Subscribe to the daily newsletter.

Comment: Sustainability in broadcast – dock10’s story

Andrew Culley, dock10 COO

Andrew Culley, COO at MediaCity studio facility dock10, home to hit shows including University Challenge, Lingo and Deal or No Deal, tells Prolific North about how the studio plans to be carbon neutral by the end of 2025, and how covid delivered an unexpected sustainability boost.

“With the global movement for action on climate change, employees within the broadcast industry rightly expect the companies they work for and work with to be playing their part.

This groundswell of concern has led dock10 to address important environmental challenges: ensuring productions are as efficient and environmentally friendly as possible has become a focus of emphasis for us and is driving our ongoing sustainability journey.

When dock10 started, sustainability was very much a paper exercise for customers and suppliers. If we were asked about sustainability at all it was to complete forms for industry tick boxes. But the world has changed and today people really care about sustainability – they really want to know what we are doing and to understand the impact of what they are doing.

Customers and suppliers are constantly looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and we find that they are increasingly making decisions about workflow and productions based on minimising their environmental impact.

Of course, there is no single solution, no one thing we or anyone can do to ‘be sustainable’. So, at the heart of our journey is a comprehensive, long-term sustainability strategy. Through our Commitment to Excellence statement we are resolved to operate a business that delivers sustainability both in principle and in action.

Across everything we do, our systems are regularly and independently assessed against national and international best-practice standards to ensure they are delivering at the highest levels and meeting all the expectations of our staff and our customers.

This has driven a raft of sustainable improvements. Low-carbon choices are used for commuting, business travel and the supply chain, including the cycle to work scheme, minimising business travel, enabling home working and buying from local suppliers.

We use materials from sustainable and environmentally friendly sources and procure energy-efficient products and services. We are a net zero carbon building, and we are proud to hold several UKAS accredited certifications including ISO 50001 Energy Management and ISO 14001 Environmental Management. Everything we do and every bit of kit we use is assessed for its efficiency and environmental impact. It’s what our customers, suppliers and employees expect from us.

An interesting boost to our sustainability journey came from the global pandemic. It made everybody think differently about how things were done, breaking down barriers to change and bringing new and more sustainable ways of working. Ideas about remote working, for example, had been hard to get over the line but, overnight, we went from “we could do this” to “we must do this” We quickly embraced new technologies and processes that enabled us to work effectively from anywhere – to edit from anywhere.

Similarly, remote gallery technology enabled major events to happen in a safe way. We’d trialled remote production as an innovation to support the drive for efficiency and sustainability, and just a few weeks later in lockdown it proved itself by successfully delivering the FA Cup Final to the nation. The benefits of this are still with us: remote production is still popular, remote working is still widespread, and I think we are all that bit more open to changes including those that support sustainability.

Perhaps what has impressed me most on our journey is how much is being driven from the grass roots by the team here at dock10. For example, they came up with the simple idea of removing all the bottled water and plastic cups. As a leader my job is to empower people to make positive changes and this one had a really big impact. The team and our customers loved that we’d eliminated so much single-use plastic and those hard to recycle water dispensers that offices have trucked in from miles away.

The knock-on effect was amazing. It inspired people throughout dock10 to want to improve the areas they were responsible for – from replacing old inefficient lighting with low-energy LEDs across the company to installing more efficient kit in the racks rooms to use less power.

This movement developed into a specially formed Sustainability Working Group that now oversees and guides our efforts, challenging the way we do things and putting in place policies and structures that support and grow our commitment to sustainability.

And it’s a commitment that continues to grow. We are always looking for new ways to cut our carbon footprint, it’s become second nature to always assess and improve our processes and equipment so that we minimise our environmental impact. Working with staff, clients and partners we are reducing our carbon footprint by five per cent each year, and will become carbon neutral by the end of 2025. We are immediately offsetting any imbalance, and minimising waste while maximising recycling. These are determined goals with tangible effects, and commitments to which everyone can and does contribute.

But we want to do more than just avoid having a negative impact, we want to have a positive impact on the environment. Working with IPE, we have planted 2,500 trees in the Atlantic rainforest of Brazil to create an area of forest that is the same size as the physical footprint of our building – an enormous 12,500 square meters. What’s more, these trees are planted as tree corridors that crucially join up isolated patches of rainforest to help preserve endangered species such as the jaguar and black lion tamarin. This brings environmental benefits beyond carbon offsetting – and to me that epitomises dock10’s whole approach to sustainability.

The broadcast industry has the power to reach and influence almost every person on the planet, giving us the responsibility to lead by example. At dock10 we recognise the important role we play and rise to it by actively promoting social and environmental sustainability in everything we do.

Whether driven by industry regulation or by the passion of colleagues and customers, dock10’s sustainability journey reflects the wider journey of the broadcast industry – and it’s a journey that is creating an even more inspirational place to work.”

Related News

Related Jobs

Head of Production

THG Studios

Account Executive / Senior Account Executive

Hough Bellis Communications