Actors back film industry ‘green rider’ initiative

More than 100 actors have pledged to a sustainability campaign focused on implementing and improving sustainable practices within the UK entertainment sector, in a bid to decrease the carbon emissions associated with the film and television industry.

Actors back film industry ‘green rider’ initiative

Some of the notable individuals who have joined the initiative include Bill Nighy, Stephen Fry, David Harewood, Bella Ramsey, Hayley Atwell, and Maxine Peake

The ‘Green Rider’ campaign, launched by the trade union Equity, represents a potential contractual arrangement between artists and production companies, enabling artists to negotiate bolder sustainability standards on set before signing a contract such as no private jet use and limiting off-site food procurement.

Some of the notable individuals who have joined the initiative include Bill Nighy, Stephen Fry, David Harewood, Bella Ramsey, Hayley Atwell, and Maxine Peake.

The actor Mark Rylance said: “Film production is notorious for its waste and unecological practices. This Green Rider is a template to help all film and TV artists to ask for more ecological practices. Just because we can’t do everything, doesn’t mean we can’t do anything. Let’s clean up our workplace.”

Riders are contract clauses covering various artist requirements, including accommodation, nudity, and, more recently, inclusion and diversity on set. They have been infamous for high-profile demands like all-white furniture or private jets and have been often criticised for their environmental impact.

Equity states that its Green Rider aims to initiate a cultural transformation within the entertainment industry, where status is determined by positive actions and impact rather than excessive resource consumption.

The Last of Us’ star Bella Ramsey said: “Equity’s Green Rider is a practical route to positive change in the film and television industry in regard to sustainability.

“We can make all the films in the world about climate change but unless we are environmentally conscious in the process of making them, our efforts are superficial. The media has historically inspired change, so I’m excited about the introduction of this Green Rider and the conversations it will incite.”

Industry emissions

In 2020, BFI revealed that major movies with budgets exceeding £53.5m generate an average of 2,840 tonnes of CO2 per production. This amount is equivalent to the CO2 absorption capacity of 3,700 acres of forest over the course of a year.

The BFI report discovered that approximately 51% of emissions were linked to transportation, with 30% attributed to air travel and 70% to land travel.

The remaining emissions were primarily a result of energy usage, with 34% of a typical blockbuster’s CO2 emissions originating from mains electricity and gas consumption, and 15% from diesel generators.

Earlier this year, NBCUniversal and a host of other film and TV industry players launched a pilot to replace diesel generators with renewable electricity at filming locations in London.

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