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PRODUCERS TOOLKIT

Sustainability and
climate action

We all want to live on a planet with a stable climate, thriving ecosystems, and diverse and healthy communities.

The CMPA encourages all producers and industry stakeholders to take action to reduce their carbon emissions as quickly as possible.

Get started

Sustainability is a big concept, so it can be hard to know where to begin or where you can have the greatest impact. So start here: when it comes to the climate crisis, carbon is the problem, so cutting carbon is the solution. Cutting emissions means using less fuel, less energy and putting less food into landfills (to turn into methane!). These solutions are easier, more available, and cheaper than you might think. Below are some simple ideas for actions to get you started.

CMPA commissioned research and case studies

Federal, Provincial (BC, ON, PQ) and municipal (Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal) programs and funds.

View brief

The extensive research and findings show that there are both additional expenses and cost savings on the path to sustainable film and television production.

Creative / development

  • Start early. It will be easier to make a plan, find solutions, consider the full value chain, and save money (and carbon!) the sooner you begin. Starting in prep? Great. Starting in development? Even better. Tap into resources and experts and involve your team from day one. Appoint someone to take responsibility for sustainability on your project. Communicate sustainability as a priority both on-screen and behind the scenes.
  • Be creative. Involve the creative team—writers, artists, performers, directors and other leaders—in the vision to tell climate stories and produce responsibly. Even projects that aren’t explicitly about the environment can point to how the crisis is impacting everyday life, and help normalize climate-positive behaviours.
  • Understand the market. Connect with buyers, partners and financiers early in the process to understand their own climate action priorities. Are buyers looking for sustainability-themed content? Will your contracts mandate specific sustainability actions or targets?
  • Reduce air travel. Use the digital connection tools we’ve gained from COVID to enable remote and virtual work where it makes sense.

Production

Fuel use (cars, trucks, planes) and energy use (generators) are the largest contributors of carbon pollution on the typical film set.

  • Track fuel use in litres, not just dollars ,and use a carbon calculator (or even an old-fashioned spreadsheet) to understand your impact and find opportunities for reductions and savings.
  • Where possible, encourage the use of hybrid, electric, or smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles. If using generators to power the set, opt for cleaner options such as smaller generators, renewable diesel or battery generators. Use grid tie-ins where available.
  • Engage your teams in the mission to go green. Talk to your department heads early and empower them to opt for sustainable solutions. Check out the various best practices guides and select actions that can be put in place on your productions. You may be surprised to find that many eco-options are actually cheaper.
  • Encourage everyone on your team to take the free sustainable production training offered by Reel Green and Ontario Green Screen.
  • Put sustainability on screen by showing climate-positive behaviours, like opting for electric picture cars, reusable bags and mugs as props instead of disposables, reusing materials, and so on.
  • Embrace innovation. Innovations like LED lighting and virtual production may revolutionize the way productions are made and watched. These new technologies are not only creatively exciting, but they are often greener as well.

Corporate sustainability

Sustainability at the corporate level is becoming more important with every passing day. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it will help attract and retain talent, and it will be important to buyers, financiers and investors.

  • Consider how sustainability can be incorporated into your corporate operations. No matter your position inside the company, you can make a difference and be a sustainability ambassador.
  • Set climate-positive policies, such as allowing remote work or cutting back on unnecessary air travel, investing in rechargeable batteries, turning off lights, and investing in power bars and eco-certified appliances.
  • Get involved in your local production community’s efforts to green the industry. Connect with the CMPA’s sustainability team for ideas.
  • Attend a Reel Green or Ontario Green Screen community meeting.
  • Become an ambassador for sustainable action on your productions and in the production community.

Resources

Below is a selection of tools and resources to help guide productions. The list is intended to be used by members in their own efforts to design and implement sustainable practices throughout their productions and organizations and to reduce their carbon footprint.

New links will be added to this toolkit on an ongoing basis, across the topics of training and tools, climate content, and consultants. Should you wish to suggest resources, or to share ideas, questions or concerns, please contact us.

Training and tools

albert supports the global Film and TV industry to reduce the environmental impacts of production and to create content that supports a vision for a sustainable future. They are leading a charge against climate change; uniting the screen industries to make a positive environmental impact and inspiring audiences to act for a sustainable future. Our free sustainable production online tools help you plan to make a difference.

Canadians view the environment as one of the most important issues facing our world. As Canada’s public broadcaster, CBC has a duty to be part of the solution and do everything we can to keep our environmental impact to a minimum. This page includes many resources, including information on calculating carbon emissions, how to produce in a greener way, how to implement a strategy to be greener, and more.

Creative Climate Leadership (CCL) is an international training and transformation program to empower artists and cultural professionals to take action on the climate and ecological crisis with impact, creativity, and resilience. They enable cultural leadership on climate change through training, mentoring, events, policy labs and networking.

