Event Report: Final Conference Environmental Sustainability in the Audiovisual Sector, 21st of April
On Friday 21 April, social partners CEPI, EBU, FIAPF, FILM and the Media, Entertainment & Arts sector of UNI Europa hosted the final conference of the project “Strengthening capacities of social partners to meet the challenges of environmental sustainability in film and TV productions” to present the state of play and the way forward in environmental sustainability in film and TV productions. The conference was a successful platform of dialogue and collaboration, attended by a diverse range of stakeholders including producers, consultants, industry organisations, trade unions, film funds, and European Institutions representatives, as well as producers, creators and other professionals from the European Audiovisual sector.
Dearbhal Murphy, Deputy Secretary General of FIA and Benoît Ginisty, Managing Director of FIAPPF, kicked off the conference by sharing the exciting progress made over the last two years in mapping tools and resources to support environmental sustainability in the audiovisual industry. Together, the project partners have explored the key challenges and opportunities of moving towards greener processes and practices in collaboration with industry and policy stakeholders.
The outcome of this mapping exercise is a comprehensive booklet with all the findings of the project and an online platform that collects all the sustainable practices found along the way. As new practices emerge, the platform will continue to evolve and provide valuable guidance beyond the scope of the project.
The goal of this project is to provide guidance and support to the industry as it moves towards a more sustainable future. The journey is ongoing, and the booklet and online platform are just the beginning. With continued collaboration and innovation, we can build a brighter, more sustainable future for the audiovisual industry.
Frank Siebern-Thomas, Head of Unit Fair Green and Digital Transition research in DG EMPL at the European Commission started the morning session with an overview of the policy background the green transition and the policy measures put in place for a fair and green transition; he also presented his new Unit formed one and a half year ago with the mandate to support policy development for a fair green digital transition. He highlighted the urgency of the situation and presented the challenges of green transition.
Siebern-Thomas emphasized the important role of social dialogue in achieving this transition and encouraged attendees to share their good measures and ideas.
The second speaker was the co-founder of Mrs. Greenfilm Paloma Andres Urrutia; she emphasized that sustainability is not just a trendy topic, but a crucial agenda that we need to address to ensure a healthy planet for future generations.
Paloma gave the example of her production company that has been measuring carbon footprints for years and has now created a comprehensive guide on how to shoot sustainably in every context for each production. She also emphasized the significance of sustainability on screen by introducing environmentally friendly behaviours that people can observe in their everyday lives without causing harm to nature.
Finally, Paloma emphasized that we need to work fast and collaborate with bigger players and partners and she added that sustainability is a global issue, and content is seen all over the world. With great power comes great responsibility, and we must work fast.
The morning session was concluded Davide Gianluca Vaccaro, Project Coordinator at CEPI who recalled the path taken to arrive to this conference. He presented in detail the tools that have emerged from the project: an open-source booklet featuring a practical part that offers valuable advice for productions. The goal is to make sustainability a part of daily practices by taking small steps, such as measuring emissions, involving co-workers, and analysing data. Additionally, the project provides an online database that includes guides, training, carbon calculators, certifications, platforms, and many other resources.
Davide emphasized that sustainability solutions aren't one-size-fits-all, and he urged industry professionals to tailor the project's resources to their specific needs and adapt them to their own context. He concluded by inviting the industry to join forces with the project and contribute to finding sustainable solutions for the sector. The platform and the booklet are accessible at this link: https://www.greentoolkit-filmtv.eu/.
The afternoon session was composed of two panel debates. The first one was monitored by Annika Bromberg, member of the project experts’ group, Scen & Film- Swedish Union for Performing Arts and Film, and featured Mathieu Delahousse, Co-Founder and President of Secoya Eco-tournage, Eva Dvořáková Pérez, Green Consultant and Founder of Bgreen.tv, and Anne Puolanne, Sustainability Manager at the Audiovisual Producers Finland.
Annika Bromberg asked questions to the panellists about their experiences and what solutions and proposals they have to support the green transition. Eva Dvořáková Pérez emphasized the importance of awareness and practical tools to support filmmakers in making the shift to green production. Meanwhile, Anne Puolanne noted the need for more research on the industry ecosystem to understand the status quo of the industry.
