Bella Ramsey, Stephen Fry, And Ben Whishaw Lead Celebrity Push For Eco-Friendly Filmmaking

An image ofBen Whishaw: Green Rider
Ben Whishaw

Prominent actors including Bella Ramsey, Stephen Fry, and Ben Whishaw have joined forces in an effort to significantly reduce the environmental footprint of film and television production.

UK arts union Equity has introduced a groundbreaking “Green Rider” initiative that offers environmentally conscious clauses that can be incorporated into contracts.

These clauses encompass a range of eco-friendly practices, from avoiding private jets and large trailers to promoting the use of reusable water bottles and coffee cups on set.

Accompanied by fellow actors such as Tom Burke from Strike, who expressed hopes of fostering a cultural shift, the pledge aims to transform industry norms.

Burke stressed that the entertainment sector must collectively reevaluate its priorities and discard unnecessary status symbols.

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He highlighted the role of media in influencing perceptions of glamour, emphasizing the need to maturely address these aspects in order to drive positive change.

Burke launched the Green Rider at the Edinburgh TV Festival, explaining, “I think all we can do in life is keep our side of the street clean.” He underlined the importance of each individual’s contribution towards a cleaner industry environment.

Esteemed actor Sir Mark Rylance, who endorsed the initiative, recently employed the Green Rider’s principles in his short film “Spirit of Place.” Rylance decried the film production industry’s reputation for waste and unsustainable practices. He firmly advocated for a collective commitment to environmental responsibility, asserting, “Let’s clean up our workplace.”

A roster of nearly 100 notable figures, including Hayley Atwell, David Harewood, Bill Nighy, Paapa Essiedu, Nabhaan Rizwan, Juliet Stevenson, Dame Harriet Walter, and Adrian Dunbar, have lent their support to the campaign.

The Last of Us star, Bella Ramsey, expressed optimism in the Green Rider’s capacity to usher in positive changes for sustainability within the film and television industry.

The concept of a “rider” pertains to a set of conditions or requests made by performers for their working environment. This innovative green rider presents a practical roadmap for actors to undertake eco-conscious actions while participating in film and show productions.

The green rider outlines multiple sustainable practices, such as prioritizing trains over planes, sharing trailers and dressing rooms, minimizing additional food or comfort requests that necessitate off-site trips, and advocating for personal use of reusable bottles, cups, and cutlery.

Equity acknowledged that some actors had previously refrained from addressing producers about environmental concerns due to concerns about job security or being labeled as troublemakers.

The green rider initiative empowers industry professionals to proactively contribute to the transition towards a sustainable and low-carbon society.

Echoing the commitment, the green rider states, “As a high-emitting sector, our industry has a key part to play in the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon society… During Covid, our industry adapted in ways we could not have imagined. We can and will change again to tackle the climate emergency.”

The initiative also holds production companies accountable by encouraging them to reduce carbon emissions and environmental impact.

This includes measures such as minimizing diesel generators on sets, opting for sustainable catering, and offering fewer meat-based meals to the cast and crew.

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Written by Andrew Walyaula

Multimedia Journalist

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