On 30 June 2022, European Commission officials, film and audiovisual professionals and industry representatives from various organisations gathered for a Capacity Building Seminar organised under the umbrella of an EU financed project entitled “Strengthening capacities of social partners to meet the challenges of environmental sustainability in film and TV productions”.
The event was held at « La Maison de la poste » in Brussels involving producers, consultants, industry organisations and European Institutions representatives.
The capacity building seminar was structured into two sessions:
The morning session aimed at providing a background for the initiative and explore the recent policies developed at European level on sustainability and green transition, assessing the environmental impact of the audiovisual sector and;
The afternoon session took more of a practical approach with the presentation of case studies based on real experiences on sustainable production followed by a panel and Q&A session with the invited experts sharing their experience on the field.
The event opened with a brief introduction given by William Maunier, President of the Media, Entertainment & Arts sector of UNI Europa (EURO-MEI) and Mathilde Fiquet, Secretary General, European Audiovisual Production Association (CEPI).
"Today's event organised by CEPI with the other organisations involved in the social dialogue committee is an amazing opportunity to bring together professionals from the audiovisual sector and experts in sustainable production. This is not about reinventing the wheel but give more visibility to the many initiatives and efforts already present in our industry, and to ensure that we are all aiming at the same goal equipped with the tools and necessary flexibility to reach it." Mathilde Fiquet
The morning guests speakers representing the European Commission, Arthur Corazza, Socio-Economic Analyst, DG EMPL Unit and Maria Silvia Gatta DG CNECT, Unit “Audiovisual Industry and media programmes” presented European policy and programmes aiming at accelerating and accompany the green transition.
Arthur Corazza explained the goals of the European Green deal in the context of the industry transition to more sustainable practices. The European Green Deal aims at transforming the EU into a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy. This, explained Corazza, is an objective established in time with a deadline of 2050 and a target of 55% of CO2 emissions by 2030. These objectives cannot be reached without an horizontal commitment by all industries hence welcoming the scope of the Seminar and recognising the value of sharing knowledge and best practices on how to cut emissions in the film and AV production.
Maria Silvia Gatta presented the new measures introduced by Creative Europe accompanying the industry in the transition by including sustainability as a criteria to fulfill when applying to EU grants while pointing out the need to couple the green transition to innovation.
Following the presentation focusing on policy objectives and instruments, Marie Gouttefarde, Sustainable Film Analyst, European Audiovisual Observatory and Martin Kanzler, Deputy Head of Department for Market Information, European Audiovisual Observatory, joined the seminar to present a set of studies assessing the industry transition to sustainable practices.
Marie Gouttefarde presented a study published by the European Commission in July 2021 on Greening the European Audiovisual Industry highlighting the impact of the actors in the production value chain, available incentives and solutions related to the main CO2 emitting parts of productions like transportation, buildings, energy generation, lighting and more.
The European Audiovisual Observatory is currently exploring the possibility to collect basic data on sustainable production on national and pan-European level. This work emphasised Martin Kanzler, has the objective of monitoring selected key indicators ("macro" data) like the number of film and audiovisual production obtaining a green certification or average carbon emission footprint benchmark data for certain types of productions. The Observatory hopes to do this in co-operation with carbon calculators, labels / certification programs as well as national and regional film funds.
Thanks to the participation of Tim Wagendorp, chair of the EFAD sustainability working group and Julie-Jeanne Régnault, Secretary General of EFAD, participants had the opportunity to understand the way national Film and Audiovisual Agencies are approaching the need for greening the Audiovisual and Film Industry. EFAD has a dedicated working group to discuss the matter and exchange best practices.
Many film funds, reminded Julie-Jeanne Régnault are already implementing their own initiatives: carbon calculators, incentives or eco-conditionality of support, trainings, additional eligible costs in the support schemes, etc… ex. Criteria are different from fund to fund and harmonisation and coordination at European level is one of the challenges to be addressed.
The speakers emphasised how will see more conditions in the future but likely to be integrated in a progressive way adapted to the industry transition but also providing a motivation for the transition to meet international environmental targets.
The morning session closed with the intervention of Katja E. Schwarz, Green Consultant for culture and media productions, Tolle Idee! Network presenting the role of the Green Consultant, the professional figure more and more present for sustainable production guiding projects and crews to achieve more sustainable results adopting best practices to reduce CO2 and waste production.
In her presentation Katja Schwarz highlighted how sustainable productions require a great degree of planification prior to the beginning of the shooting. In this sense, the work of a consultant is not limited on implementing sustainable practices but especially prepare, educate and accompanying professionals throughout all the phases of production.
Applying principles proper to the circular economy based on efficiency and sufficiency, the green consultant supports the planification of the production process ensuring the respect of fairness for crews and the environment in a large set of activities.
