Green Filming – Frequently Asked Questions

Many film productions already use resource-saving and ecologically sustainable production methods in order to make films as climate-neutral as possible. 


Below you will find an extract from the Discussion Guide of the Lower Austrian Film Commission. It is intended to give you a brief introduction to the comprehensive and multifaceted topic of Green Filming.


What is Green Filming?

The film industry cannot shut its eyes to increasing eco-political awareness and the vital necessity of reducing pollutant emissions, calling for a change of thinking in this sector, too. Filmmaking’s ecological footprint needs to be reduced.

Green Filming describes how resource-saving and ecologically sustainable methods can be employed in order to make films in as climate-neutral a way as possible. Thus all trades and stages involved in the making of a film, whether during shooting, post-production and even in sale and distribution, are screened for green alternatives and adapted subsequently.

Preferably, this complex controlling process is supervised by an in-house or externally commissioned environmental manager, the Green Consultant, who will ensure a highly environmentally-orientated mode of production. (credits: prismacoop/GreenFilmTools 2019/LAFC)


Why Green Filming matters?

Due to streaming and non-linear 24/7 TV viewing habits streaming platforms as well as private and public TV stations are in need of more and more programmes and content. The consequently growing number of productions increases the media industry’s energy demand and its greenhouse gas emissions.

The film industry counts among those global industries consuming vast amounts of energy and leaves a massive carbon footprint.

Two percent and rising of all CO₂ emissions worldwide are caused by information and communication technologies according to a study by the European Broadcast Union (EBU). (credits: Green Film Shooting/LAFC)

The film industry is one of the most energy-intensive branches worldwide leaving a considerable carbon footprint. Green Filming helps reducing CO₂ emissions significantly hereby contributing to reaching the climate goals.

According to a 2006 study by the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Hollywood‘s movie industry’s share of atmospheric pollution is larger than most big industries and comes second after the fuel industry in greater Los Angeles. (credits: UCLA Sustainability in the Motion Picture Industry 2006/LAFC)


What makes shooting films green(er)?

In Green Filming the focus is on maximum prevention or reduction of CO₂ emissions and offsetting them.

In order to produce climate-neutrally, it is vital to establish the strongest polluters in filmmaking and examine, communicate and implement the practicable measures by means of systematic management.

The Green Film Consultant ought to be an integral part of the production team, tasked with screening and consistently optimizing the entire production process due to ecological aspects, while being on hand with help and advice for the team. In many countries, the Green Film Consultant is already establishing itself as a new profession. This is why the LAFC, together with Philip Gassmann/Green Film Tools, brought a certified training and further education for filmmakers to become a professional Green Film Consultant to Austria. The training to become a Green Film Consultant Austria, which is offered exclusively by the LAFC, is officially recognised by the national film funding bodies ÖFI, BMKOES and FISA as part of their funding activities.

Since 2017 film production can apply for the Österreichisches Umweltzeichen (Austrian Eco Label)-certificate. This requires that a Green Producing officer is involved in the production process or seeking the support of a specialized eco-business consultancy for the implementation of ecologically sustainable modes of production.

A production team might want to employ independent external, specialized eco counselling to assist in the implementation of an environmentally sustainable way of producing. (credits: prismacoop/GreenFilmTools 2019/LAFC)


How does Green Filming work?

Each film production varies from project to project according to its size and type or specificities of the shooting locations. The course of action for climate-friendly and ecological shooting basically stays the same. These are the steps: Awareness for the issue ought to be raised already in the run-up to a production: The creative departments, film director, director of photography, production/costume design as well as the production team, will be involved already in planning discussion.

The film production’s commitment to the sustainable production scheme is a critical success factor and ideally embedded in the company’s mission statement.

In the next step the energy, resource and emission savings potential will be assessed. Targets are defined particularly for all areas, where maximum improvement can be achieved with little effort. The CO₂ balance is based on the calculations of the carbon calculator especially adapted for the film production. Austria’s first filmspecific carbon calculator is provided free of charge by the LAFC:

Usually the following “hotspots” are scrutinized: production office, transport of people and material, accommodation, grip, lights, production design (locations or studio) including set construction, costumes & wardrobe, catering, waste management. Analysing these focal points allows recognising savings potentials and defining optimisation measures or making plans for offsetting, if emissions cannot be prevented.

The consequent measures will be implemented in consultation with the individual departments. Improvements achieved are constantly checked against targets and communicated to the team every day along with the call sheet, keeping everyone involved and motivated. (credits: prismacoop/GreenFilmTools 2019/LAFC)


What are the benefits of Green Filming?

Productions managed in pursuance of sustainability standards allow filmmakers practicing their profession without harming the environment or their fellow human beings.

Moreover, Green Filming helps provide the film industry with a favourable change of image. The subject of sustainability may very well initiate a motivating dynamic, if the entire crew, cast, service contractors and other contracting partners are included.

Due to its public appeal the film and TV industry serves as a model and multiplier.

Besides, Green Filming generates economic benefits in the medium and long run and will certainly gain in importance in regard to the awarding of contracts or funding in the future.

Generally speaking, Green Filming creates significant added value and delivers a relevant contribution in terms of environment, climate, CO₂, and sustainability. (credits: prismacoop/GreenFilmTools 2019/LAFC)


For further and specific information please visit the DISCUSSION GUIDE of the LOWER AUSTRIAN FILM COMMISSION (LAFC).