“The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television wants to do its part in taking responsibility for the environment and fight unnecessary creation of waste, be careful in the usage of energy and resources, develop strategies to reduce, reuse and recycle resources, contribute to a healthy and sustainable working climate and create awareness. The Academy’s goal is to get more actively involved in the initiatives already taking place within our industry and will collaborate with partners and other organizations to keep the conversation moving forward and to share new ideas that could be implemented by all in the future.”
There’s no question about it: sustainability is becoming increasingly top of mind across the Canadian screen-based industries. From battery-powered sets to plant-based catering, more and more productions are discovering the many benefits of reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As the largest non-profit professional screen arts organization in Canada, the Canadian Academy wants to keep this important discussion moving forward and to help turn words into action.
All industries are responding to the climate crisis, and ours is no different. A recent report from the Sustainable Production Alliance (SPA) helps to explain why: for television, the data from 159 one-hour scripted dramas showed that the average carbon footprint per episode was 77 metric tons of GHG per episode. By comparison, the average Canadian produces 14 metric tons of GHG every year.
The impacts of climate change are making headlines and being felt every day. This is not a distant problem, and it’s already resulting in productions losing filming permits due to climate change weather events. At the same time, many of the solutions that are urgently needed are already available – like the 100+ grid tie-in connections across Vancouver. From a business perspective, it makes sense to invest in technologies that move us away from dependence on diesel. We know that the full cost of fossil fuels will only increase, with radical impacts on our global economy if clean energy alternatives are not widely available within this decade.
Production companies including CBC and Netflix, along with many others, now require GHG tracking and measurable reduction efforts during physical production. In response, industry groups across Canada and the U.S. are working together to focus their efforts where it matters most. The BC Reel Green and Ontario Green Screen have strategic plans to address barriers to sustainable production. The Sustainable Production Alliance (whose member companies include Amazon Studios, NBCUniversal, Netflix, and WarnerMedia), and the Directors Guild of Canada are committed to developing solutions and sharing industry findings. Both have role-specific toolkits, free for anyone to access. All of these findings come together at the annual Sustainable Production Forum, which brings the motion picture industry together to foster sustainable solutions for the betterment of the planet and entertainment.
The science is clear: we urgently need to significantly reduce GHG reductions – but the end of this story has yet to be written. The choices we make today will determine tomorrow, and the Academy is committed to informing and educating the current and future generation of creators to give every production the tools to work in a sustainable way. We’ve used our storytelling power to influence countless innovations in culture, from gender equality to ethnic diversity. That power to influence culture is needed now more than ever. Let’s change the headlines. We need everyone, in every role, involved in sustainability: fast progress where it counts the most is the goal. Join us.
Sustainability means something different to everyone, and we can all contribute to social and environmental goals. The most creative solutions come from varied perspectives. We invite you to have courageous conversations about the barriers preventing progress as well as the success stories. Everyone in the film industry is a storyteller, and the stories we tell create our reality. We are the authors of our culture. What an incredible opportunity that gives us to tell stories of innovation.
Written by Randi Kruse, Senior Director of Sustainability at MBS Group Canada, on behalf of the Academy Sustainability Committee.
The following section contains a collection of resources that includes success stories from productions within the industry, initiatives, and forums or panels.
As the conversation continues, additional information and resources will be added; we encourage you to check back on a regular basis for new information!
Y: The Last Man | Inside Look
Revolutionizing Sustainability on Set
Green is good. Go behind the scenes to see how Y: The Last Man valued sustainability on set, as well as how the cast and creators handled the challenges of shooting a series about a pandemic during COVID.
Members Lounge 2021
The Art of Con/Destruction: Sustainability and Circularity On Set
Presented by William F. White International
In this discussion, our panel offers ethical and sustainable practices to exercise circular waste management and recycling within production design, set building, and hair & make-up. This practical discussion will examine best practices for implementing the sustainability checklist, including destruction, dismantling, and reuse of materials after a shoot and how you can design with materials in mind, while still maintaining the vibrant look and feel of your production.
Members Lounge Redux 2020
The Sustainability Mandate
Presented by William F. White International
Awareness, education, and thoughtful examination of successful protocols for sustainable production is more important than ever. In this prescient discussion, we’ll investigate the larger shifts being felt right now, with a lens to new COVID protocols and restrictions, and develop a collaborative POV through which we can maximize our impact reduction. Industry leaders in the field of green production solutions will share their insight and recent R&D in how to lead by example and transform the way we do business inside and outside our borders.
Academy Talks 2018
Academy Talks: The Audience | Green is the New Black for a Sustainable Future
Presented by Ontario Creates
Seasoned Industry Executives discuss best practices and what content creators on any budget can do to help reduce the environmental impacts of their production. Climate change is real and everything we do matters. Find out what tools and organizations are out there to help you and your production as we all work to a better future.
- CBC/Radio-Canada’s sustainability plan: Greening our story (Canada)
- IATSE Green Committee (Canada)
- Netflix Net Zero + Nature: Our Commitment to the Environment (International)
- Sustainable Production Forum (British-Columbia)
Vice President, Sustainability and Stakeholder Affairs – William F. White International Inc.
Founder and President – Green Spark Group
Environmental Sustainability Lead – CBC
Senior Director, Sustainability and Communications – MBS Group Canada