Afternoon Session: Sustainable Production Case Studies
During the afternoon sessions guest panellists, Hemini Mehta, Sustainability Lead at European Broadcasters Union (EBU), Josepha Edith Andras, Sustainability Manager & Production Coordinator at Terra Mater, Lena Weiss, Producer / CEO of Glitter & Doom and Julia Tordai and Zsofia Szemeredy, Founders of Green Eyes Production presented a set of study cases proposing concrete examples of the benefits and challenges of completed green productions around Europe.
Hemini Metha presented the experience of Broadcasters and the best practices developed turn sustainable green. As already mentioned during the morning session, rules and standards differ from country to country, bringing the example of the United Kingdom where broadcasters have mandated to certify their production by Albert, a practice that will likely be implemented by other broadcasters members of EBU outside the UK.
EBU approach is based on 3 main areas of actions: Travel, Energy and Waste, accompanied by a change in mindset from the traditional way of creating content with the help of technology (Virtual production and green AI tools).
Terra Mater’s sustainability manager Josepha Andras presented the sustainable measures adopted during the production of a Youtube series – Collider Diaries and a documentary entitled Patrik and the Whale.
The two productions, successfully offset carbon creating by avoiding travel of crews hence shipping equipment and remote shooting or in the case of Patrik and the whale, by completing pre-production 100% remotely. Josepha Andras highlighted the importance of selecting a location. In her experience, shooting on an island with a limited range of commute, made possible to avoid the use of cars for displacement drastically reducing the environmental impact.
Lena Weiss presented the production of Smother a psychological horror film shot in Austria. Lena Weiss as others panellists reiterated the importance to plan the sustainable practices of the production before the beginnings of the project.
The focus of the sustainable measures was mainly on mobility, opting for the use of electric and hybrid vehicles as well as compensating crews for their use of public transport.
Production design also allowed to reduce emission by use of rented props and furniture that was donated after the conclusion of the work but also reduce waste by using no disposable dishes and vegetarian meals and much more. As a result, the production managed to save an equivalent of 38.245 Kg of CO2.
Last but not least, Julia Tordai and Zsofia Szemeredy, Founders of Green Eyes Production presented a case study based on the production of Moon Knight focusing where during the 1 year of production, through a consistent waste management process waste have been drastically reduced with 23 Metric tons of materials being diverted from landfills and incinerators.
In his closing remarks, Benoit Ginisty, Managing Director of the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF) recalled that partners behind the project use to work together and believe in a collective approach which is more structural for our audiovisual sector rather than having each constituency working in isolation. He stressed the important value of the experiences shared today by producers having produced green as well as the importance of the continuous exchange with public institutions in that field – whether at European and national levels –, in particular to accompany and to support the European film and audiovisual production sector.
As recognised by the representative of the European Commission, the European audiovisual sector is well placed among the European industries and early embraced the green transition.
Benoît Ginisty concluded by raising that awareness is key and recalled that this is the core objective of this joint project.
Media, Entertainment & Arts sector of UNI Europa (EURO-MEI), European Audiovisual Production Association (CEPI), European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the International Federation of Actors (FIA), the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF) and the International Federation of Musicians (FIM), wish to thank all guest speakers as well as the participants for their commitment and all the initiatives taken to reduce the environmental impact of audio-visual production.
We believe that all the initiatives presented during this event are only a few first steps toward the industry green transition.
A special thanks goes to our guest speakers: William Maunier, President of the Media, Entertainment & Arts sector of UNI Europa (EURO-MEI) Mathilde Fiquet, Secretary General, European Audiovisual Production Association (CEPI)
Arthur Corazza, Socio- Economic Analyst, DG EMPL Unit “Fair Green and Digital Transitions, Research
Maria Silvia Gatta, DG CNECT, Unit “Audiovisual Industry and media programmes”
Marie Gouttefarde, Sustainable Film Analyst, European Audiovisual Observatory
Martin Kanzler, Deputy Head of Department for Market Information, European Audiovisual Observatory
Tim Wagendorp, chair of the EFAD sustainability working group
Julie-Jeanne Régnault, Secretary General of EFAD
Katja E. Schwarz, Green Consultant for culture and media productions, Tolle Idee! Network
Hemini Mehta, Sustainability Lead, European Broadcasters Union (EBU)
Josepha Edith Andras, Sustainability Manager & Production Coordinator, Terra Mater
Lena Weiss, Producer / CEO, Glitter & Doom
Julia Tordai and Zsofia Szemeredy, Founders of Green Eyes Production
Paloma Andrés Urrutia, Co-founder of Mrs. Greenfilm
Benoît Ginisty, Managing Director of the International Federation of Film Producers association (FIAPF)