Twelve of the U.K.’s biggest broadcasters will today pledge to use their content to educate audiences about the climate crisis at COP26, the ongoing United Nations climate change conference at Glasgow.
CEOs from BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Sky and STV will gather on Wednesday to promote climate story-telling on screen.
The Climate Content Pledge, which has been signed by CEOs from twelve of the U.K.’s biggest media brands (who, together, equate to 70% of U.K. audiences’ consumption of film and TV) , aims to help audiences “understand what tackling climate change might mean for them, as well as inspire and inform sustainable choices.”
The CEOs also plan to highlight how the screen industry can help audiences understand how to tackle climate change, that content must reflect the crisis and emphasise cross-industry collaboration.
As well as BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Sky and STV, the other signatories are Britbox International, Channel 5/ViacomicCBS U.K, RTÉ (Ireland), BBC Studios, Discovery U.K. & Eire, S4C, SKY Group and UKTV.
The pledge was convened by albert, a BAFTA-affiliated organization promoting cross-industry collaboration to encourage environmental sustainability in the screen industry which works on promoting both climate storytelling and sustainability on set.
“This pledge is a firm commitment from our industry to go further and faster to engage and inform audiences on the climate challenges we all face,” said BBC director-general Tim Davie in a statement ahead of the panel. “At the BBC we will continue to tell the stories that matter, like in our powerful new drama ‘The Trick,’ or help audiences consider greener choices through our best loved shows like ‘EastEnders’ and with new programmes such as ‘Shop Well for the Planet?’ – but we all have more to do and we must match these efforts off-screen too, which is why we’ve put plans in place to reach Net Zero by 2030.”
Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon added: “This is a pivotal time for broadcasters and for our audiences as we join together to tackle the climate crisis that affects us and future generations. Signing this pledge is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for broadcasters and programme makers to work together and use the power of content on every platform. By engaging our viewers and giving them the information they need, we can help them to make informed choices about living more sustainably.”
ITV CEO Carolyn McCall said: “From plant-based recipes on ‘Daytime’ to putting electric vehicles on ‘Emmerdale,’ ITV is committed to using our reach and world-class talent to make the transition to a sustainable future relevant and accessible for our audiences. This pledge is a demonstration of how an industry can work together to create real change.”
Carys Taylor, director of albert, added: “We are so proud to announce the launch of this pledge today. It represents a pivotal moment in our industry’s sustainability journey and is an acknowledgement of the screen industry’s huge opportunity and responsibility to enable all audiences to engage with solutions to tackling climate change through all kinds of content.”
Read the full pledge below:
THE CLIMATE CONTENT PLEDGE
Climate change presents enormous challenges which will affect us all.
With the Paris Climate Agreement, nations all over the world have committed to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects. To limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and avoid catastrophic runaway climate change, carbon emissions must be halved by 2030. The decisions that governments, businesses and individuals make now and over the next five years are crucial to setting a sustainable climate trajectory. While the situation is urgent and grave, it is not without hope – every tonne of emissions avoided or removed can prevent further damage.
We, as members of the global screen industry, have a crucial responsibility to help our audiences engage with these challenges.
Therefore, we commit to the following principles:
1. We will reach more of our audiences with content that helps everyone understand and navigate the path to net zero, and inspires them to make greener choices.
2. We will develop processes that help us to consider climate themes when we are commissioning, developing and producing content.
3. We will ensure that our efforts are informed by the science.
4. We will recognise the importance of fair and balanced representations of visions for a sustainable future.
5. We will work together:
1. learning from and inspiring each other
2. sharing relevant industry and audience insights and developing relevant metrics
3. improving how we measure our impact.
6. We will communicate regularly with our colleagues, partners, and audiences so that we can all play our part in meeting this shared challenge.
These overarching principles are the foundation of our commitment – in addition, each of us will develop and publish our own “company-specific commitment”. We’ll revisit this every year, to review progress against our plans and challenge ourselves and each other to do more. We will continue to work together to support our shared ambitions, and we will share our progress publicly, holding ourselves and each other to account.
This pledge was developed by a group of media companies, facilitated by BAFTA albert. We encourage other media companies to adopt this pledge.