The Business Case

There is growing recognition by the business community that long-term sustainable development requires them to address what is known as the three pillars: economic growth, social progress, and environmental protection. Initially businesses addressed environmental issues for reasons of cost savings, risk management and liability avoidance. Today it is much more for reasons of competitive advantage, reputation and increasing pressure from the public.

The business case

Where corporate responsibility reports have been produced, they focus primarily on companies’ direct environmental “footprints” rather than the far larger “brain-prints” that they leave on their audiences. (SustainAbility & WWF-UK 2004)

All organisations have an impact on the environment and the screen production industry is no exception. The industry consumes large amounts of energy and natural resources as well as generating waste and emissions. Productions take on particular risks and responsibilities for environmental protection through their use of both natural and built environments.

Environmentally responsible practices often mean businesses can do more with less, thus reducing costs and making businesses more competitive. The screen production industry stands to make significant gains from environmentally responsible practices, for both economic and social reasons.

Internationally, a number of screen production companies are working towards sustainable development through the adoption of voluntary standards for:
  • Environmental management – setting and achieving transparent and challenging targets for continual improvement in environmental performance
  • Greenhouse gas management – measuring, managing and mitigating a production or company’s ‘carbon footprint’.
  • Corporate social responsibility – demonstrating corporate leadership in labour and social relations, human rights, good governance and transparency as well as addressing environmental impacts.
  • Industry specific tools – screen industry bodies are developing industry specific strategies and guides for environmental responsibility.

  • The screen production industry has the ability to influence audiences drawn from a wide cross-section of society. Some claim that film and television companies have an unwritten responsibility to use their influence for a greater good such as sustainable development.

    There is a compelling business case for the New Zealand screen production industry to adopt more sustainable practices because of its unique relationship with New Zealand values and ability to influence local and overseas audiences. The New Zealand screen production industry has an opportunity to demonstrate leadership in environmental sustainability by:
  • Understanding the environmental impacts of screen production
  • Implementing appropriate environmentally responsible practices.

  • Good environmental management has positive effects on the environment and delivers a wide range of business benefits. By introducing energy, water and other resource conservation measures and reducing waste, and greenhouse gas emissions, screen production companies can reduce the costs associated with areas of high consumption and contribute to environmental protection.

    South Pacific Pictures Trials Environmental Toolkit

    South Pacific Pictures is a leading New Zealand screen production company. During 2005, South Pacific Pictures collaborated with Landcare Research, the Ministry for the Environment and Waitakere City Council to identify and implement opportunities for improving environmental performance and practices. During this time South Pacific Pictures was involved in ten productions ranging from feature films and dramas to reality television. This provided an excellent opportunity to draw on experiences from a range of screen production activities while developing the proposed environmental toolkit for the New Zealand screen production industry. Contracted professionals working on these productions would later go on to other projects where they would infect their new production teams with the enthusiasm for environmental responsibility that they caught at South Pacific Pictures.

    The Business Case for Corporate Environmental Responsibility

    In making the business case for corporate environmental responsibility, the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development (NZBCSD) states that operating within a well-defined framework of sustainable development helps companies to:
  • Be more efficient and competitive
  • Engage in responsible entrepreneurship
  • Increase their financial return and reduce risk for shareholders
  • Attract and retain employees
  • Improve customer sales and loyalty
  • Grow supplier commitment
  • Strengthen community relations
  • Contribute to environmental sustainability.
  • Benefits of Environmental Responsibility

    For companies:
  • Environmental compliance
  • Risk management
  • Efficiency gains
  • Cost savings
  • Staff motivation
  • Enhanced reputation
  • Improved community relations
  • Innovation and creativity.

  • For the environment:
  • Reducing consumption of energy and water
  • Reducing the use of natural resources
  • Reducing emissions and discharges
  • Reducing waste to landfill
  • Protecting natural, historical and cultural heritage
  • Raising awareness of environmental issues
  • Promoting good environmental practices
  • Leveraging further investment in environmental improvement.
  • Environmental Impacts of Screen Production

    Some of the general environmental impacts of the screen production industry in studios include:
  • Energy consumption, especially fossil fuels
  • Water consumption
  • Resource consumption especially paper use
  • Waste generation
  • Discharges and emissions.

  • Some of the environmental impacts of the screen production on location include:
  • Greenhouse gas emissions from fuel consumption
  • Damage to natural landscapes
  • Damage to wildlife habitats
  • Overexposure of sensitive and protected environments
  • Modifications to natural landscapes
  • Noise and artificial-light pollution
  • Damage to infrastructure such as historic buildings and monuments.
  • Greening the Screen Logo