The U.K.’s preeminent film bodies, the BFI and BAFTA, have produced a report that identifies innovations across five key areas to reduce carbon emissions in film production, with a view to zero emissions by 2050.

The report, titled “A New Screen Deal: A Route Map to Sustainable Film Production,” identifies the areas of improvement as production materials, energy and water use, studio buildings and facilities, studio sites and locations and production planning, and recommends every day practices that will lead to reductions across these production sectors.

Commissioned by the BFI’s Research and Statistics Unit in partnership with Albert, the BAFTA-led consortium, the study has been researched and analyzed by global engineering and design firm specialist Arup. Data analyzed shows that the average tentpole film creates 2,840 tonnes of CO2e, the equivalent of 11 one-way trips from the Earth to the Moon.

Arup analyzed sustainability data from 19 productions filmed in the U.K. and the U.S. in the last five years to assess resource consumption patterns and carbon emissions. Tentpole films with budgets at $70 million or more were chosen for the analysis on the basis that they would have the largest carbon footprint.

The study concludes with six principles on which a sustainable future depends:

  • the need to measure the industry’s true environmental impact, aligning carbon accounting practices with globally recognized methodologies;
  • digital collaboration using cloud-based collaboration platforms to enable crew to collaborate and communicate more effectively;
  • end-of-life planning where production departments plan for end-of-use from the beginning;
  • studio sites providing the physical and digital infrastructure to support sustainable film production;
  • leadership, where industry bodies, investors, studios and larger production entities lead the net zero carbon and zero waste agenda;
  • shared responsibility, where stakeholders align incentives to make the business case.

Harriet Finney, director of external affairs for the BFI, said: “Commissioned last year, the purpose of this report by Arup was to share innovation and knowledge and help kick-start a more sustainable production ecosystem. Arriving now – just as productions restart and introduce new ways of working on set and on location – there is an opportunity to consider how we create efficiencies in our approach to materials and resources and learn how innovation is working for other industries.”

Pippa Harris, chair of the Albert film forum, said: “We have all felt the devastating economic and cultural effects of the pandemic, so now is the time to regroup and come back stronger. We cannot continue to create films in the same manner we did before with no long-term plan for the environment around us. It’s time for our industry to lead the way both on and off screen and rebuild for a cleaner, greener future.”