Sustainability is a key area of concern for the video industry, as it should be for every industry. There is a growing awareness across the industry that everyone has a responsibility to affect change, be it on a personal, corporate or industry level. We’re currently witnessing the effects of global warming first hand, and it’s clear that awareness on its own is not enough. Action is needed.
Last month, Helen Weedon, Managing Director, Radical Moves, met with Bleuenn LeGoffic, VP Strategy and Business Development, Accedo, Chris Perkiss, Head of Operations, Cerberus Tech, and Tommy Flanagan, Editor, Faultline, to discuss what the video industry is doing to become more sustainable.
Can the broadcast industry influence change?
The industry is in an ideal position to drive forward positive change by raising awareness and positively influencing consumers through video content. The media industry has the opportunity to establish itself as a leader in this area. Influencing change is not only something that the industry has the potential to do externally. Large content providers and solution providers, in particular, also have a responsibility to influence change within the industry by helping and supporting smaller companies to achieve more sustainable ways of working.
What about the leading technology companies such as Microsoft, AWS and Google? Are they doing enough to really drive the agenda forward? Opinions on this differ. One of the key barriers that video providers face when trying to work more sustainably and reduce their carbon footprint is the lack of accurate real time data about emissions. This is an incredibly complex area and the data is difficult to compute because of the many variables involved. It is important that media organisations keep demanding the data from the big players because if the demand is there, they will continue to develop and refine systems until the data is more readily available.
Is video more sustainable now than before?
Despite the lack of regulation, there are a number of initiatives and organisations out there such as Science Based Targets Initiative, albert, and Greening of Streaming, which exist to support media companies to become more sustainable. While there is support out there, the difficulty comes, in part because of the complexity of the modern video ecosystem. With so many providers, solutions and variable components involved in every stage of video production, working out what current carbon footprints and determining what actions are required to reduce this is incredibly difficult.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, different parts of the industry, and different geographical regions, are at different points in their journey towards more sustainable ways of working. Production, for example, is one area that has generally speaking adopted much more sustainable ways of working over recent years. Broadly speaking, while some areas are operating more sustainably, overall, progress needs to accelerate.
How can video businesses get started on their sustainable journey?
For many businesses, the sheer size of the task in hand can be overwhelming, and this can make it hard to know where to start. However, with the support of organisations such as those mentioned already, it is actually relatively easy to get started. There are various tools available to assist with calculating carbon footprint, and these can be used to establish a baseline so that targets can be set and progress tracked. Some companies are choosing to go down the consultancy route – this was really apparent at IBC earlier on in the year because of the number of consultancies there offering exactly that service.
Operating sustainably is fast becoming a commercial requirement rather than just an ideal. In the not too distant future, whether you are a service provider or a technology vendor, if you’re not operating in a sustainable way, it’s going to be difficult to acquire customers and succeed as a business.
It’s clear that every business in the industry needs to begin the process of looking at the way they operate so that they can become more sustainable. However, sustainability is not something that companies are going to achieve overnight. It takes time and will be a gradual process. What is absolutely key, is that we all leave the start line before it is too late.
Listen to the Radical Moves Broadcast Unscripted sustainability podcast in full here.