Green initiatives without borders

European funds and Film Commissions target a joint sustainability strategy

Great Britain: A National Standard for Sustainable Production
In terms of sustainability, the British film industry holds a pioneering role in Europe. Melanie Dicks of the environment agency Green Shoot has advised more than 20 film productions on environment-related issues, among them Anna Karenina and Sherlock Holmes – A Game of Shadows. Green Shoot was also involved in the development of the national standard BS 8909 for sustainable filming in Britain. The specifications outlined in the BS 8909 standard, which combines and coordinates all national activities within the framework of the greening film initiative, have been adopted by the British Film Institute (BFI). In South East England, the regional film subsidy agency Screen South plans to create incentives for green filming . At a meeting of the North Sea Screen Partners network during the summer of 2012, Screen South director Jo Nolan announced the creation of a subsidy fund for green productions with EU funding.

The public service broadcaster BBC has ambitious sustainability goals, such as a 20 percent reduction in energy use. They created the carbon calculator Albert that has already been adopted by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) in 2011. Albert has been further developed and is available as a free online tool for calculating CO2 footprints.

  Ireland: Guidelines for Green Production
The Irish Film Board has prepared a Green Production Toolkit for film and television productions that can be downloaded from its website free of charge. The Toolkit contains practical measures that can be implemented by any production company. The information is tailored to meet the needs of various departments in a production and it addresses all areas, including cinematography, wardrobe, make-up, special effects, and transportation.

Belgium: on an E-Mission
In the small film country Belgium ecology and sustainability are a big issue. The Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF) requires that every production applying for funding must submit a carbon footprint for their project. VAF is the first film commission to tie the approval of funds to the environmental engagement of a production. In its e-Mission handbook, the Flanders Film Commission provides a comprehensive address book of green service providers, among them environmental consultants and carbon offset projects.

  France: the Green Media Consortium Ecoprod
The Ecoprod initiative was created in a concerted action by nine partners, including the French film commission CNC, television stations such as TF1 and France Télévisions, and the environmental agency Ademe. The consortium, in addition to a Green Production Guide and a set of guidelines for sustainable production, has developed Carbon Clap to determine the CO2 footprint of film and television productions. EcoProd’s CO2 calculation software is based on the Bilane Carbone diagnostic tool that is used to assess emissions for consumer goods in France. It uses different emission factors than the British model does, so neither carbon calculator is functional all over Europe.

Europe: Cine-Regio has plans for all-region CO2 calculator
The Cine-Regio network, a group of 38 film funds from 15 European countries, is discussing measures to establish ecological and sustainable production standards in the film industry in its Green Production subgroup. A top priority is the development of a CO2 calculator that can be used for co-productions in all European regions.

Film Commissions strive for uniform Standards
The European Film Commission Network, which represents 80 European film commissions from 24 countries, advocates a common sustainability strategy and unified standards on a European level. A specific goal is the establishment of an online communication platform and a database containing information about all green film production companies and service providers in Europe.