Independent Television News (ITN) is a UK-based television production company, made up of two divisions: Broadcast News and ITN Productions.
ITN Broadcast News produces the daily news programmes for ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 in the UK.ITN Productions is the creative and commercial arm that produces a wide range of content including documentaries, sports, advertising, and digital material for a range of international clients.
ITN has a strong public service ethos and, as a producer of news, current affairs, and factual programmes, it recognises its responsibility to report on the environmental crisis and its impact. Being committed to sustainability as a business is also now something that is expected by ITN’s staff, with many keen to contribute to ITN’s efforts in this area. At the same time, its broadcaster customers are increasing their own requirements for productions to be sustainable in line with the sector’s Albert certification system and their climate-related commitments. The ITN business structure is diverse with a range of strategic, commercial, and cultural priorities, so ITN asked Avieco to help them establish a consistent approach to sustainability that would join up progress to date and mark out some ambitious but achievable goals to aim for, that were cost-effective as well. Above all, if ITN did not take the proper steps to reduce its own environmental impact, this could create a disconnect between what they say in front of the camera and what they do behind it – an unnecessary risk for ITN and its stakeholders.
According to a recent YouGov Survey, 74% of UK adults are concerned about climate change, with regional audiences recently impacted by extensive flooding even more concerned, and younger audiences prioritising environment as one of their most important issues. In 2019 an Ofcom report found 75% of UK Adults aged 15+ said TV is their main source for news and, according to Reuters research, ITV’s news was cited as the second most trusted source after BBC News. ITN’s vision is to be the most trusted and engaging independent storyteller in the world so it was clear they should not compromise on the defining story of our time, one that was increasingly important to a mainstream audience. With a growing reputation for climate coverage on both Channel 4 and ITV news, Avieco articulated a ITN sustainability mission rooted in its journalistic ethos of holding others to account. In partnership with ITN’s CEO and senior leadership team, we developed a strategic framework that prioritized sustainability in its internal culture, implemented sustainability measures in its buildings, operations, and its programme production process, and baked it into the content and stories it creates.
ITN recognised the greatest potential impact it has is to change government, business, and public behaviour on sustainability. The foundational layer to ITN’s sustainability plan was to embed an internal culture of sustainability, enabling ITN’s editorial teams – in both news and productions – to create content that engages the public on environmental and climate issues. ITN needed to hold itself to account by reducing its own footprint and by making its operations carbon neutral and zero waste; it committed to creating more sustainability-related news, factual, and entertainment programming, and to playing a more active role in setting industry-wide sustainability standards. Looking forward, it will develop a net zero goal and targets, consider TRUE certification at all key sites for its zero-waste approach and continue to expand its sustainability-related content.
Director of Commercial Productions and Exec Lead for ITN’s Sustainability Strategy & Policy
Daniel Murray, Principal Consultant
more than a word.