Hollywood might not come to mind first when considering climate impacts, but feature films require a lot of building materials, energy and travel. To address this, the Green Production Guide helps film studios find sustainable solutions. Everything from catering to set design helps production companies reduce their environmental impact.

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What climate difference could a movie make?

Filmmaking can be more environmentally friendly. In fact, sustainable filmmaking is not only good for the environment, but it’s also good for the studio’s bottom line.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2, according to Forbes and The Hollywood Reporter Saved $400,000 by focusing on sustainability. The wardrobe department started a recycling program and sourced textiles from farmers markets. Over 49 tons of material were recovered from the film’s sets for donation or reuse. Catering donated 5,862 outside meals to local shelters. The set also uses biodegradable snow and water-based smoke. Reducing the use of plastic water bottles and choosing eco-friendly detergents also contribute to the production’s sustainability goals. Overall, these measures have resulted in a 52 percent total diversion to landfill, making Spider-Man 2 the most sustainably produced and financially successful film in Sony’s history.

Other studios are now considering ways to make their work more sustainable, but building a system that captures all possible areas of improvement and tracks the results can be challenging. This is where the Green Production Guidelines can help.

A close-up of the camera used to illustrate the Green Production Guidelines.

How Green Production Guidelines Can Help Film Sustainability

For ease of use, the Green Production Guidelines Toolkit is divided into sections. They include checklists of sustainable practices, carbon footprint calculators and worksheets to reduce plywood, food and material use or track excess donations. Also includes infographics, further resources, and an awards program recognizing film sustainability.

List of sustainable practices: PEACH (Production Environmental Action Checklist) and PEACH+ (Additional Measures) include practices that each sector can implement throughout the production process. Review documentation with each department during planning, then track achievements again at the end. PEACH is also used as an application for the Environmental Media Association’s Green Seal (just save and send to EMA for application).

Carbon Footprint Calculator: PEAR (Production Environmental Accounting Report) is a tool that measures the environmental impact of production in terms of energy used in offices and on stage, fuel used in vehicles and generators, and emissions from air travel and accommodation. PEAR can also report waste, donations, and other purchases that have an environmental impact, such as water bottles, plywood, and paper.

Plywood Tracking Worksheet: The PLUM (Production Timber Material) worksheet tracks your plywood usage with a primary focus on Lauan/Meranti to ensure sustainable sourcing. You can track how much plywood production uses and where it comes from.

Food and Supplies Donations: Often, reducing waste also means giving back to the local community. Explore the guide for resources on donating excess food or stationary materials. Impact can be tracked through waste reduction and the positive impact your production has on the community.

A set of movies.

Green is the new normal

In the beginning, sustainable practices can become the new norm. Craft Services can reduce and recycle single-use plastic containers used to feed and replenish cast and crew members. Sustainability and reduced travel can lower the production’s carbon footprint, and green screen and post-production techniques fill in the gaps to diversify filming locations.

While most costumes, sets and temporary shelter are discarded or only used for short periods on film sets, production companies explore sustainable practices to support climate action and help their bottom lines. Donating, reusing clothing, recycling, green travel practices, technology, and even reducing post-production energy in studios can all help films become more profitable and sustainable.

If you’re looking for ways to make your suits more sustainable, check out the Green Production Guide. The “Getting Started” presentation includes tools to create a timeline for tracking sustainable practices through production, and provides calculators for everything from water and fuel use to wood and commercial air miles. The goal is to help production companies track and reduce the use of valuable resources while budgeting for less expensive productions. Even if you start with small changes, these resources can make a difference and reduce wasted production overhead. Over time, these standards may become the new normal for Hollywood studios.

+ Green Production Guidelines

via Forbes

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