The audiovisual sector emits about 1 million tonnes CO2 equivalent in the atmosphere each year, of which about a quarter is directly related to filming.
Make the entertainment industry sustainable
A study into the environmental impact of film-making in Hollywood, conducted by the University of California, showed that, in the Los Angeles region, it made a larger contribution, in relation to its size, to air pollution than most major industries, including aerospace manufacturing, clothing, and the hotel industry.
The discussion of sustainability in film began in the early 1990s, as reported in The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. In 2008 when free-lance producers and film-makers, Mari Jo Winkler, Lydia Dean Pilcher and Katie Carpenter of the East Coast PGA (Producers’ Guild of America) established PGA Green “as a means to actively encourage and support sustainability in the entertainment industry,” including environmentally friendly practices when productions shoot on location.
In 2010, “The Green Production Guide” was established to help reduce the entertainment industry’s carbon footprint and environmental impact.
It was developed by the Producers Guild of America Foundation and PGAGreen.org with primary support from NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS, Amblin Partners, Sony Pictures Entertainment, HBO, Netflix, Amazon Studios, Disney, WarnerMedia, 20th Century Studios, CBS & Participant Media.
Its toolkit offers free resources to film and television professionals looking to lower their environmental impact. Tools include a carbon calculator which tracks use of high-impact purchases such as water and paper, a database of eco-friendly vendors, and a fast-track to obtaining a “Green Seal” of approval from the Environmental Media Association (EMA).
It also includes a comprehensive database of vendors including info about their services, experience, and locations.
The website additionally offers a Production Environmental Accounting Report (PEAR) that can be downloaded to aid production in analyzing their carbon footprint and the Production Environmental Actions Checklist (PEACH), which clarifies best practices in the industry.
Globally, many film studios have adopted sustainability initiatives, including the “Big Five” of Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures, Warner Bros., Columbia Pictures, and Paramount Pictures. As well as large television production studios like CBS
As one example, “Downton Abbey”, a British historical drama television series set in the early 20th century, watched by over 10 million viewers worldwide.
When filming in the United Kingdom, the “Downton Abbey” film’s production team did a number of things to reduce their footprint including sending call sheets, scripts, and production documents electronically, no disposable food service products on site, and recycling/composting.
In addition, Carnival Films stored sets from the six seasons of the television series “Downton Abbey” that production was able to re-use or re-purpose to save the consumption of new materials.
Disposables were also saved by issuing the crew reusable water bottles and the sound department used reusable batteries.
At the conclusion of production, the costume department donated $800 worth of fabric and materials to the Wimbledon College of Arts. Storage boxes and hangers were donated to local sewing and flower shops and set decoration donated produce to The Hounslow Urban Farm to be used to feed animals. For these solutions, “Downton Abbey” received a 2019 EMA Green Seal.
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