The DGC National Sustainability & Climate Action Committee “NSCAC” was created in 2020 to examine the challenges and opportunities to achieve sustainable productions across all regions. With representation across all caucuses, the Committee aims to empower DGC Members to progressively adopt sustainable practices on production sets or in the studio and assist our members in becoming “As Sustainable As Possible”, with the goal and understanding that this should make their jobs more efficient and rewarding.

Ecoprod is a French sustainable film production initiative, promoting and highlighting films and crews working towards reducing the environmental footprint of the industry.

With Ecoprod’s Carbon’Clap you can measure the carbon footprint of an audiovisual, film or advertising project.

The Environmental Media Association (EMA), a nonprofit 501(c)3, is a diverse subsection of entertainment industry influencers, entrepreneurs in business, and green icons dedicated to the mission of promoting environmental progress. EMA is a movement powered by celebrity role-modeling, campaign work, social media messaging, year-round programs, including the EMA Green Seal for Production, EMA Talks and two high-profile events: EMA IMPACT Summit, and EMA Awards & Honors Benefit Gala.

FigBytes is an all-in-one sustainability platform, empowering organizations to better understand, track, and adapt their actions for greater impact.

 

Green Film is a tool designed to promote environmental sustainability for audiovisual productions and to guide producers in working in an environmentally sustainable manner. Green Film is also a label that certifies environmental sustainability for audiovisual productions conferred for projects conducted in an environmentally respectful manner.

Green Shot is an initiative to improve crews’ working conditions, decrease financial risks, lighten administrative loads and reduce the climate impacts of production across the entire entertainment industry – films, TV series, shorts, commercials, events, and festivals.

Manitoba Film & Music recognizes that sustainability in motion picture production is important. We also recognize we must collaborate and learn from each other and reduce negative environmental impacts. In early 2020 MFM licensed the Reel Green program for Manitoba. Reel Green is a program to inspire, empower and enable sustainable production. We want to encourage the reduction of negative environmental impacts and work to improve the wellbeing of crew and the communities in which we film.

The goal of the On tourne vert / Rolling Green program is to facilitate the adoption of eco-friendly actions during audiovisual productions. Any production, regardless of its size or type, will be able to benefit from the recommended practices and references to reduce the impact on the environment. The Rolling Green program is free and accessible to all!

The One Stop Business Workshop is a virtual business and financing series presented by CBC, CAVCO and the CMPA. In third series of workshops, which took place in October 2021, participants learned how to adopt green-friendly practices and produce their next project in an environmentally sustainable way. The sessions presented by different industry partners and are meant to introduce producers and content creators to a topic related to sustainable production and provide them with resources and information to learn more.

Ontario Green Screen is the collaborative initiative between government, industry partners, unions, guilds, trade associations and companies that endeavours to make lasting change in the industry and to empower individuals, production companies and studios to make sustainable choices.

The Reel Green Climate and Sustainable Production Course is a unique, engaging and solutions-based training session offering attendees the information and inspiration to live and work in a more sustainable way. Across the 2-hour online course, delegates can be expect to be challenged with engaging presentations, case studies and informative discussion regarding solutions and best practices.

Your guide to sustainable production. Developed by film industry leaders with environmental expertise, the Green Production Guide offers the tools, resources, and vendors you need to reduce the environmental impact of your production.

SPF is a global hybrid annual conference focused on accelerating sustainability in the motion picture industry, now in its 8th year. The events and programs cover topics that inspire and accelerate our sustainability journey.

Telefilm Canada, in its commitment to sustainability, launched its action plan on eco-responsibility. This commitment will be operationalized through our Programs, Initiatives, Promotion and Communication efforts, Research, Training and HR policies.

Climate content

One year on from the UN’s landmark Climate Change Conference (COP26) find out what’s changed in the broadcast industry and how creatives can respond. Watch a series of panels with the latest from commissioners, production staff, and those whose hit shows are communicating climate stories to millions across the globe.

Through an annual festival featuring environmentally focused films and with the help of a diverse community of experts, the BCEFF bridges science and story to promote environmental awareness.

Empowering people to imagine and realize low carbon, just, climate resilient futures through culture – from arts to heritage.

Climate Spring utilizes the power of storytelling in film and TV to create new narratives for the climate crisis. The organization provides funding and training opportunities, plus a platform for diverse stories about collective action.

Climate Story Labs catalyze the most compelling storytelling and bring new voices into the climate conversations. The Labs are curated and hosted by cultural organizations around the world to reflect the climate priorities in those regions.

A playbook for screenwriting in the age of climate change: an open-source digital guide to portraying climate change on-screen, including story inspiration, cheat sheets, character profiles, solutions, and projections into the future.

An annual call-to-action of the entertainment & media community to address the climate emergency. Attendees gather to discuss the industry’s collective responsibility to enact more sustainable practices and increase accountability in the face of the climate crisis.

