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Greening the Screen

A practical environmental toolkit for the screen production industry

This is a high impact industry where there is a perception that film makers don’t care about the environment. In fact, they do care – they are talented professionals with a passion for their craft and a natural affinity for matters environmental.

Tim Coddington, independent Producer

How big is your footprint?

So you’re seriously considering what you can do to care for the environment on your next production. Great! Starting from today, we can all do our bit for the environment. Greening the Screen – an environmental toolkit tailored for our industry – can help us make a difference.


Let’s face it, every production impacts of the environment.

All organisations leave their footprint on the environment and our industry is no exception.

In the studio and on location, our work consumes large amounts of energy and natural resources. We generate waste and emissions. We make great use of both natural and built environments and this adds environmental responsibilities to the production schedule.

Think smart, work better and add value

In all types of industries, people are recognising that it is essential to factor the environment into business planning. As leading screen production professionals in New Zealand, we play an important role in leading the way forward in environmental responsibility for our industry.

Good environmental practices bring cost savings, better risk management and reduced liability for any production. But equally important, responsible business management enhances reputation, increases competitive advantage and provides better access to investors and funding.

Let’s face it. If we mess up Planet earth too much, it isn’t like making a movie. We don’t have a backup location.

Entertainment Industry Development Corporation.

The vision of New Zealand on film is big business

Many international production companies come to film here because of our natural environment. (Photo credit: New Zealand Trade and Enterprise)

The environment is key to the success of our screen production industry.

The beauty of our country captured on film is big business. Many international production companies come to film here because of our natural environment. Tourists are inspired to visit New Zealand by what they see in our films.

The environment is one of our unique selling points. It’s simple: good environmental management has positive effects on the environment and for our industry.

Leading overseas screen production companies have adopted voluntary standards for environmental management and corporate social responsibility. These film makers already require the crews they employ on their productions in New Zealand to work to these standards. Greening the Screen enables us to take ownership of this process.

Environmental management: setting and achieving transparent and challenging targets for continual improvement in environmental performance.

Corporate social responsibility: demonstrating corporate leadership in labour and social relations, human rights, combating bribery, good governance and transparency.

I urge you to consider the advantages to this industry of embracing the greening the Screen process. The most important thing is that we own the process whether we are self-employed or running significant screen production companies.

Andrew Shaw, Prime Television

An opportunity to demonstrate leadership

There are certainly a lot of good things going on in our industry when it comes to environmental responsibility. But all of us can and should do more.

We have an opportunity to demonstrate leadership in environmental management by:

  • understanding the environmental impacts of our work
  • showing others what they can do to protect and enhance the environment
  • simply doing the right thing whenever we can.

The screen production industry has the ability to influence audiences, no matter what age, gender or nationality. Some even claim that film and television companies have an unwritten responsibility to use their influence for greater environmental and social good.

Greater public awareness of environmental issues may mean that someone who has never recycled may begin to do so, or someone may decide to take the bus or use a hybrid car, or they may decide to purchase environmentally friendly products. The opportunities for encouraging positive change are endless.

With very little effort, we can make significant improvements in the way we use resources while we reduce our waste. And to our surprise we have realized, whilst we make these improvements, we are going to save money.

John Barnett, South Pacific Pictures

It’s easy to make a difference

It’s not just what happens on screen that matters. Behind the scenes, there are many opportunities to introduce energy, water and other resource conservation measures that reduce or eliminate waste. Environmentally responsible practices often mean we can do more with less.

Just to give you an idea, think of all these things which we use daily in our work that have an environmental impact:

  • paper use for scripts
  • energy use for lighting
  • catering waste
  • materials used to build sets
  • chemicals needed for film processing
  • technical equipment
  • media and information technology.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, there are many more aspects of our work where we can make a difference.


The environmental toolkit is full of ideas and examples intended to help companies and productions use their creativity to seek win-win solutions for success on the screen and for the environment.

Bill Bayfield, Ministry for the Environment

Let’s get on with it!

So now you know why we need to start to work towards a sustainable New Zealand screen production industry. Greening the Screen shows you how to focus on what matters most for your production.

Developed in conjunction with screen production industry organisations and companies, the Greening the Screen environmental toolkit is full of ideas and examples tailored for the New Zealand screen production industry.

It will help you to use your creativity to deliver screen success while protecting

New Zealand’s natural, historical and cultural heritage.

The toolkit contains:

  • practical tips that anyone in the industry can use
  • case studies from companies that have successfully combined environmental and business benefits into their productions
  • templates that producers can use to create their own guidelines as part of the production plan
  • information on corporate social responsibility and why the sustainability message is an important one for our industry.

Using the toolkit

Go to the toolkit at to find out what you can do.

The toolkit is designed so that it is easy for you to find the information most relevant to your craft or production.

Three key areas are covered:

  • Environmental Tools provides simple explanations and suggestions on how we can improve environmental practices for various screen production activities. There are great common-sense tips for a range of work areas from wardrobe and makeup through to special effects and post-production.

    The more crew members are involved, the more these practices will spread through our industry.

  • Managing Environmental Impacts provides instructions for identifying and managing environmental impacts. It encourages a systematic approach to integrate these impacts with existing work processes for studio and location managers.

    Use the environmental toolkit at the beginning of a production and plan ‘in reverse’, ie consider how to dispose of the set at the planning stage.

  • The Business Case explains the importance of corporate environmental responsibility and may help you secure commitment to environmental responsibility from top level management.

    Bottom-line benefits are real and tangible, environmental improvements are easy to implement, and the time to do it is very little.

The toolkit provides environmentally responsible practices for everyone at all levels in our industry, behind the screen as well as on and off screen and in the public eye.

Whether you work in the office or on location, Greening the Screen provides plenty of suggestions and tips, case studies and useful information to help you minimise the environmental impacts associated with your production activities.

The big picture

Greening the Screen will:

  • encourage companies to strive to improve environmental performance
  • help protect New Zealand’s natural, historical and cultural heritage and the value of the “clean green New Zealand” image
  • contribute to sustainable economic growth in the screen production industry
  • enhance the reputation and competitiveness of the industry
  • support the adoption of environmentally responsible practices
  • demonstrate sector-wide leadership in corporate environmental responsibility.

Our goal is for the toolkit to be recognised as best practice in environmental management for our industry. It may also be used as a standard for international companies while filming in New Zealand.

Enough said, let’s just get on with it! Check out the toolkit online at

For more information about the toolkit contact:

PO Box 9567

Phone (04) 939 6934

Fax (04) 939 6935


The Greening the Screen Environmental Toolkit was funded by the Ministry for the Environment, Landcare Research (FRST Building Capacity for Sustainable Development) and Waitakere City Council, and developed in association with South Pacific Pictures and SPADA.

This best practice toolkit provides helpful practical advice and information for production companies and has been trialled in the industry. The guidelines are intended to be adapted by production houses depending on the size and nature of projects. The guidelines are not static and examples of good practice will continue to be added. SPADA commends these guidelines to our industry.

Penelope Borland, Screen Production and Development Association

Responsible and ethical environmental practices within the screen production sector are essential to the healthy future of New Zealand. These need to be more than lip service... they should be taken to the heart of our industry work practices.

Screen Directors Guild of New Zealand

Our members are in the forefront of screen production activities and are all too aware of the industry’s environmental impacts. We commend the practical suggestions Greening the Screen offers to all who are involved in screen production including the many self-employed professionals who make up the core of our industry.

New Zealand Film and Video technicians Guild