SUSTAINABILITY IMPACT REPORT
Message from our Founders
At S+O, we recognise the climate and ecological crises as the most pressing challenges of our time, demanding immediate and decisive action. We understand that the cost of living crisis deeply affects our team and the freelance community that we rely on. As a company driven by human values, we believe in putting people at the heart of everything we do.
Our dedication to quality and collaboration encourages us to be pioneers of change, embracing diversity and championing emerging talent. Our ambition is to set a gold standard for our industry, making sustainability a core focus while challenging enforced obsolescence. We always try to take a wide-angle view of the world and the systems in which we operate. This perspective means we occasionally take the road less travelled, and opt for the less obvious solutions, but for the greatest good.
Together, we are stronger. By facing the challenges of our industry and the wider world with courage and determination, we'll create a better, more sustainable future for all. S+O is committed to transforming not only our business but also the entire sector, for the benefit of the storytellers and the story watchers, the natural world, and the generations to come.
Stephanie Keelan and Olly Wiggins, S+O Media
S+O are premium crewing and broadcast hire specialists, trusted to provide resources, talent and knowledge to the creative industry for over twenty years. We are a founder-led business, run by entrepreneur and film maker Steph Keelan and DoP Olly Wiggins. Together with our trusted team, we are “the jam” in the production sandwich, a conduit for bringing ideas to visual fruition.
We're excited to share our progress and our challenges with you since our first report in 2019. Lots has happened in this time, both for us as a business, the industry, and of course, on a much wider social scale.
Like many businesses, COVID-19, Brexit, and other global forces beyond our control have affected some of our ambitions. None the less, we have made strides we are proud of and continue to pursue the targets we set back in 2019.
We believe in giving back more to people and the planet than we take, and this impact report aims to highlight our dedication and the steps we're taking to create positive change in our industry and beyond.
We believe sustainability encompasses not only our impact on the environment but also how we affect and support people. We strive to honour excellence in the industry while upholding our values of integrity, honesty, and inclusivity. Stephanie Keelan Director S+O Media
WHAT WE STAND FOR
Our Mission: To provide smart creative solutions to the production process, and to proactively lead and adapt work flows for the evolving digital landscape.
Our Vision: Empowering creative collaboration through world-class resources, talent and knowledge – and setting the gold standard with our kit and our behaviour.
IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL
Sustainability for us means building a lasting, thriving business that embraces people, the environment, our community and business performance. Having just celebrated 20 years of S + O, we are proud to say that we are honouring that commitment. Further to this, we have recently refreshed our strategy in order to scale our impact.
Why it matters: Ensuring that we are resilient as a business means we can adapt to changing conditions, anticipate and mitigate risks, maintain operations during disruptions, and quickly recover from setbacks. As well as continuing to pay our suppliers on time, and our team properly.
Our approach: Since we opened our doors 20 years ago, delivering excellent customer service has been our ambition. This is what drives us.
HUMAN People are at the heart of everything we do. SMART We utilise knowledge and experience to bring out the best. COLLABORATIVE We aim to provide the highest production value and maximise creativity. PROGRESSIVE Together we are stronger. CREATIVE We nurture freedom of expression.
Material sustainability issues are those that have the greatest importance to S+O and our stakeholders. While, traditionally, our clients and technicians are our two largest stakeholder groups, we understand that taking care of our community and planet Earth are equally important for the long term sustainability of our business.
This report highlights our baseline environmental and social impacts and our commitment to aim higher as well as highlights the strides we've already made as a small yet determined company.
SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY
For our 2022 carbon audit, we've gathered data through internal monitoring, and expanded our Scope 3 boundary for a more comprehensive view. We are using the Market-Based Approach (MBA)* to report on our emissions. However, in order to provide a complete picture of our GHG (green house gas) emissions, we are also declaring our emissions using the Location-Based Approach (LBA), as required by the GHG Protocol.
One of our Senior Bookings Coordinators, Sarah - completed our carbon audit using Compare Your Footprint carbon calculator and was supported by our sustainability partner, Khandiz at Vujà Dé Creative Solutions.
