Getting Started

Before taking action, screen production companies need to become aware of their environmental impacts. e.g. the ways in which the company may cause damage or harm to the environment. Many of the impacts will already be known or be obvious to you and quick gains can be made by starting with the common-sense tips for your screen production activity in the Tools (Office, Behind the Screen, Location, On Screen, Off Screen).

Identifying your environmental impacts

To get the complete picture, an environmental review is the best starting point. This is essentially an information gathering exercise that provides the baseline about the company’s current environmental performance. The review normally covers three key areas:
  • The environmental performance of the company itself e.g. resource consumption, waste generation and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Environmental compliance issues
  • Opportunities for improving environmental performance – based on the company’s significant environmental impacts.

  • Screen production companies can employ an external consultant or appoint a member of staff to undertake an environmental review or it may be possible to provide work experience for a student from a local university or polytechnic or to arrange a staff exchange with an environmental organisation.

    With simple instructions and an interest in environmental matters, many aspects of the review can be completed without environmental management experience; however, technical expertise may be needed for investigations into aspects such as air conditioning systems, lighting, hazardous substances etc. and the interpretation of the results.

    It is important to inform managers and staff about the environmental review, to be willing to fit in with busy production schedules, to keep staff informed during the review, and to provide feedback at the end of the review.

    An environmental review may not be practical for individual productions. It is best suited towards the infrastructure of production companies. Individual productions will need to implement the common sense tips in the Tools (Office, Behind the Screen, Location, On Screen, Off Screen). However, individual productions can be the subject of an environmental review as part of a production company or as a case in point to provide learning opportunities for future productions.

    Undertaking the Environmental Review

    Depending on the range of screen production activities, the environmental review will involve some or all of the following steps:
  • Notify all staff about the purpose, range of investigations, and timescales for the environmental review
  • Describe all the departments, business units, or activity areas within the company, their main functions and responsibilities and the physical space they occupy; building plans and drainage maps will be useful here
  • Identify the products and suppliers for each department
  • Identify any environmental initiatives currently in place
  • Interview staff about their roles, responsibilities, and environmental initiatives and seek any observations they have to offer
  • Conduct a waste audit by separating and weighing the different types of waste

  • Gather data for resource consumption, e.g. electricity, water, paper etc
  • Gather data on number and type of vehicles and fuel use by each vehicle
  • Gather data on outgoing couriers, taxi use, and air travel
  • Apply an appropriate tool to measure emissions
  • Contact local authorities to identify any relevant issues or requirements in the district or regional plan
  • Inspect building leases and contracts for any environmental clauses
  • Examine health and safety documentation and any policies or other voluntary agreements for environmental commitments/requirements.

  • Help may be available from cleaner-technology staff at local councils, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), The Sustainable Business Network, The New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development and Ministry for the Environment (MfE).

    What Is an Environmental Review?

    An environmental review will investigate:
  • Legislative compliance
  • Other environmental requirements, e.g. in studio leases and contracts
  • Environmental commitments, e.g. in policies and standards
  • Energy and water use
  • Resource use
  • Waste, emissions, and discharges.

  • It will identify:
  • Significant environmental impacts associated with business activities
  • Opportunities for improving environmental performance
  • Costs, savings, and pay-back periods
  • Examples of best practice
  • Business benefits
  • Environmental benefits.
  • Getting started at South Pacific Pictures

    In 2005, South Pacific Pictures carried out an environmental review of their offices and one of their key productions - Shortland Street. South Pacific Pictures gathered data on fuel, electricity and water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and completed several waste audits to get a clear picture of what they were throwing out. They also monitored crews working on location. South Pacific Pictures were able to correlate increases in resource consumption to particular activities, e.g. electricity use related to studio filming. This gave a clear picture of where improvements could be made. The environmental review helped South Pacific Pictures to devise environmental initiatives that specifically targeted their environmental impacts.
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