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Consumerism Enviromental Ethics Environmentalism Fair Trade Lifestyle Research Sustainable Film Production

How can Film Production Become More Sustainable?


The media and entertainment industries might not be top priority when thinking about resources dependent and wasteful consumption habits. The high definition productions we consume produce a significant carbon footprint, scoring really low on the ethics and sustainability chart. How can film production be made more sustainable?

Research asserts that smart technology with real-time perception will play a large role in actively eliminating carbon emissions and reducing carbon production in the film industry. It is our responsibility, as consumers, to demand step by step reports on how these practises will be implemented.

The Contribution of Film Production Footprint

51% of CO2 emissions are related to transport. attributed to different locations, usually across several countries. Scripts are printed on paper and thrown away after use. Plastic is used for the cast and crew’s food and water needs, while props and costumes are usually discarded at the end of production. The vehicles and power generators used by the cast and crew are also large contributors to the industry’s carbon footprint.

Direct environmental impacts of filming may disturb wildlife and habitats through sound and light pollution. The construction of sets can also cause the trampling of vegetation, increasing waste generation and deforestation. These are some effects that film production have on the environment, which contribute directly to climate change and environmental degradation.

Post-production emissions should also be considered, especially high definition movies produced specifically for streaming apps. Movies produced for streaming purposes are compressed and stored in power intensive and data generating which run 24/7. When movies move along optical fibres from data centres to deliver streaming enjoyment, carbon emissions are released into the atmosphere.

optical switch connector with similar cables in building
Photo by Brett Sayles on

The Positive and Sustainable Results of the Pandemic.

Although the pandemic continues to leave devastating and long lasting effects on the global population, it seems to have done the complete opposite for the media and entertainment industry. Although more health and safety precautions have to be adhered to, the industry is becoming more ethically and sustainably aware.

Travelling associated with TV and Film productions is being reduced due to virtual and augmented production technologies. These technologies use LED walls and green screens to render any given location on any given set. This means a reduction in material waste and other negative environmental impacts such as deforestation.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ saved $400,000 by taking sustainable steps.  For example, a recycling program started by the costumes’ department sourced textiles from farmer’s markets every week and over 49000 kg of materials were recovered from its sets for donation or reuse on future films.

spider man on top of building
Photo by Josh Hild on

The food departments, reportedly, also seem to have reduced their waste streams by donating leftover meals to their local shelters. Production companies are also investing in biodegradable snow and water based smoke, eliminating plastic waste and using eco-friendly detergents on set,

The future of filmmaking

The media and entertainment industry is one of the oldest and most affluent global entities. This means the industry is aware of certifications and regulations, putting them on a great path to making a positive change. climate change affects us all but it is the greatest conglomerates that should make the greatest changes to save the planet. Smart-technology is a step in the right direction, but it still contributes too greatly to carbon emissions through transmission.

The industry is required to take more ethical means such as reducing their travelling miles and locations used for production. They can also draw up policies to ensure everyone in the industry, young and old, has an opportunity to contribute to environmental change through their productions.

The world is experiencing a new type of creation through platforms such as Youtube and Tiktok through a generation that is aware of the need to stop exploiting the planet’s resources. These creators also work to bring awareness to climate crisis and request more eco-friendly production and positive bottom line impact. The future is bright for film production and we should all work together to carry this future forward.

Tsholofelo Masela

Intentionality is a platform created towards engaging independent and intentional fashion consumers to positively impact social and environmental sustainability.

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