The European Environmental Calculator Eureca is developed as a user-friendly online tool, that can be used to measure the impact of all kind of audio-visual productions in the stage of pre-production, production, and post-production. Stimulating the industry to adopt sustainable practices, raise awareness, measure impact, and motivate cast and crew must be wisely integrated. Furthermore, know-how, funding, and the development of sustainable practices in different departments are crucial. To do so, it is important to clearly define and quantify sustainability.
The carbon calculator is a commonly used tool in the film industry that maps the different ar- eas of the impact of an audio-visual production on the environment and translates categories like transportation, electricity generation and use, waste, and catering into quantifiable units. In most cases, carbon emission is the unit of measurement. Within the Interreg-funded Green Screen project, a detailed study of existing carbon calculators emphasized not only the impor- tance of accurately measuring impact but also of detecting shortcomings. Existing calculators differ in the areas of carbon emission that they monitor; they rely on regional parameters; and they may also be based on differing impact categories. This makes it difficult to use calculators in a standardized international setting.
The greatest shortcoming may be that calculators are largely used for reporting purposes af- ter the completion of a production. The carbon calculator data takes a snapshot of the finished production but it doesn’t motivate production crews to make sustainable choices during the actual production. This was reason enough for Promalaga, the Slovak Film Commission, and the Flanders Audiovisual Fund to team up for the Interreg-funded Eureca project.
In partnership with the Catholic University of Leuven in Flanders, reliable conversion factors and their correct usage will be defined and will be based on the best available scientific research. These parameters will be applicable on the EU level, which requires more regional details to be reported because there is a difference in the energy mix available in various countries. Eureca will not only focus on carbon emissions but it will also examine other types of impact, such as toxicity, water use, and acidity. A broad group of stakeholders is guiding Eureca’s development, and it will ensure that functionality is relevant for filmmakers in different regions by testing the tool before its official launch.
Eureca will enable filmmakers to view a rough assessment of the film, based on its budget, in order to detect important areas of impact. By reporting the actual impact, this eco-calculator will generate an overview of environmental savings. It will also enable the consolidation of general results from different films produced at the regional level and, furthermore, it will be linked to the Green Film certification scheme.
This user-friendly online tool will provide results that are easy to understand and that may be shared with team members. After initial development, Eureca will be tested in 2021 and it will be made available at minimal cost to users, i. e., producers, broadcasters, film commissions, film funds, and policy makers throughout Europe.
Text and photo: © Tim Wagendorp, Sustainability Coordinator,Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF) Member of Green Screen