Zero food waste film sets: How Olio is helping Lifted Entertainment run planet-friendly productions

There’s been a growing focus in the UK entertainment industry lately on doing business more sustainably. For a while now, Olio has been working with production companies in the film and TV space, to cut out food waste across their shooting schedule, as part of this ongoing sustainability drive. 

In June 2023, we partnered with the team at Lifted Entertainment (part of ITV Studios) who produce shows like Love Island, I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! and more. This week, we sat down with Clare Nichols, Production Executive at Lifted Entertainment, to talk about the climate action movement that’s building at ITV, and why Olio’s flexible food waste solution felt like a great fit for Lifted’s annual production schedule.

Image 1: The team at Lifted Entertainment are behind well-known shows like I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

To start, can you tell us a bit about ITV and Lifted Entertainment’s approach sustainability? 

Clare: “Over the last 10 years, we’ve been incorporating sustainability into our productions. That’s been a conscious move from us, as we know it’s the responsible thing to do.

At ITV, we’ve been working on a business-wide Net Zero policy, along with our own climate action plan at Lifted Entertainment. As part of this, we’ve really tried to make sustainability accessible for everyone across the business.

We looked at elements of our productions that we could standardise – from reducing food waste to cutting out single-use plastics like water bottles and coffee cups, to using more sustainable power sources on location – and applied those guidelines across our different shows. Obviously some actions won’t be relevant for certain shows and vice versa, but we have an evolving template with the aim to share as many sustainable ideas across our productions.

We’ve got ‘Meat Free Mondays’ on shows, as meat production is a big factor in carbon emissions. We’ve partnered with eBay on our flagship show, Love Island, to promote second hand clothing. We’re storing sets as close as possible to the studio (at the studio in one case) to cut down on trucking. We’re cataloguing and sharing props so that we’re not repurchasing items regularly. We’re paper free on most productions, using technology instead of printing. “

How did you first come across Olio? 

“Over the summer, Callum from Olio reached out to my Head of Production Jeanette. We instantly loved the Food Waste Heroes Programme concept. It was great timing, as it happened that Love Island Aftersun was due to start filming in a few weeks (the companion show to Love Island), which gave us the perfect chance to run a trial.

That pilot was a super positive experience, which led to us rolling out Olio across the entire Lifted Entertainment label. Since then, Callum has come to speak at our ITV Town Hall, and lots of our Heads of Production from different labels across the business are now interested in getting involved.

Image 2: Olio’s UK-wide network of trained volunteers means there’s nearly always someone available to rescue food from shoots – even from the most remote locations

What elements of Olio’s services do you find work particularly well for Lifted Entertainment as a production company? 

“The Olio team were really quick at getting everything set up and signed off. Everyone we’ve spoken to has been so positive and engaging – it’s felt like you’ve all really wanted to make it happen. That can-do attitude is really refreshing. We were up and running in a matter of weeks after Callum first reached out. 

For us, the flexibility from Olio’s side and your volunteers has also been key. We share our schedule with you before filming starts, but things change all the time in the production world. Thanks to your hyper-local volunteers, we’ve pretty much always been able to find someone to rescue our food if our plans have had to change, and we suddenly have to be in a different location. 

And sometimes if we have to be in a really random, remote location, we’re aware that there’s a certain lead time to find a volunteer. But that hasn’t really been an issue, as the Olio team are willing – and able – to find someone and make it happen. Just as an example, the volunteer we had on the Love Island Aftersun pilot was so brilliant! Having that good relationship made things so easy for the whole series. 

The other thing that we’ve loved is seeing the social impact. Of course, a big part of partnering with Olio has been the sustainability side of things, and it’s great to see our environmental impact, but knowing that our food is benefitting real people, and hearing feedback from those people has been wonderful.” 

How does Olio help you work towards your wider sustainability goals at Lifted?

“We’re required as a business to get Albert certification for all our productions – this is a top-down requirement from ITV (but also pretty standard practice in the industry). Olio feeds into lowering the overall footprint of our productions, which is great. We’re still working out how exactly to feed our Olio data into our Albert calculations, but it all definitely helps.”

How likely are you to recommend Olio to other production companies?

It’s definitely a 10! We’re really trying to promote Olio to Heads of Production across the business now, as we think it’s such a fantastic initiative. 

Written on 06/10/2023 by Cozzi Baring, Senior Marketing Manager, Olio