Mathieu Delahousse acknowledged the challenges of changing long-standing industry habits, but also highlighting the potential for rapid change, as demonstrated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The panellists recommended involving artists and crew members in the conversation, setting a positive example, and having a green consultant on set for personal discussions.
While there is still much work to be done, the panelists agreed that the industry is moving in the right direction, and that by working together, we can create a more sustainable future for the film industry.
The second panel involved three speakers: Monique A. Goeschl Policy Advisor at FAMA, Agnès Toullieux Secrétaire Générale Adjointe at CNC, and Tim Wagendorp sustainability coordinator in VAF and chair of the EFAD sustainability working group. The panel was moderated by Daphné Tepper, Policy Director at the Media entertainment and arts sector of UNI Europa.
Daphné Tepper began by asking the panellists about their initiatives to promote sustainable practices in their respective countries. Monique talked about Austria's green bonus, a voluntary fee-based certification program, and the development of green consultant training. Agnès highlighted France's "Plan Action," a three-year progressive plan that includes certification and training of young professionals and a requirement for productions to provide carbon emission audits. Tim shared how the VAF is promoting sustainable practices during the production phase and developing tools to support it, such as the Eureca carbon calculator, which helps make sustainable choices and report on them.
The panelists also discussed the reception of their initiatives by the industry and the challenges they face in implementation, such as the need for updated tools and resources. They emphasized the importance of spending money wisely and making logical choices.
The panelists also discussed the need for mutual recognition of different standards across borders, the importance of lobbying work, and the need to co-create what is lacking at the European level; the participants also discussed how to work together with the policymakers and bring messages to the relevant authorities. They all expressed a desire to learn from other European experiences and to remain open to new ideas.
CEPI's Secretary General, Mathilde Fiquet, alongside Daphné Tepper, concluded the event by highlighting the discussions, exchanges, and comments that had taken place during the day. Mathilde was particularly impressed by the 360-degree discussion, which bridged the gap between Brussels and what is happening on the field.
From the insightful discussions, Mathilde identified three key takeaways. Firstly, there are many solutions and tools available for sustainability, but the challenge is to determine how to make them work together, given the unique requirements of every production. Secondly, for real progress, it is essential for the private sector, government, and society to work together. They must collaborate without hiding the costs and efforts involved, even if they work at different speeds and occupy different positions. Lastly, raising awareness is crucial, and this can be achieved through education and having the entire ecosystem on board.
Mathilde encouraged the audience to carry on the discussion and to use the tools developed during the project. By working together, stakeholders can move towards a more sustainable future. The event has provided an excellent opportunity to share ideas and identify ways to bridge the gap between policy and practice.
The Media, Entertainment & Arts sector of UNI Europa (EURO-MEI), European Audiovisual Production Association (CEPI), the 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.
A special thanks goes to our guest speakers:
• Dearbhal Murphy, Deputy Secretary General of FIA
• Benoît Ginisty, Managing Director of FIAPPF
• Frank Siebern-Thomas, Head of Unit Fair Green and Digital Transition research, DG EMPL, European Commission
• Paloma Andres Urrutia, Co-founder Mrs GreenFilm
• Davide Gianluca Vaccaro, Project Coordinator, CEPI
• Mathieu Delahousse, Co-Founder and President of Secoya Eco-tournage, France
• Eva Dvořáková Pérez, Green Consultant and Founder of Bgreen.tv, Czech Republic
• Anne Puolanne, Sustainability Manager, Audiovisual Producers Finland APFI
• Annika Bromberg, member of the project experts’ group, Scen & Film- Swedish Union for Performing Arts and Film
• Monique A. Goeschl, Policy Advison, FAMA, Austria
• Agnès Toullieux, Secrétaire Générale Adjointe du CNC, France
• Tim Wagendorp, sustainability coordinator in VAF and chair of the EFAD sustainability working group, Belgium
• Daphné Tepper, Policy Director at the Media entertainment and arts sector of UNI Europa
• Mathilde Fiquet, Secretary General of CEPI