In October 2018, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) announced that we have 12 years to limit a climate change catastrophe. This felt like a huge wake-up call to Locate and as a company, we’re responding to the climate crisis by creating a culture where sustainability is at the heart of all we do.
We’re keeping track of our efforts and teaming up with like-minded companies and suppliers to learn more, share ideas and help find solutions. Here’s an overview of our sustainability journey so far:
In order to learn more about what is being done in the industry, we attended our first Ad Green event. Ad Green is an initiative launched by the Advertising Association (AA) in partnership with Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) that aims to eliminate the negative environmental impacts of production.
We became an affiliated member of Albert, a carbon-calculator designed by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and with their support, we hosted a carbon literacy training day for our staff, freelancers and regular suppliers. Whilst Albert was originally created for the film and TV industry to help calculate the total amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere as a direct result of making the programme, we use it for our stills photographic and small moving image shoots.
We started using Pedal Me for couriers, which produce 90% less CO2 compared with cars and vans as well as switching to Green Tomato Cars for taxis and cabs, who are London’s first and largest hybrid car service. They also double offset their carbon emissions.
We invested in more KeepCups and water bottles to take on shoots (and use in the office). This investment, as well as waste reduction, has been a great conversation starter and helps create a zero waste culture on our shoots. March 2019 also saw our sister company Gripvan invest in a motor-assisted delivery bike to help reduce their transport emissions.
Filming on location with Adam Hinton, we helped produce an awareness video for Global Action Plan. The film highlighted the issues of people living in heavily polluted areas and promoted National Air Pollution day (which takes place on the third Thursday of June every year):
This month, we attended another Ad Green event. Sharing ideas, gaining knowledge, networking and communicating are all essential in helping create positive change in the industry. We also attended an event for sustainable set design at BAFTA. It was great to hear about the work Dresd are doing with recycling and reusing sets.
Whilst we’ve always tried to use local caterers who provide seasonal menus, June 2019 saw us make the conscious decision to implement a vegetarian option as standard, on shoots. A vegetarian meal is less than a kilogram of carbon whilst fish and meat dishes can produce anything between 1.6-14 times more.
We trialled a 2kw VOLTstack battery systems on a shoot for Jaguar around the UK and on an 18 hour time-lapse shoot in the city to power laptops. As well as being silent, not needing fuel and avoiding cable runs, we think it saved approx 10kg of CO2 per day for 6 days.
As per a recommendation from the Creative Energy scheme, we switched our energy supplier to Good Energy. This saves an approximate 3.2 tonnes of CO2 per annum. Which? ranked Good Energy top of their report on UK renewable energy suppliers. Good Energy guarantee all energy is traceable to a UK generation source.
We delivered a 2 minute film and a suite of still images for an organisation called The Sailboat Project who are using sail cargo to transport produce around the world. This particular project showed the delivery of olives, olive oil and almonds. Many thanks to Adrian Wolfson and Stephen Ambrose for their help in capturing the arrival of the boat into Newhaven harbour.
September 2019 also saw us take part in the Worldwide Climate Crisis Strike. We closed our offices and took to the streets of London and Brighton to join millions of people around the world striking on behalf of the planet. One of our banners quoted Kate Marvel: “We need courage, not hope, to face climate change”.
We attended a Purpose Disruptors action event. Purpose Disruptors are a network of advertising insiders whose goal is to: ‘create a visible, large scale, bottom-up movement within the industry, that will act in solidarity to meaningfully tackle climate change’. This was another key moment in our journey. How to tackle the industry we service has felt like the biggest issue, so to find a group of talented people with great ideas on what can be done to change the ad industry in a way that supports a sustainable planet was brilliant.
We implemented an optional ‘1% for the Planet’ to our invoices to go towards sustainability projects. We don’t feel carbon offsetting is a solution and we don’t have the software in place to accurately calculate our emissions. However, we appreciate that we need to be supporting projects that help absorb carbon from the atmosphere – such as planting trees, growing kelp forests and developing other biodiversity projects. Our present project is a reforestation scheme in Romania called Forests without Frontiers. Thank you to all the clients that have been happy supporting us with this. This scheme has been instrumental in developing conversations we wouldn’t otherwise have had.
We attended the one-day Meaning Conference in Brighton. The six core themes to the conference are: Planet Positive Business, Progressive Economics, The Future of Work, Personal Growth, Disruptive Innovation & Modern Leadership.
One of the workshops was run by a group called Business Declares who are helping advise businesses on how they can declare a climate emergency. We learnt about how companies are registering for B Corporation status, which is an alternative way of evaluating the success of a business based on the principles of people, planet and profit.
Our monthly newsletter showcased a photographic project we facilitated with a Brighton-based mobile farm shop called The Sussex Peasant. Shot by a wonderful photographer Jack Boniface, the photos help showcase the locally produced, seasonally grown, low meat produce which are essential in order to tackle the climate crisis.
We switched our web hosting to a supplier that uses renewable energy called Erjjio Studios. Powering the internet is responsible for 2% of global carbon emissions; roughly the same footprint from global aviation fuel emissions. This month, we also hosted a discussion group about developing a wardrobe styling store. Based on the ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ principle this will help reduce the emissions created from deliveries and collections, as well as cut back on the amount of wardrobe bought and returned on shoots.
During the Covid-19 lockdown, our production department did a training session with Albert using their carbon calculator. Using 8 sample productions from the past 2 years the results showed that on average Transport was responsible for approx. 70% – 80% of carbon emissions from our shoots.
We participated in the Great Reset initiative; a creative industry movement that aims to embed the positive environmental shifts that have happened during lockdown as ‘the new normal’. It’s estimated that the pause and slowdown of consumption, shopping and flying caused by the lockdown will result in a 7% decrease in global emissions in 2020. The UN states that we need a decrease of 7.6% every year until 2030 to avoid climate and ecological disaster.
A summary of our work and efforts so far was included in the Ad Net Zero report. Ad Net Zero is an industry-wide, not-for-profit initiative led by the Advertising Association, the IPA and the ISBA which aims to reduce the carbon impact of developing, producing, and running UK advertising to real net zero by the end of 2030. You can download, read more and sign up to the Ad Net Zero scheme on the Advertising Associations’ website.