With the ever-increasing importance of sustainability, ensuring productions are as efficient and environmentally friendly as possible has become a focus of emphasis for the broadcast industry. We spoke to dock10 Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Culley, to find out about the company's own sustainability journey and what the future might hold.
There is a global movement for action on climate change, and our employees, their families and society at large rightly expect us to address these important social and environmental challenges – and we do. But there is no single solution, no one thing we can do to ‘be sustainable’. So, we need and have put in place a comprehensive, long-term sustainability strategy.
Through our ‘Commitment to Excellence’ statement we are resolved to operate a business that meets people's expectations on 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 deliver at the highest levels and meet all the expectations of our staff and our customers. 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. These are the result of tangible actions that speak so much louder than words. Indeed, sustainability pervades our entire business because we have embedded strong Environmental, Social and Governance policies and practices so deeply that they are now part of our company's DNA. Everything we do and every bit of kit we use is assessed for its efficiency and environmental impact. It's not only good for the environment it makes good business sense too!
For me, it's been the way so much change has been driven by the team here at dock10. Our people are passionate about making a difference and they actively wanted to do something about it. It started 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. We have built up a real momentum for sustainability at dock10 and I'm proud that it's been driven by the team.
When dock10 started 11 years ago, sustainability was very much a paper exercise for customers and suppliers. We were mostly asked about sustainability so they could 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. The growing popularity of remote production is a great example where broadcasters are benefitting from both cutting costs and cutting carbon emissions by not sending large teams on location across the country. There is definite progress – sustainability has shifted from something people needed to care about to something people really want to care about.
Along with the groundswell of passion from the team, the global pandemic certainly made everybody think differently about how things were done and this has had a positive impact on sustainability. Inevitably, everyone gets used to certain ways of working which can be a barrier to change – no matter how much of an improvement change offers. But the pandemic forced us to do things differently and I think we've become more open to new ideas as a result. Ideas about remote working, for example, were 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. In those dark days, that was certainly a boost. And 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.
We're always looking for new ways to reduce 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 5% each year, becoming carbon neutral by the end of 2025, immediately offsetting any imbalance, and minimising waste while maximising recycling.
One aspect I'm particularly proud of is our tree planting. We are a net zero carbon building, third party verified against the UK Green Building Council's 2019 definition. 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 the building – an enormous 12,500 square meters. These trees have been grown from seed and planted as part of their globally important tree corridors project that joins up isolated patches of rainforest. dock10's trees will help form a wildlife corridor which enables endangered species such as the jaguar and black lion tamarin to move between areas. This brings environmental benefits beyond carbon offsetting – and to me that epitomises dock10's whole approach to sustainability.