How to make productions more sustainable

How to make productions more sustainable

Sabrina Clarke interviews Makers’ executive producer Sophie Chapman-Andrews about how to make productions more sustainable.

In my article, “Consumers want a transparent commitment to being green with an end-date”, I recommended sustainable supply chains, sustainable productions and green credentials as the blueprint of collective action to make media a more sustainable industry that responds to consumer expectations. I asked Sophie Chapman-Andrews, executive producer, Makers, her opinion on how to make productions more sustainable.

Why do you think sustainable productions are essential?

It’s the only way we should be producing now. At the outset of every production we do, we should be thinking about how we minimise our impact on the planet from limiting travel (the biggest area of carbon consumption of all), what materials we actually need, what kind of lighting we can work with, how we store the data and resulting assets of the shoot and so on

Can you provide examples of how you have made your productions more sustainable? 

Using technology like volume walls lit by LED lights combined with unreal engine can really help save on carbon usage (up to an estimated 70%). We recently shot a campaign in this way for one of our clients which otherwise would have had us travel to 15 different locations; instead of which we were able to do the whole shoot over two-to-three days in one studio using this technology, thereby saving time and money as well as carbon.

What would you recommend to your peers as a starting point to make their productions sustainable?

Look at where you need to shoot it. Do you need to travel far? If so how can the majority of crew be engaged locally? If you’re in a studio, what can you do to minimise impact on the planet from what lighting to use, to props / sets (can anything be re-used if you really have to build from scratch), to can catering be vegan and ensure things like single-use plastics are not present on set.

What practices would you recommend to the industry about embedding sustainable productions?

Using tools like the Adgreen Carbon Calculator and ALBERT is a start; they help to show you where the biggest areas of carbon consumption sit. Then it’s about refining those tools; the more they are used, the more data they will have, the easier they will become to use, etc. Also training; everyone should have a standardised sustainable training qualification like Adgreen. Lots of people have it but it should be a mandate when you hire someone (and that’s clients / agencies / production companies, etc)  that you will either provide it or allow the time for it (depending on what is appropriate) if they don’t already have it.

What is your message to leaders who think sustainability isn’t a priority?

Put simply, there is no Planet B.

Sabrina Clarke is managing partner of Build Global, a boutique strategy consultancy. She specialises in consultancy around strategy, transformation and sustainability.

The Media Leader’s parent company, Adwanted UK is currently pursuing B-Corp certification. Read about our journey here.

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