Eastenders Cleans Up as Greenest Soap

We all know that product placement in our television shows can positively enhance a company’s sales figures. So much so, that in the US and now this year the UK, companies pay millions for their product to appear (if but only in a fleeting glance) in our favourite primetime shows and soap operas.

But rather than products, what if our favourite characters could positively influence how we live more sustainability? What if Roy and Hayley Cropper started growing their own vegetables to sell at Roy’s Rolls, or Declan Macey. on Emmerdale’s Home Farm Estates installed solar panels on all of his properties – do you think it’d make choosing green even more mainstream?

Well, funnily enough I’m not the only one to be thinking of this, in fact EDF Energy has gone as far as to work out who is the greenest soap on television.

Taking into consideration all of the positive ‘green’ actions of each soap family, such as taking public transport, lift sharing, cycling, recycling, hand washing dishes, cooking without appliances, taking a shower (instead of a bath), using local market and deducting their negative actions including driving, using a computer, tumble dryers, hairdryers, leaving the lights on etc, during a period of one month, researchers were able to calculate who was the greenest soap of them all.

Here’s what they found….

Following its success at the BAFTAs, EastEnders has also beaten off soap rivals to be named as Britain’s ‘greenest soap’ according to research commissioned by EDF Energy, the first sustainability partner of London 2012. The study shows that characters in Eastenders, who share their E20 post code with the Olympic Park, are taking more action to reduce their on-screen carbon footprint than those from any of the other soaps analysed.

With millions of viewers tuning in to watch the TV soap families to witness the dramas of their daily lives unfolding, the lifestyle choices some of these characters are making could help set a precedent for a greener way of life.

The Mitchell family are named by the study as Britain’s greenest soap stars, with the programme’s Shirley Carter crowned the ultimate green soap character. The research, which looked at four of Britain’s best loved soaps, EastEnders, Emmerdale, Coronation Street and Hollyoaks, was conducted to encourage Britons to think about the ways in which they use energy in their everyday lives.

Below are the top five green soap families and characters:

1. The Mitchells/Shirley Carter – EastEnders
2. The Dingles/Zak Dingle – Emmerdale
3. The Websters/Rosie Webster – Coronation Street
4. The Mitchells/Ronnie Mitchell – EastEnders
5. The Barlows/Ken Barlow – Coronation Street

Each soap’s characters were monitored for one month and judged against a set of green criteria. These included their use of public transport, how many times they used electrical appliances, remembering to switch lights off and using lower carbon forms of transport such as walking or cycling. Their positive and negative ‘eco–activities’ were measured and compared to reveal Britain’s greenest soap family.

Jim Poole, Director of Residential Customers at EDF Energy, said: “While the research takes a light-hearted look at energy efficiency, EDF Energy is serious about helping Britons live more sustainably – that’s why we founded Team Green Britain. By highlighting the green actions of the TV soap families we hopes to encourage people to make more sustainable choices in their own everyday lives.

Mo Shapiro, behavioural psychologist added: “This research from EDF Energy highlights that television soap operas could be reflecting an increased interest in sustainability and green living in Britain. Despite the growing influence of social networking in our lives, television certainly continues to exercise a significant influence over our behaviour and personal habits including being environmentally active. I would hope that seeing our favourite soap stars being environmentally aware will, in turn, have a knock on effect on the viewer’s lifestyle choices.”

Households in the UK are estimated to spend around 8% of their electricity bill just powering appliances on standby[1]. EcoManager, available exclusively from EDF Energy, allows consumers to both monitor the electricity consumption of appliances, and switch them off remotely, helping people to take steps to save electricity and reduce their monthly energy bills.

Commenting on the Eastenders win, Jim Poole added “Team Green Britain was founded to help people reduce their carbon footprint ahead of London 2012. It’s therefore great to see that the famous TV characters from London’s East End are already doing their bit to reduce their impact on the environment before the Games takes place on their doorstep. To help them further we’ll be sending one of our EcoManager devices to the set, making it easier for the characters to ensure that electrical appliances in the Queen Vic are turned off come closing time”.

Those looking for other ideas to help them save energy and money can visit www.teamgreenbritain.org. Founded by EDF Energy, Team Green Britain is a community which aims to help people work together to tackle climate change. The initiative is now comprised of over one million members and by following the advice from Team Green Britain, people can save up to 20% on their bills, producing a potential saving of around £166[2].

[1] Energy Saving Trust, 2010 : http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/About-us/Media-centre/Energy-saving-statistics-and-facts/Other-consumer-electronics
[2] We’ve based that saving on a typical EDF Energy customer with typical energy consumption, supplied on our standard tariffs, who reduces their household’s annual energy consumption by 20% through energy saving measures. ‘Typical energy consumption’ means an energy consumption of 3,300 kWh of electricity and 16,500 kWh of gas each year.


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Whta an interesting piece of research. I do wonder about product placement actually on set and wonder how it would influence buying decisions. If there were lots of green products used – would more viewers buy?


I believe so, did you know that the sales at the settee store where the Windass’ on Coronation Street were filmed purchasing a settee shot up, proves that by bringing products to people’s attention in this way has hugely positive effect on consumer behaviour. If products like reusable water bottles were featured, energy-saving light bulbs, smart energy kits and people where seen recycling, composting etc, – all simple, easy green steps, then I believe the mainstream would more readily accept becoming greener. Do you agree? On a grim note, the metal sculpture from Next that Tracy Barlow bashed over Charlie Stubb’s head sold out immediately after the show aired – now I’m at a loss why….?


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