|Going from strength to strength|
|Written by Paul Mahoney|
|Wednesday, 13 October 2010 09:03|
Sustainable Filmmaking going from Strength to Strength
The FFC/American University Code of Best Practice in Sustainable Filmmaking is now nearly two years old, and a lot has happened since it was launched. Back in 2008, sustainable filmmaking was something only a few people and companies thought about, and even fewer actually practiced. Now there's significant progress being made, and a number of exciting new initiatives are around the corner.
In the US, PGA-Green has been set up by the Producers Guild of America to promote sustainability in film and television http://www.pgagreen.org/. There's a website with news and useful information, a Facebook group, a Twitter feed, plus FredsList, a site for posting unwanted sets, props and equipment.
In the UK, the BBC are trialing a set of sustainable production guidelines and advice, plus ALBERT, an online carbon calculator. To start with, this will be for internal BBC use, but the intention is to make it available to the production community at large during 2011.
Production carbon calculators seem to be in vogue at the moment - in France Ecoprod, a joint film and TV industry initiative, has just launched CarbonClap on their website. The site itself is currently only available in French, but there's an English version on the way http://www.ecoprod.com/.
Currently both ALBERT and CarbonClap only cover the ‘big ticket' items - energy, travel, office etc. Clearly this information is useful when working to reduce impact, so both are good tools for filmmakers. However neither calculator yet captures enough data to give a fully accurate picture of a film's emissions and resource use. Future versions of both will include additional areas and will be more comprehensive.
Over the past years a number of green ‘marks' for film and TV have evolved, but many of them are self-certifying and none have yet gained wide acceptance. But, in the UK at least, this is about to change. The UK Film Council has been working for some time with the British Standards Institute on a new standard for Sustainability Management for Film. The result, BS 8909, is now out for public consultation, and is expected to be finalized in Spring 2011. Although aimed at the film industry, it will also work for television production. Having a British Standard is an important step, since it provides certifiable targets set by a widely recognized independent organization.
Most of this activity is aimed at large productions and large organizations - logical since big shows use lots of energy and resources. Smaller independents also want to work sustainably, so in Bristol the FutureNow group is setting up a one-year project to help up to 50 small and medium sized media companies work towards sustainable business certification. FutureNow is supported by SWScreen and Bristol City Council, and is led by a number of freelance filmmakers, web designers and viral marketers. If this pilot project is successful, it will be rolled out to many more media businesses in the following years.
And what part is FFC playing in all this? We're deeply involved in the FutureNow project, which is entirely appropriate because of our links with a large number of freelances and small companies. We're providing feedback to the British Standards Institute on BS 8909, and we're working closely with both the BBC and Ecoprod to represent the views of documentary filmmakers with a commitment to conservation. Thanks to the Code of Best Practice, everyone sees our involvement as welcome and effective.
In an exciting addition to the advisory role that FFC is playing in these sustainability initiatives we would like to congratulate Footprint Television, a company based in the British city of Bristol.
The Queen's Award for Enterprise 2010 has commended Footprint "for the ways it is promoting sustainability, both through its film production and through wider company operations."
The panel said Footprint's major strength came from "checking all resources and suppliers for sustainable, ethical and responsible policies."
Footprint's travel policy, its commitment to measuring and managing waste and emissions, works to the FFC Code of Best Practice in Sustainable Filmmaking and promotes the benefits of sustainability to the public. These factors were also praised in the Queen's Awards.