Sustainability in Film and Television

While the importance of health and safety on set is widely acknowledged, increasingly productions are placing a similar emphasis on safeguarding the environment and ensuring productions are sustainable

The recent article from the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC365) recorded that the UK spend, hit £3.1 billion on film and television production in 2018. The industry spends millions of pounds, on a range of services for production such as flights, food, fuel and electricity. While this creates award-winning and memorable films and programmes for years to come, productions also can leave behind a large carbon footprint and contribute to long term environmental damage.

The CCCBLab (Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona Lab) calculated that London’s audio-visual industry generates the same amount of CO2 as a city with 20,000 inhabitants.

Productions can contribute to looking after the planet and an increasing number are making an effort to reduce their carbon footprint by making productions more sustainable and incorporating best practices and responsibilities into their work culture.

Jason Bateman, directed and produced the film, Bad Words using only solar energy. The first film to be produced without carbon based power- which shows what can be done with a will (and sunshine!)

Below are a few tips to help your production become sustainable:

1. Complete an albert carbon calculation on completion of your projects. BFI activities are monitored and measured for carbon generation and results are reported annually to the DCMS.

2. Share transportation to and from set and the office to decrease pollution. If possible, take public transport.

3. Use recycling bins on set and at the office to encourage recycling and reduce unnecessary waste.

4. Reduce the use of generators and try opting in for reusable batteries and equipment. Make sure to turn off lighting and air-conditioning when they’re not in use.

5. Take part in a tree-planting scheme to make up for the amount carbon emitted into the environment from your production.

6. Reduce printing documents by transferring and saving them digitally.

7. Use material which can be recycled or reused, such as props, costume fabric, cutlery etc.

8. When researching on the web, try the eco-friendly search tool, Ecosia. Which plants trees every time you search.

9. During the filming of Girls Trip, Universal Pictures were able to give £600 of excess catering food to the local community with the assistance of New Orleans Missions, providing 500 meals to homeless people. Not only saving the food going to waste but also helping the local community.

10. Try to conference call than flying and travelling to meetings hence reducing travel pollution.

Productions are not going to save the planet by themselves but small steps in the right direction can help.

For more information or assistance with environmental and sustainability issues speak to one of our environmentally qualified advisers or email us at:

Blog Post Author: Vandana Thanki

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