Silverback Films response to Daily Mail What Planet are they on? article ... by Jason Peters
4 September 2020
On the 16th of August, the Daily Mail publiahed an article entitled What Planet are they on? Blue Planet's creators 'made millions from adverts for plastic bottles that clog up oceans'
It stated "The creators of BBC’s Blue Planet series made a fortune promoting one of the world’s largest producers of disposable plastic bottles.
Alastair Fothergill’s firm is believed to have received millions of pounds after it produced adverts for Chinese company Nongfu Spring – which sells 15billion bottles of water a year.
Silverback Films – founded by Mr Fothergill and fellow filmmaker Keith Scholey – made the commercials in the style of natural history documentaries, with birds flying above snow-capped mountains and tigers drinking from crystal clear streams.
Meanwhile discarded bottles of Nongfu Spring, the biggest water bottle manufacturer in China, are routinely found polluting oceans and shores around the globe."
Following several comments and enquiries from members and subscribers, I asked Silverback Films for a response to the article today. Keith Scholey responded swiftly with the following:
"Below is what we told the Daily Mail before the article was written. Sadly none of this was reflected in the eventual article. Here it is:
We were approached by Nongfu Spring in 2016 to make a 20-minute conservation wildlife film and a number of short promotional films about the Changbaishan National Nature Reserve, explaining the vital role this pristine area plays in providing clean, drinkable water without the need for treatment, and the importance of protecting it. We discovered that this 2,000 square kilometre reserve is one of the most important conservation areas in China as well as an essential source of natural drinking water.
At the time, very few wildlife films were being shown widely to Chinese audiences and the crucial link between the protection of the natural world and clean water was not well understood. Conservation in China is of global importance and in our judgement, this was an important opportunity to highlight this link.
Silverback Films understands the issues around plastic and that we all need to end single use plastics except where there is no safe alternative. It is important for your readers to understand that much of the tap water in China is of too poor quality to drink and this is the primary reason for the high consumption of bottled water.
In our work telling conservation stories, we often have to balance competing environmental issues. In this case, we believed assisting in the conservation of one of China’s largest wild forests was important which is why we chose to make these films."
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