The market-based approach to Scope 2 GHG reporting considers an organisation's energy procurement choices, promoting low-carbon and renewable energy sources. Conversely, the location-based method uses regional average emission factors, reflecting the local grid's carbon intensity. Our main Scope 1 emissions - of which we contributed 33.974tCO2e - come from the liquid fuels used for delivering and collecting our kits. We're working to improve our data collection in this area, as our baseline report relied on spending data rather than the actual amount of fuel used. In addition, we're actively looking to upgrade our remaining fleet to include fully electric vehicles wherever possible and hybrids for the rest. Given the size of our fleet, switching to HVO isn't feasible right now. We'll keep a close eye on vehicle technology and continue to make proactive changes.
Since switching to 100% renewable energy in 2019 through Albert's Creative Energy initiative, we've significantly reduced our Scope 2 emissions. We use market-based and location-based approaches for a complete picture. The market-based method shows zero emissions from our HQ, with 0.064tCO2e accounting for occasional off-site non-renewable electric vehicle charging. The location-based method reflects a 16.732tCO2e figure, considering our area's average grid emissions intensity. We're exploring solar panels installation to further reduce grid dependence.
As with many competitors, our most significant emissions are Scope 3 at 278.299tCO2e, which are beyond our direct control and call for industry-wide collaboration to reduce. Our area of the broadcast industry is working collaboratively to find new ways to be more sustainable moving forward. We are grateful for the generosity of other facilities houses in sharing their own methods for emissions reduction. Together we hope to obtain more accurate Scope 3 emissions. We plan to collaborate with suppliers and cross hires to reduce supply chain emissions and obtain higher-quality data, moving beyond spend-based metrics. We understand this process will take time, and we're committed to supporting our smaller suppliers in their efforts to reduce emissions as well.
Our second electric vehicle, The VW BUZZ, is already turning heads and accounting for 80% of all our deliveries and collections in Central London!
PEOPLE ARE AT THE HEART OF EVERYTHING WE DO
At S+O Media, we are passionate about nurturing talent and empowering the next generation of film makers. Our company values - smart, quality, human, creative, collaborative, and progressive - drive everything we do. We have trained over 40 crew members during our 20 year history. Many continue to work with us as part of our extended freelance community. We are proud to work alongside some of the best creative and technical minds in the business.
Why it matters: We believe that supporting emerging talent is not only important for the individual but also for the industry as a whole. By fostering an inclusive community, providing cutting-edge training, and offering our expertise, we can help to unlock the full potential of the next generation of film technicians, and drive innovation and quality in the industry.
Our approach: To achieve this, we take a comprehensive approach, focusing on the development of our team from day one. We pay a London Living Wage, including during training, to reduce financial stress and improve work-life balance. We also provide overtime pay and ensure adequate staffing to handle holidays and important life milestones. Through open communication, accessible bosses, and valuable experience and cultural wisdom, we support new hires and foster an environment of creativity and collaboration. Our goal is to empower our team and to help them to reach their full potential.
SHARING KNOWLEDGE AND CREATING OPPORTUNITY
We are committed to supporting our local community and young people. We make annual donations to charities close to our heart including Centre Point and the Avenues Project. We have also become a friend of The Film and TV Charity, supporting mental health in our industry.
Why it matters: Working with young people inspires and educates us about ourselves, and the world around us. Providing opportunity and access to all young people interested in telling stories is a vital foundation for more inclusive and rounded media communication.
Our approach: It has been an honour to run summer film workshops at local youth club SATH, creating films with the young people that reflect their lives and environment. The first film, (produced along side local director Andrea Eisenheart), The Borough of Us, was delayed due to Covid, but eventually was completed and launched as part of the Borough of Culture initiative. The film can be seen on the Metroland website. The young people of SATH also made a film that featured on the Children In Need social media feed, a film that highlights their sense of fun and energy. We have donated equipment to the youth club and to the London Screen Academy.
WE ARE UNAFRAID TO PIONEER CHANGE
By taking a proactive approach to sustainability and waste reduction, we are committed to making a positive impact in our community, and the wider environment. We will continue to seek out new ways to reduce our impact and promote sustainability, working with our industry partners to drive change and make a difference.
