Corrie wins inaugural production sustainability award

Stephen Chapman's picture
by Stephen Chapman

Coronation Street has become the first recipient of the Observer’s Ethical Award for the film and television industry.

Up against Springwatch and Film London’s Terminally Happy, the long-running series was recognised for having the “lowest possible environmental impact.”

“This is a very special and important award, one which we are all very proud to receive. Coronation Street has strived to improve the sustainability of every element of the production from how we power our site, to how we encourage electronic working for scripts and paperwork, to how we minimise waste and recycle wherever possible, to how we produce food, source costumes, and create sets,” said executive producer, Kieran Roberts.

“Without preaching, we also haven’t been afraid of engaging with our audience through storylines about sustainability, from Beth and Kirk's recycled wedding to Roy’s search for a local food supplier that led him to the allotment.

“Coronation street aims to be the first carbon literate television programme in the world and we are training all our cast and crew in carbon literacy to understand what it’s all about and how they can take control at work and at home. Our sustainability work is an ongoing journey and now an integral part of the day to day workings of the programme.”

The sustainability of television and film production has gained more publicity through BAFTA’s albert consortium, which encourages producers to think of their carbon footprint and impact on the environment.

According to one report, the combined carbon footprint of the media and technology sector is 2% of all global emissions. This is about the same as the aviation industry.

“Our judges were bowled over by Coronation Street's commitment and energy to greening TV and film production. From salvaging cobbles for the new set to LED studio lighting and renewable energy, to pioneering a carbon literacy programme for staff Corrie, is taking responsibility across every department and doesn't shy away from covering these issues on screen either,” added Lucy Siegle, founder of The Observer Ethical Awards.

“Many organisations are still saying, 'why should we change' – at ITV’s Corrie they're saying, 'why shouldn't we lead this debate!'  That's the spirit we love at the awards.”

Some of the improvements that Coronation Street has made include “normalising” of sustainable behaviour, with onscreen recycling bins and hobbies including upcycling.

The production team has built sets that can be recycled, so that single units can be used for numerous settings, through double sided signage.

It has also set a 30 mile maximum radius for filming off set to reduce travel.

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