Ki Culture is an international nonprofit working to unite culture and sustainability, providing programs and tools to make culture sustainable and position the sector as leaders for sustainability globally.

Planet in Focus is an environmental media arts organization with year-round programming that launched in 1999. Their mandate is to produce cultural events that showcase engaging and artistic films as a catalyst for public awareness and discussion on a broad range of environmental issues.

Whether you’re a writer, a producer or commissioning editor, Planet Placement is here to provide inspiration and practical guidance on creating content that normalizes sustainable behaviors. Discover all of the tactics and opportunities at your disposal, whatever your role, whatever your genre.

Re:Climate is Canada’s go-to centre for training, research and strategy on climate change communications and public engagement. They provide strategic services to help practitioners reach new audiences, overcome polarization, communicate urgency, and motivate change.

Story Money Impact is a registered Canadian Charity creating positive change at a time where the world seeks more clarity, purpose and good. They actively engage courageous filmmakers to refine and amplify their messages for systemic change through impact strategy, education, and partnerships with constituents.

Consultants

Decade Impact works with small and medium enterprises to help you define, measure, manage and communicate your impact. Whether speaking with your team in a design thinking workshop, or behind the scenes working on data analysis and policy development, our team provides the support to step into your impact leadership and respond to the critical challenges of our decade.

Diversion Zero Waste has developed an industry-first strategy to maximize the waste diversion process and divert film and television production waste from landfills to reduce your carbon footprint. Services include a Zero Waste Program, set demolition and set storage.

Earth Angel is a full-service sustainability agency dedicated to reducing the environmental impact of entertainment productions. They offer a menu of services to productions, studios, sound stages, film offices, production vendors, and many other organizations supporting this industry.

Good Planet Innovation is guiding the shift to sustainable practices, both behind the scenes and on screen. Providing consultation and hands on support from pre-production to post, Good Planet finds sustainable solutions for every department, from art department to catering, from the office to transportation.

Green Eyes is a sustainability consultancy that looks at a project’s lifecycle, from script stage, through pre-production, production, post and all the way to the final windows of festival, sales and distribution. They will assess your project, and help you devise a tailored, effective plan to be more carbon neutral.

Green Spark Group will help you achieve your sustainability vision with consultants, education, checklists, and manuals. They provide training and strategy for productions, studios, vendors, and corporations, to change the climate of entertainment.

Partners in the Green the Bid community share best practices, advocate for sustainable choices, and support one another in creating a green future for commercial production. The organization and partners are working together to build an advertising industry that is carbon neutral and zero waste.

Greener Island Consulting believes in working together to protect our planet.  Their goal is to help you move your business, project, or initiative forward in the sustainability era, by providing customized solutions that help reduce environmental impact while also improving the bottom line.

We help transition and future-proof your business by implementing ESG across your organization and embedding it in your culture.

The Sustainability Management Advisory Platform (S-MAP) platform utilizes Oxford Economics’ expertise, advanced modelling, and innovative tools to tackle sustainability challenges. The platform applies economics to analyze and guide sustainability strategies, aiding clients in achieving their goals.

Picture Zero is a sustainable production consultancy service that supports and advises productions looking to reduce their carbon footprint and increase their impact on audiences. They work across genres and all levels of production to deliver specific solutions and support the bespoke needs of production.

Radicle is focused on helping companies balance people, planet, and profit, with software and training to measure, reduce and report emissions.

Waste Management is on a mission to maximize resource value, while minimizing – and even eliminating – environmental impact so that both our economy and our environment can thrive.

Workiva transforms the way people manage and report data by offering a connected, cloud platform to seamlessly enable collaboration and deep integration into existing workstreams to simplify financial and ESG reporting.

Other resources

The Pact is an aspirational set of goals for the creative industries, encouraging voluntary action. It offers the opportunity for organizations and individuals to self-report on their sustainability initiatives, and collaborate and celebrate within an international community of climate enthusiasts in the creative industries.

ECCA is a global collaborative initiative to unite the cultural sector on shared climate goals and solutions. Initially conceived at the UN General Assembly, ECCA has brought together stakeholders in the film and television sector and will be expanding to include theater, music, performing and visual.

Producing for the Planet is a coalition of Canadian independent media producers who are making a commitment to act on climate change. The mission is to accelerate the adoption of sustainable production practices in the motion picture and screen-based industries through resource sharing, peer-to-peer collaboration and accountability.

SCALE (Sectoral Climate Arts Leadership for the Emergency) is a “network of networks” of artists and organizations working at the intersection of culture and climate in Canada. They serve as a national hub to develop strategy, align activities, and build the sustainability leadership capacity of Canada’s arts and culture sector.

The film production industry requires systemic change to become sustainable. This report sets out a route map to achieve this goal.

Teralta, a strategic partnership with AdvanTec Global, offers simple, clean, utility-scale hydrogen for commercial use through end-to-end capabilities, including project development, contract negotiation, project execution, and financing.