According to the latest Kantar research, “genuinely purpose-led brands stand to grow at twice the rate of those without any higher-order societal aim.” Twice the rate – there’s an incentive! There’s no denying that a socially responsible approach to business is essential these days and in the media world of advertising and broadcast it’s becoming vital to show environmental concern. The emergence of We Are Ad Green and BAFTA’s We Are Albert, as well as many agencies aiming for B-Corp or ISO14001, shows a desire by media to be both greener operationally and in their supply chain.

So what quick wins can we achieve when it comes to reducing our CO2 output? One result from all this lovely creative work is that it needs storing. Broadcast rushes and masters continue to be valuable long after they’re shot so need storing longer term, and advertising material is often under a long contractual storage period. The average duration for both is five years.

Generally speaking, most shoot data is put up on the cloud or on hard drives. Our previous post covered why long-term storage on drives is a really bad idea. Now with the emergence of low-cost cloud storage, many producers and HOPs are turning to this. What most of those people don’t realise is that huge amounts of CO2 is created from storing long term shoot data online, which is, in effect, just stored in those big data centres in the states. To give you an idea of figures, 10 terabytes of data stored online for five years creates around 9,000kg of CO2. For comparison, that’s 17 return flights to Europe when you store the rushes and masters for just one average TV ad online. Multiply that by all the TV ads being made and stored and we have a hidden CO2 monster in our industry.

For short term shifting data around, online is of course fine. But for long term storage, online is simply unethical. But it’s cheap and easy, if unbearably slow which is why it’s popular. I spoke to one agency who works with an environmental charity and they told me that they only use online storage because they don’t have the budget for alternatives. What a sad irony.

What’s the alternative I hear you cry? Well simple, do what most established organisations all over the world do, (including the BFI in this country) and store data on linear tape open (LTO) the most robust, reliable, compact and low CO2 method of storage around. No need to re-invent the wheel.