Why it matters: We understand the importance of minimising our demand on Earth's finite resources. By taking responsibility for our impact, we can help to drive change and set an example for others to follow. By reducing waste, we can not only benefit the environment but also reduce costs and increase efficiency.
Our approach: We have implemented several initiatives to reduce waste and promote sustainability within our company. We sell second-hand items online and donate equipment to local colleges running film studies to extend the shelf life of our kit. We are also in the process of strategically reducing our use of *Tungsten technology. In the future, we plan to replace all polyboards with Skylight rapids and continue to reduce the use of AA/AAA batteries in our operations. We are also looking to reduce equipment casing and packing waste by engaging suppliers who are aligned on our sustainability journey.
TO TUNGSTEN OR NOT TO TUNGSTEN
As the majority of GHG emissions in the global film and television industry stem from fuel and energy consumption, transitioning from traditional tungsten lighting to LEDs is a sensible move. LEDs not only consume significantly less energy, reducing costs and supplying the same amount of light output, but they also emit less heat and UV radiation. Furthermore, LEDs are more eco-friendly, both in production and disposal, as they don't contain harmful chemicals that can leach into the environment. They also boast a longer lifespan and are technically fully recyclable, depending on local recycling facilities.
At S+O, we are dedicated to investing in smart, efficient, and cutting-edge technology. This commitment has led us to offer a comprehensive selection of LED lighting solutions. However, we recognise that every piece of equipment we own has an environmental footprint, and that prematurely disposing of older technology can also be harmful.
That's why we still maintain a few tungsten options that have not reached the end of their useful life. To minimise their environmental impact, we are committed to working with our clients to ensure that these lights are only powered by 100% renewable energy.
MORE POINTS OF VIEW FOR A MORE INTERESTING STORY
"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced." James Baldwin
We are committed to promoting diverse perspectives and creating an inclusive working environment. Our goal is to foster creativity, innovation, and collaboration by bringing together individuals from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.
Why it matters: By promoting diverse perspectives, we can better understand our clients' needs and deliver more creative and effective solutions. Additionally, creating an inclusive environment helps to attract and retain top talent, boosting productivity and overall success. However, there is still a huge lack of diversity in the film + tv industry, especially behind the camera, and this poses a barrier to us and companies like ours, and will require industrywide collaboration to see meaningful improvement here. We believe that diversity is essential for driving innovation and change in our industry.
Our approach: We are actively working to improve our racial diversity and gender representation across all areas of our company. We are also committed to fostering a safe and enjoyable working environment, where everyone feels welcome and valued. We will continue to build relationships with freelancers to ensure a diverse and flexible team, and we are committed to exposing emerging talent to the industry, offering opportunities for learning and growth.
INVESTING IN BIODIVERSITY
Aside from ecosystem services, nature offers significant cultural value and is a constant source of inspiration for our lives, and livelihoods. Protecting nature means we are also indirectly contributing to issues such as health and wellbeing, that are important to our people and community. That is why we consider nature and the planet as one of our key stakeholders.
Why it matters: Biodiversity loss is one of the most pressing issues of our time, just like climate change. While there is a big focus on carbon reduction across the industry, there is still very little being done about biodiversity, or it’s relationship to climate change.
Our approach: We have chosen a scheme that focuses on rewilding European ecosystems and planting native trees in areas that have been deforested. We have been contributing to Mossy Earth since 2019. This has contributed to the planting of 132 trees and supported 60 re-wilding projects. We are also planning to invest in Peatland protection and replenishment projects, as part of our commitment to promoting biodiversity and carbon offsetting strategy. We continue to educating our staff and clients on the importance of nature.
TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER
Collaboration is a key aspect of our approach at S+O Media. We recognise the importance of working with others to drive positive change and is a cornerstone of our approach to sustainability. We believe that by working together with others, we can achieve our goals and create a more sustainable future for all.
Why it matters: We understand that we cannot achieve our goals alone. By collaborating with industry groups like the Lighting & Camera Sustainability Group, we can share knowledge and best practices to reduce our environmental impact. We are also looking at ways of working with our suppliers to reduce emissions in our shared value chain, and we recognise that there is still more work to be done in this area.
