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Green Rider: UK actors back plans to make film and TV production greener

Bella Ramsey is one of the artists who have signed the proposal for a Green Rider
Bella Ramsey is one of the artists who have signed the proposal for a Green Rider Copyright Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP
Copyright Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP
By David Mouriquand
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What is a Green Rider, and can film and TV productions become more environmentally friendly?

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More than 100 UK actors are backing a proposal for a ‘Green Rider’ - an environmentally friendly contract between performers and film and TV production companies.

Stars like Mark Rylance, Stephen Fry, Bella Ramsey, Paapa Essiedu and Natalie Dormer have signed a statement created by performing arts and entertainment union British Equity that outlines terms actors can request to make productions less damaging to the environment.

Equity claims the series of proposals will “empower artists” and help them add clauses to their contracts that work towards an environmental culture shift.

These proposed contractual agreements between artists and producers would “improve sustainability in the UK’s TV and film industry,” according to Equity.

Riders are a set of clauses that actors can add to their contract, detailing their requirements on set. They often rhyme with unreasonable demands, lavish extras, and private jets a-go-go. 

In contrast, the Green Rider would insert commitments to eco-friendly practices into the contracts of the stars, with suggested clauses including:

  • Actors avoiding large trailers, private air travel, or fossil-fuel powered road vehicles.
  • Producers providing low carbon transport options such as trains and electric vehicles. (If this isn’t offered, a valid explanation must be offered.)
  • Actors considering the carbon/environmental cost of additional food or comfort requests that require runners to go off site, and reducing them accordingly.
  • Actors sharing trailers and dressing rooms to reduce energy use.
  • Producers providing the artist with their carbon reduction plan, demonstrating concrete, measurable carbon-saving actions and how they are being achieved on set.

Several actors added personal statements to Equity’s proposal, including The Last of Us star Bella Ramsey.

Ramsey, 19, said: “Equity’s Green Rider is a practical route to positive change in the film and television industry in regards to sustainability. We can make all the films in the world about climate change but unless we are environmentally conscious in the process of making them, our efforts are superficial. The media has historically inspired change, so I’m excited about the introduction of this Green Rider and the conversations it will incite.”

However, the scheme has been greeted with some scepticism, considering the contradictory behaviours of some stars, who have been called out in the past for undermining their green credentials, as well as the negative impact and high carbon footprint of many big budget TV shows and films.

The industry known for transporting both casts and crews around the world for filming, as well as many non-sustainable practices around costumes, props and promotional events.

According to a report created by BAFTA's Albert (an environmental organisation aiming to encourage the TV and film production industry to reduce waste and its carbon footprint) the average big-budget movie production produces 2,840 tonnes of CO2.

Additional sources • Deadline

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