Behind the Scenes: Uncovering the Environmental Impact of the Film Industry and Solutions to Make it Green
Written by: Maxmilian A. H. & Candra M. U.
Designed by: Justin Raphael
Have you ever thought about the impact of the movies or series we watch daily on our environment? As it is proven that global warming threatens our environment and health, a portion of it is caused by the activity done in the film industry. The problem is even more relevant today considering the worsening climate change in the past few years, putting more importance on reaching net zero emissions. Together with global warming, the film and television industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, supported by the emergence of video platforms such as Netflix, Viu, etc. That pushes film companies to produce more to grab the growing market.
A recent study of hundreds of films has revealed that big-budget films and TV series production can generate around 3,370 tons of carbon emissions. Even smaller-scale movies and TV shows can produce significant carbon emissions, ranging from 250 to 1,000 tons depending on their budget. These numbers do not consider the additional carbon emissions created by advertising campaigns, transportation to and from cinemas, and even streaming content online. With hundreds of movies and TV series produced each year, the film and TV industry is responsible for millions of tons of carbon emitted annually. That highlights the urgent need for sustainable production practices to reduce environmental impact.
To put it into perspective, the fashion industry and its supply chain make up to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, releasing 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. Meanwhile, the film and television industry releases millions of emissions annually. The difference may seem enormous. However, that is because most carbon emissions associated with the industry have gone underreported or even not reported at all by producers. The lack of accepted standards to measure the industry’s footprint is one of many reasons why it’s so hard to demand accountability from the industry.
On the brighter side, there have been a couple of methods that could prove helpful in reducing the film industry’s carbon emissions. Netflix, one of the largest streaming platforms, has developed the Net Zero+ Nature plan to achieve net-zero emissions from its operations. Net Zero+ efforts include using renewable energy like solar power instead of fossil fuels, hiring local filming crew to reduce travel, and using energy-efficient LED lights in studios instead of higher-emitting incandescent lights. There are also third-party companies such as Creast, a Spanish-based production assistant company that has tremendously helped reduce carbon footprint. They have done so by analyzing a movie production potential and actual carbon emission and then doing whatever means are necessary to reduce that number to a safe amount.
With how much emphasis is given these days to global warming, getting to net zero is a goal that needs to be reached as soon as possible. The film industry plays a significant role in global warming through its high energy consumption and carbon emissions. However, there have been various solutions to counteract this as the industry is becoming more eco-friendly. Solutions such as Netflix’s NetZero+ plan and other possible solutions will pave the way for a greener future for the industry.References: