire albert certification process (footprint, carbon action plan and offsetting) to be eligible to use the logo. As certification is mandatory for all commissions from January 2022 we expect every programme commissioned from then (bar exemptions) to qualify for and use the albert logo.
Contact the albert team at BAFTA on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The BBC’s Sustainability team is here to help if you have any questions. Contact the team on email@example.com.
See the BBC end-to-end sustainability guide for a run through of the process across editorial and programme production. Editorial resources can also be found on the Commissioning website sustainability area.
Watch recordings from the BBC Climate Creatives festival for a wealth of information on sustainable production and inspiration for how sustainability can be incorporated into editorial along with further resources on the BBC Academy website.
Best practice guidance, recommendations, case studies and useful tips for making productions sustainable can be found on the albert website, along with information about how to document and evidence the sustainability within a production and how to complete the albert carbon footprint calculator.
The BAFTA albert Consortium offers free training covering the big picture of climate change, what it means for the TV industry and what individuals can do to make a difference. Book a place via the albert website.
Find general delivery contacts at the BBC on the contacts page.
Please note the BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.