Cinema takes the ecological transition very seriously

When it comes to having undesirable environmental impacts, such as generating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or waste, or consuming resources such as energy and water, etc., film production is like other industries: it has them and they are clear. In return, it also has many areas of action to not only reduce them considerably, but also to have positive impacts.

In fact, the sector has its batteries fully activated and there are many initiatives and actions carried out in recent years both in Spain and internationally, to incorporate good environmental practices into film productions, movies, advertisements, etc.

Making cinema green

In Spain, films and series such as La sociedad de la Nieve, Reina roja, Cerdita, La chica invisible, En los margens, Mari(dos), and dozens of other productions, events such as the Goya Awards gala and the San Sebastián Film Festival, and even several movie theaters, have incorporated various good practices to reduce their environmental impact.

For its part, the Film Academy made available to the sector the Green Seal Guide to good practices for the sustainability of the audiovisual sector; and Promálaga, a municipal body for the promotion of entrepreneurship, prepared the Sustainable Filming Guide, within the framework of the European Green Screen initiative.

Tools like these, together with the work of consultancies specialising in providing advice on incorporating sustainability into filming, serve to reduce, for example, the carbon footprint of a shoot lasting between six and eight weeks, currently estimated to be the equivalent of that of a single person in 15 years, or the production of an advertisement, estimated to be the same as that of a family of four in three years, according to various consultancies. These incorporate environmental professionals specialised in the sector, and incorporate digital tools for data collection, analysis and development of action plans appropriate to each production, adapted to the artistic requirements.

The actions proposed by both guides cover everything from the development of the script to the exhibition of the films. These include, for example, encouraging teleworking in offices, housing the crews as close as possible to the filming location, hiring caterers who use local products, connecting to the general electricity grid instead of using generators, incorporating electric vehicles for transport and choosing the train instead of the plane whenever possible, distributing reusable water bottles, separating waste, renting furniture instead of buying new, building sets so that they can be dismantled and reused, and so on. These are measures that, taken together, can have notable positive effects on the final summary of each production.

International productions

At an international level, production companies such as Netflix are also decarbonising their productions. In this case, as stated in its latest ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) report, since 2021 they have proposed to achieve two specific climate objectives by 2030: to reduce their CO2 emissions by half, and, since last year, to match the remaining emissions by investing in climate solutions.

Fuel consumption is the largest source of emissions, which is why productions are using clean energy, such as Bridgerton, based on hydrogen, and Supacell, for which they used hybrid generators.