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What does net zero mean for the creative industry?

Coffee & TV’s first sustainability manager, Holly Arnold, discusses the challenges of decarbonising the business and the confusion around what net zero actually requires

In 2021, creative studio Coffee & TV set itself an ambitious goal: net zero by the following year. Holly Arnold, who’d joined the business as a CGI artist before becoming sustainability manager, led the effort, having begun B Corp assessment for the company in 2019. But as 2022 arrived, it became clear Coffee & TV was going to miss its target.

“It’s really important for me to have this conversation and share it,” says Arnold, when talking about the ups and downs of the studio’s net zero journey. “I think anyone that’s claiming potentially to reach net zero in the next few years is … well, I don’t know what their terms of net zero are, but we want to do it in the most thorough way – which means decarbonisation of the economy, not brainwashing.”

Arnold is frank about the complexities of becoming truly sustainable. It’s not just about a bit of judicious carbon offsetting – it’s a lengthy process that takes into account every single aspect of Coffee & TV’s business. The studio – which offers production, visual effects, colour grading and direction – began measuring its emissions in 2019, around the same time it started its B Corp assessment. One of the requirements of B Corp certification is addressing environmental impact.

Net zero is a term that’s been thrown around a lot. It has a lot of variables, depending on which company you’re talking to