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

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 program’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.

“Our industry’s biggest opportunity to tackle the climate crisis is through the content we share on screen,” said Carys Taylor, director of Albert. “Not only can we support audiences to navigate this complex issue but we can explore themes and subjects which are more relevant to audiences than ever.

A number of recent impact and case studies – including the most recent UN IPCC report – highlighting how storytelling and TV programs 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.

Moreover, analysis of the impact of ITV show Love Island And its former fast fashion sponsors revealed that online searches of ‘marble dress’ and ‘hot pink co-ord’ increased by 127 per cent and 114 per cent respectively following the winning contestant wearing these items on the show. For the current series of the show, ITV has struck a partnership with ebay to promote pre-loved clothing.

A study by Sky and the Behavioral Insights team also found that 80 per cent of people across Europe support the idea of ​​broadcasters using content and advertising to encourage people to adopt more environmentally positive behaviours.

“We know audiences want this and for content creators and broadcasters to be relevant they’ll need to consider how their stories are impacted by the issue of all issues,” Taylor said. “This tool helps them to do that. Whether it’s a storyline about a career change, a home improvement show or sports coverage – climate stories can touch us all.”

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