The BFI and BAFTA have joined forces to launch ‘A Screen New Deal – a Route Map to Sustainable Film Production’. The report examines the systemic changes needed within film production in order to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, in line with UK government legislation.
The report focuses on five key areas: production materials, energy and water use, studio buildings and facilities, studio sites and locations and production planning. It analyzes where the carbon footprint of a production is currently highest and where it can be reduced.
It was produced by the BFI’s Research and Statistics Unit and albert, the BAFTA-led consortium, with data analyzed by engineering firm Arup. The findings show that the average tentpole film creates 2,840 tonnes of CO2e, the equivalent of 11 one-way trips from the Earth to the moon. Emissions contributed by air travel alone on a production is equivalent to flying one way from London to New York 150 times, or 3.4 million car miles. The carbon footprint from accommodation used on a production is equivalent to the use of electricity by 34 homes for one year.
Transport contributes to 50% of total emissions, 30% of which is air travel and 70% is land transport. Energy consumption is the second largest factor, contributing 34%.
To produce the report, Arup looked at sustainability data from more than 19 productions filmed in the UK and the U.S. in the last five years to assess resource consumption patterns and carbon emissions. Tentpole films (with budgets at $70m or over) were chosen on the basis that they would have the largest carbon footprint, although the findings are expected to apply to productions across the board.
Five key areas have been identified to reduce emissions:
- production materials – reusing materials, buying virgin materials responsibility and resource-efficient set construction;
- energy and water use – energy demand reduction, sustainable energy sources and water demand reduction;
- studio buildings and facilities – repurposing buildings, buying products as a service; and smart building management;
- studio sites and locations – consolidated movement, wayfinding and communication and health and wellbeing services; and
- production planning – collaboration tools, virtual planning and shared infrastructure.
“Our film and screen production industries are facing an undeniable period of change as we enter a world which is responding creatively and economically to harsh impacts of the pandemic,” said Harriet Finney, Director of External Affairs for the BFI. “Commissioned last year, the purpose of this report by Arup was to share innovation and knowledge and help kick-start a more sustainable production ecosystem. Arriving now – just as productions restart and introduce new ways of working on set and on location – there is an opportunity to consider how we create efficiencies in our approach to materials and resources and learn how innovation is working for other industries. This piece of work is not the solution to delivering greater environmental sustainability but it provides us a valuable route map for taking forward positive action.”
“This report is being published at such an important moment for our industry,” added producer Pippa Harris. “We have all felt the devastating economic and cultural effects of the pandemic, so now is the time to regroup and come back stronger. We cannot continue to create films in the same manner we did before with no long-term plan for the environment around us. It’s time for our industry to lead the way both on and off screen and rebuild for a cleaner, greener future.”