While brands like Patagonia and others have been shouting about the climate crisis for decades now, it’s time for brands to get serious about their sustainability goals and form a solid strategy to meet them. With just under 100 days until COP26 here in Glasgow, below are three things brands can incorporate into their sustainability strategy to help tackle the climate crisis.

1. Take a closer look at virtual production

As we said recently (that’s 2020-speak for nearly a year ago now) virtual production is changing the way brands and the wider film industry are creating content. This is happening not just because it’s often faster and more cost-effective but because more and more, sustainability is a hallmark for mature brands the world over and virtual production has the potential to reduce carbon emissions versus traditional film production by over 99% — kinda like it did for this *actually recent* film we created:

Produced in partnership with Quite Brilliant and Arts Alliance at Garden Studios, which is London’s first virtual production studio, we were able to shoot this film with a carbon footprint of less than 1% of a traditional multi-location shoot. To be exact, the figures for this shoot were 0.74 CO₂e versus 94.82 CO₂e as verified by ALBERT who are the leading authority on environmental sustainability for the film industry and work with brands the likes of Netflix, BBC, ITV and many more. 

graph showing the sustainability of virtual production and how it produces less than 1% of carbon emissions versus a multi-location shoot

While this makes virtual production, as the kids would say, ‘pretty sus’ (which is, of course, short for ‘sustainable’) we realise this may not be enough to convince some. That’s why you should consider this – we were able to shoot this film on one stage in two days instead of what would have otherwise been a five-day multi-location shoot, jetting folk all over the map. That makes the virtual production option not only faster but more cost-effective, too. But don’t take our word for it—check out this short film from behind the scenes going over what virtual production is and the many benefits for brands:

We are so excited to showcase the real impact of virtual production with this project. No longer do we need to drag crews around the world driving up carbon emissions. For a virtual production, there are no flights required—just one volume, one studio, and the power of real-time game engine technology.

Our Founder & CEO, Andrew Dobbie

While virtual production is definitely a step in the right direction for helping brands to create sustainable content, it should be said that it’s not the end-all-be-all for content production. Location shooting still very much has its place, but virtual production is an amazing new gadget in our content production tool belt. It can help us to collectively take on the climate crisis and meet our sustainability goals one shoot at a time.

2. Get started on your B Corp

As we’ve said elsewhere, brands are like people in so many ways. Think about it:

– People have a tone of voice they use depending on what they’re saying and who they’re saying it to. So do brands.

– People use their clothes to tell the world about who they are and how they see themselves. Us humans call it fashion – brands call it a visual style.

– How do people recognise their friends, family, and colleagues? By their face, of course! Brands have faces too, but we usually call it a logo or a brand mark.

Makes sense, right? 

But those aren’t the only similarities. Just like people, brands are born, then they grow and mature through one life stage to the next.

As brands mature, their potential for impacting the world (think power, profit, and the ubiquity of their offering) grows with it. Brands start to divert more time, energy, and effort into manifesting their purpose and making their mark on the world. But it isn’t enough to talk the talk – brands need to walk the walk, too—and be able to prove it. That’s where the B-corp comes in.

While the B Corp community exists to reduce inequality, lower levels of poverty, build stronger communities, and a whole host of other good things, there are also rigorous sustainability requirements those awarded a B Corp need to meet. 

Where non-profits and governments can only do so much to further these efforts, brands like Etsy, Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, illy, Sipsmith, and nearly 5,000 other brands from around the globe have been certified as leading the business world and being forces for good—and soon (dut-dada-dahhh!) we’ll be joining them. So watch this space or, better yet, get to work on certifying your own business right here.

3. Be flexible, and stay that way

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that the old ways of working were too restrictive and rigid, which is why earlier this year we announced the launch of our Flexible Working policy, part of which includes a ‘Flexi-Desk’ (aka, our work from anywhere*) policy. 

It’s easy to see how not mandating that everyone on our team commute to and from the studio every. single. day. is a big win for sustainability, even if there are only 50 of us at the moment.

*We’re currently trialling getting people back into the studio every Tuesday and Wednesday

As the world has started to open back up in recent months, some are opting not to head back into the office. But can you imagine the future cumulative environmental impact if the majority of businesses that have been working remotely are able to stick to it? We sure can, and the future is bright, so let’s keep it that way.

Read more:
Procam Take 2
British Cinematographer

How we can help you

Our in-house content production team have created engaging, strategy-led films and animations for some of the world’s most ambitious brands. We can help you, too.

Considering virtual production to meet your sustainability objectives? Get in touch
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