email print share on Facebook share on Twitter share on reddit pin on Pinterest

Berlinale 2022 - EFM

Industry Report: Green Industry Initiatives and Sustainability

The European Film Forum surveys the efforts needed to build a climate-neutral audiovisual sector

by 

BERLINALE 2022: The talk comes at a time when the measurement of carbon emissions and labels for green production are at the heart of the many private and public initiatives

The European Film Forum surveys the efforts needed to build a climate-neutral audiovisual sector
l-r: AC Coppens (sitting), Maximilian Höhnle, Roser Canela Mas and Luz Molina

On Monday 14 February, the European Film Forum organised a panel titled “Towards a climate-neutral audiovisual sector” as part of this year’s European Film Market (10-17 February). During their introduction, AC Coppens spoke about the European Commission's commitment to adopt a Media and Audiovisual Action Plan, consisting of ten different initiatives, including Action 6 called “Towards a climate-neutral audiovisual sector.” The talk comes at a time when the measuring of carbon emissions and labels for green production are at the heart of many private and public initiatives.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

First, Coppens introduced Head of Unit Audiovisual Industry & Media Support Programmes Lucia Recalde, who welcomed all the initiatives aimed at reducing the carbon footprint and said that the dialogue between the EC and the audiovisual industry on green matters has been intensifying since last June. These talks brought them to focus their efforts on developing a common carbon-measurement system.

Coppens introduced the first speakers, namely producer and green consultant Maximilian Höhnle, Head of European Green Screen Project and representative of Promálaga Luz Molina, and BAFTA albert’s International Manager Roser Canela Mas.

Among other topics, the speakers highlighted how measuring the carbon footprint becomes challenging when it comes to co-productions, since every country adopts its own system and thresholds. The three panellists agreed on the urgent need to create a system which could align all these figures and to find a common methodology to collect them. Molina touched upon EURECA, a very ambitious project made to develop a carbon calculator that can be applied widely across Europe’s audiovisual industry. Meanwhile, Canela Mas disclosed that their tool is being used by over 2,000 companies in more than 20 countries, and their database includes 11,000 footprints recorded over the last year. Höhnle stressed the fact that not all productions are interested in implementing green policies so one of the tasks of financing bodies and public funds is to sensitise them about the topic, as early as in the pre-production phase. Molina also warned that data is important but the focus should still be on quality rather than quantity. Not all the figures carry the same weight, she argued, thus understanding is essential to measure their impact properly. For example, the impact of single-use plastic is minimal compared to that of transportation and electricity. She added that it will be crucial to address all the players, “from the BBC to the tiny producers” as well as to award them with special stamps to certify the quality of their work – from a “basic” green one to silver, gold or platinum ones for the most virtuous.

Later, director, producer and green film production expert Philip Gassmann was asked to talk about the European CO2 calculator currently in the works. He explained that he conducted a study on European productions’ footprint and how difficult it was to collect data from the different countries, but also noted that it is essential to leave no one behind, since the level of knowledge and readiness for the topic vary greatly. He mentioned the example of Germany, where there are currently 300 green consultants, whilst in some other countries there is not even one available. In detail, the new online measurement tool is not set to replace existing national calculators but will offer every European audiovisual production comparable CO2 data. Some parameters will be the same for all countries, whilst some others such as electricity will be adapted country by country. Among its features, it will allow users to compare fossil vs. green and renewable CO2 data as well as to perform an immediate footprint/hardprint evaluation. Data will be easily collectable for further analysis and downloadable in PDF/Excel documents. Among the biggest CO2 impacts, Gassmann listed travels, transportation, accommodation, energy, catering and set construction. Focusing on these main “big wins” would allow productions not to be obsessed with “weighting trash bags” and other lesser impact activities.

In the last part of the event, Coppens introduced Sky Group’s Responsible Business, Sustainability and Social Impact Fiona Ball, European Producers Club (EPC) Managing Director Alexandra Lebret and Polish producer Tomasz Morawski. Lebret said EPC was among the first bodies compiling a “green charter” and were inspired by Sky’s considerable efforts on promoting green production. She highlighted that the real challenge will be changing people’s behaviour on set, and this will be difficult without conveying positive messages. She added that green film production requires the implementation of huge changes in the industry, including the way films are being financed. For example, it will be important to stop territorial conditions demanding productions to spend part of the budget in a certain country, so that entire teams won’t be forced to travel back and forth.

Morawski agreed with Lebret and explained that in Poland, regional bodies are emerging as true leaders of green filming, as they are keen to support producers and local outfits. Next, Ball stressed how green filming can bring innovation to the industry. Internally, Ball said that Sky shares production guidelines and organises carbon literacy training within its teams.

EC’s Deputy Head of Unit Audiovisual Industry and MEDIA Support Programmes Martin Dawson brought the event to a close, wishing for a speedy delivery of the new measurement tool, which would “increase trust, comparability and collaboration, in particular for European co-productions.”

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.

Privacy Policy