Our approach: In addition to industry collaborations, we are also focused on internal collaboration. We enable our team to work from home where possible and took on the responsibility of paying our staff during the second lockdown instead of furlough. We believe that supporting our team and minimising the financial impact of the pandemic is crucial to building a future we are proud to leave behind.
THE EMISSIONS FACTORS WE INCLUDED IN OUR REPORT
We acknowledge that carbon calculation is not a perfect science and that there are challenges and inconsistencies in the carbon calculator sector. Different tools may use different methods, data sources, and assumptions to estimate emissions, leading to variations and uncertainties in the results.
Nevertheless, we firmly believe that carbon calculation is a vital step to help us monitor and reduce our emissions over time. By measuring our emissions, we can identify and address the main sources and drivers of our impact, set targets and actions to reduce them, and report our progress and performance to our stakeholders. We also understand that reaching our net zero ambitions, before it is too late, requires concerted industry-wide collaboration, engagement with our entire value chain and commitment to leveraging all the tools and resources currently available to us. To this end, we have shared our comprehensive scope of emission factors which are included in this report, and have offset our entire emission figure (including CapEx) through Ecologi to achieve Albert's carbon neutral accreditation and demonstrate our commitment.
We will continue to seek out the best available tools and standards to calculate our emissions, while also seeking to improve our data quality, transparency, and accuracy over time.
We use Compare Your Footprint, which meets the the highest standards of reporting for the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), Carbon Disclosure Project (CPD), Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), and others. We felt this calculator was extensive and most relevant in measuring to our industry. And while we are not required to report at this level due to the size of the business, we wanted to know that the calculator and methodology was sound.
SCOPE 1 Liquid fuels - Diesel average (£)
SCOPE 2 Electricity - UK Grid (kWh)
SCOPE 3 Business Services - Motor vehicles sale and repair (£) Chemicals - All purpose cleaner (kg) Electrical items (Capex - Capital Expenditure) - Average (£) Employee Commuting - National Rail (km), Underground (km), Road (car, bus, motorbike) (km) Freight (upstream third party) - Diesel average (£) Home-working - UK Grid (kWh) Packaging - Paper (tonne) Vehicles (purchase) - Van (unit) Waste - Average (£) Water - Mains average (£)
ANYONE FOR COFFEE?
Join us for a cup of Hasbean Coffee and let's talk sustainability! We'd love to hear your thoughts, ideas, and concerns about our environmental initiatives. Let's collaborate and explore innovative ways to adapt to the evolving needs of storytellers and creators, while remaining mindful of our collective future. Together, we can make a difference – so come on over and let's get the conversation started!
CO2E Carbon Dioxide Equivalent. It is a way of comparing the warming effect of different greenhouse gases to CO2. CO2e helps us to measure and compare the total impact of different greenhouse gas emissions.
CARBON FOOTPRINT A carbon footprint is a measure of the amount of greenhouse gases (including CO2) emitted as a result of an individual’s or organisation’s activities. It can be expressed in terms of the tonnes of CO2 equivalent emitted (tCO2e) or in terms of the number of flights taken, energy consumed, or goods produced.
CARBON NEUTRAL Carbon neutrality, also known as net zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions means that the amount of CO2 that people release into the air is the same as the amount of CO2 that people take out of the air over a certain time. In this meaning, only CO2 emissions are counted. This is usually achieved through carbon off-setting schemes. In order to achieve Albert's carbon neutral certification, all emissions that we have direct control over need to be offset.
NET ZERO Net zero emissions means achieving a balance between greenhouse gas emissions (not just CO2) produced and greehouse gas emissions (GHG's) taken out of the atmosphere.
SCOPE 1 The emissions from burning gas in a company’s boiler, or fossil fuels used from driving a company’s car or truck.
SCOPE 2 The emissions from using electricity from the grid to power a company’s office or factory, or from heating or cooling a company’s building.
SCOPE 3 The emissions from the production and transportation of the raw materials that a company buys from its suppliers, or from the use and disposal of the products that a company sells to its customers.
This report was compiled by Khandiz Joni, MIEMA, CEnv of Vujà Dé Creative Solutions and S+O Media Ltd