Achieving a Sustainable Future in Post



22 April 2021

ENVY Co-Founder Natascha Cadle and ENVY Advertising’s MD Greg White contemplate the role of post production in the effort against climate change

Carrying bottles to the supermarket to refill; never leaving home without a stash of reusable bags; and travelling around on bikes instead of carbon fuelled cars. This isn’t a glimpse into a greener future but a look into the past.

“Growing up in Holland, sustainable choices were just second-nature – they were the norm,” said Natascha: “The first time I saw masses of plastic bags at the supermarket, I was 18 years old and I couldn’t believe my eyes. The blasé attitude towards single-use plastics was astonishing.”

The Dutch have been ahead of the UK for decades. Home to more bikes than people and with airports running on 100 per cent wind energy since 2018, eco-friendly travel is practically woven into the culture. Even the roads that energy-efficient bikes cycle on are green, having been built out of plastic waste.

Once in London and refusing to let good habits slip, Natascha stayed environmentally conscious. “We launched ENVY in 2006 with sustainability in mind,” she explains. “Our filtered water has always come in glass bottles and we use paper or reusable bags. Back then, the council didn’t even have a recycling initiative, so we paid a company to responsibly dispose for us.”

Society is finally catching up and, luckily, more accessible solutions to the plastic problem are being offered, but saving the planet is sadly not as simple as unquestionably adopting clean habits. What should you do when eco-friendly practices threaten to compromise your level of professionalism? This is the tough conundrum currently being faced by hundreds of post-production houses and other businesses.

One major cause of conflict in post-production, as identified by MD of ENVY Advertising Greg White, is reliance on electrical equipment always being switched on. He comments, “Switching off risks all sorts of problems from computer crashes to back-up failures. Add to that the variety of differing hours between employees and clients in conflicting time zones and its near-on impossible to find a time when everything stands still. Electricity-wise, it’s a real fine balance in finding where to draw the line.”

The advertising industry as a whole is built on fast-paced practice. Jobs fly in and out the door at great speed with emphasis on the quickly accessible – and the fast food and drink that goes with it. Traditionally, less thought has been given to long-term, sustainable choices and advertising is still very much behind other areas such as broadcast when it comes to green policies and practices.

In the past couple of years, vast improvements have been made. The younger generation especially has been a driving force behind this. We’re employing and working alongside a much more conscious generation who are demanding to see changes.

The TV and advertising industries should be taking advantage of the huge power they have to shift public perception. “We are seeing more and more projects coming through our doors that explore the sustainability theme,” Natascha says, and with the introduction of Albert, an association that supports everyone working in film and TV to understand their opportunities to create positive environmental change, more is being done to ensure that the production of a project is created in as green a way as possible. “ENVY became an Albert affiliated company as soon as they heard about it and progression has been made as more and more companies are joining. A lot of productions need to be Albert certified to be able to work with some of the biggest broadcasters such as the BBC, ITV and Sky now.”

“As a post house, however, it is difficult to cut your carbon footprint due to the reliance on electricity but you can certainly make changes,” Greg points out. “From switching to a green energy supplier and being mindful of which documents to print, to encouraging eco-friendly transport options and donating food waste to City Harvest or Olio, there are plenty of small yet significant changes that can be made.”

“Offering employees and clients a welcome pack that outlines your policies is a great way to clearly explain your company protocol, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and understands their responsibility. As an employee, don’t just assume that the company you work for is doing all the hard work for you – we are all responsible for change.”

Natascha is hopeful that innovation will drive further change: “Sometimes a lack of suitable alternatives is part of the problem as we are all dependent on what is available to us in our area. But keep researching and staying on top of the latest developments and you’ll find something that works for you. I found these incredible plant-based straws that are really efficient and I’m hoping that more companies will be providing high quality alternatives in the near future.”

There is certainly a shifting attitude within the industry that is being felt right from the top with the brands, down through production, post, and the rest. As long as everyone does their part at every level to change longstanding, harmful habits, a huge and impactful difference can be achieved. Natascha concludes: “As an industry, we have the creative power to change people’s attitude towards sustainability and our planet. So let’s do more than just advocate sustainability through mere words. Take action.”