Reducing your carbon footprint is not an entirely selfless act, suggests Will Strauss. Going green can also be good for your business.

This week in Broadcast it's Green week. There will be lots of articles in the magazine about environmental issues and what the TV industry is doing to reduce its carbon footprint.

I've written a piece that details what some equipment manufacturers are doing to be more green. From my research, I would say they're a fairly conscientious bunch doing everything from reducing the power outage on set-top boxes to making camcorders from recyclable materials. But then, many of them have to be because manufacturing is very power hungry.

But what I found really interesting is the reasons why they're ‘going green'. There are a number. Of course, the main one is because it helps to save the planet. But there are others, including it being good for business.

Evidence shows that social and environmental responsibility pays in the form of improved employee loyalty, better brand recognition and stronger community relations.

Clearly, you have to tell your customers that you're going green to reap the benefits, but that isn't too difficult - especially if you've got Broadcast writing articles about you.

Here's some proof that being green can pay.

  1. Social and environmental responsibility does pay off

  2. Attaining sustainable growth through corporate social responsibility (PDF)

  3. Corporate social responsibility pays

Large organisations often employ people specifically to deal with Green ‘stuff'. But what about small and medium sized companies? They probably can't afford those same dedicated green employees. Can they be green and in turn improve their business? Of course they can.

I'm going to look here at the post-production facilities market, not least because it's a market I know well.

While facilities are generally not involved in the creation of the technology, they cannot escape their responsibilities, as they're a huge user of energy sapping systems. These are just some of the things being done


Broadcast Post House of the year Envy has recently slashed its carbon emissions through a number of initiatives.

  • One example is the elimination of premium bottled water from its client services. The facility now uses a water filtration system (from a company called Greencare) and supplies drinking water by filtering, chilling - and even carbonating if required - mains fed water and bottling it in their own personalised Envy bottles.

  • It might sound simple but by doing this Envy has eradicated the associated 'water miles' of transporting bottled water around the country, as well as the time, hassle and storage space required to keep this amount of bottled water available for producer clients. It has also saved 60% on the price of water.

  • Water is not the only green focus for Envy. It has a progressive recycling program run by a third party that collects paper, glass, ink cartridges and plastic each day, it uses a carbon neutral taxi company and all unused suites are powered down in the evenings. Its engineers also try to reduce the amount of servers running at any one time, which also helps to reduce the amount of air cooling needed in those areas.

Ascent Media

  • Ascent Media, which owns and operates a swathe of post houses around the capital, has invested a huge amount in reducing its carbon footprint. It even commissioned the London Green 500 group - an initiative supported by the Mayor's office - to perform an evaluation and to provide a mentoring service to help it reduce emissions.

  • The company has started using lower voltage bulbs, has installed motion detection switches on lights, is making its electrical input ‘phase balanced' over the next year and, this is the big one, included short flush options on the toilets!

  • Interestingly, contractors working for Ascent also have to be environmentally friendly, signing up to an agreement that ensures that they pay a high regard to all environmental issues. Each contractor is vetted and staff can only use those on the approved supplier list.

  • The demands vary. Simple things like ensuring that all plant and equipment is properly maintained and that all non essential equipment is switched off when not in use are common. But there are bigger mandates, including the user of timber for construction projects, where the “use of supplies from sustainable sources must be considered and presented as an option.” Needless to say, materials or substances that are classified as ozone depleting, such as Halonm are banned at Ascent Media.

Concrete Post Production:

  • Concrete is another company made up of people that are environmentally responsible. Its list of initiatives is fairly extensive. These are just a handful: Christmas cards will be emailed this year, merchandise and promotional bags will be made from recycled paper, monitors are switched off when not in use and new dubbing mixer Dino Sofos uses an environmentally friendly electric scooter to get to work. And the poor old runners have to do exactly that, with cabs only being used as a last resort.

These are just some examples of how cleaning up your act doesn't need to be a grand gesture.

Green doesn't have to mean huge sustainability reports or making audio desks out of bamboo. It can mean using recycled packaging, turning lights off when suites aren't being used and doing some meetings on the phone rather than travelling to do them face-to-face.

Little things can make a difference.

What is your company doing to be more environmentally friendly? Let us know below.