The ephemeral nature of New Zealand’s screen production industry presents particular challenges for the introduction of environmentally responsible practices. One of these challenges is reducing the environmental impacts associated with working on location including special effects that may involve the use of fire, explosives, water and artificial snow. With no fixed office or studio base, it can be difficult for productions to develop and maintain environmental management systems. The suggestions below have been developed to assist screen production companies and professionals in managing their environmental impacts on location.


Plan the production’s travel requirements with the goal of reducing travel wherever possible e.g. taking a considered approach to air travel and only travel where other alternatives such as video conferencing or Skype are not appropriate. It is important to remember that opportunities to reduce travel are also opportunities to save money.
Where air travel is required, look for opportunities to maximise the efficiency of the travel e.g. extending the length of time away to attend to other business in that region.
Consider choosing an airline that offers carbon offsets to travellers. Although this won’t reduce emissions directly it will contribute towards funding projects that will counter balance the emissions from your flight. Ask airlines for information on what projects are funded through the purchase of carbon offsets by travellers. Develop environmental specifications for leasing vehicles to include optimum fuel efficiency through model selection and maintenance. Enquire about the availability of hybrid vehicles and request the smallest engine size vehicle possible for the required task.
Ensure that any company vehicles are serviced and tyre pressures are checked regularly to maintain optimum performance and fuel efficiency.
Ensure that only the necessary vehicles needed for the day’s shoot travel to the location.
Always purchase the cleanest fuel available.
Manage vehicles on location by ensuring that parking, appropriate tracks for driving in and out of the location and ‘no go’ areas are well marked. Avoid the use of vehicles in and around the location if distances are able to be walked.
Record distances travelled and fuel consumption for each vehicle to monitor fuel efficiency and collect the data required to measure the productions ‘carbon footprint".
Travelling at a consistent speed with smooth accelerating and braking is more fuel efficient. Hard breaking and fast acceleration can increase fuel consumption by up to 25%.
Avoid carrying heavy equipment or gear that is not required. The heavier the vehicle the more fuel it will consume.
Keep to the speed limit. The faster you drive the more fuel you consume.
Limit idling time e.g. if you are stationery for more than a minute turn your engine off.
Vehicle air conditioners can use up to 10% more fuel when operating. If you don’t need air-conditioning ensure that it is off. If you are travelling at speeds over 80 km/h and you require cool air, it is more efficient to use the air conditioning that opening a window, as opening the window will cause resistance and increase fuel consumption.
Combine errands to make travelling more efficient and avoid repeat trips.
Plan your journeys to avoid peak periods, road works, and getting lost – this will reduce the amount of time behind the wheel and save fuel. Online maps can be helpful for driving instructions to locations and regions you are not familiar with.
Consider car pooling or offering a ride if you know of someone heading in the same direction as you.
Get into the habit of measuring your fuel consumption. Take odometer readings each time you fill your vehicle. Keep logbooks noting how much fuel you purchased in litres and/or dollars, what fuel type and your odometer reading. This will help you understand how much fuel your vehicle is consuming, give you the necessary information to provide to line/production managers on productions measuring greenhouse gas emissions and alert you to increased fuel consumption which can be caused by a fault with your vehicle.

Transportation is an essential part of screen production however, it is important to remember that transportation is one of the biggest contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions, causing climate change. Reducing travel wherever possible is the simplest and most cost effective way to reduce the ‘carbon footprint’ of a production. It is expected that the transportation bill for productions will continue to increase through the rising price of fuel and carbon taxes or levy’s which are being introduced in most western countries, this will affect not just the cost of transporting people, but also the cost of many goods and services.
With the focus on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, productions will come under increasing pressure to measure emissions and in some instances offset them. With some guidance, the information required to measure production emissions can be easily extracted from invoices. Whether a production chooses to offset greenhouse gas emissions or not, collecting emissions data, and calculating the ‘carbon footprint’ of the production is considered best practice.




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