Supply Chain Information: Film Production

Sector Name: Electronic Information – Film and Television Production

SIC code: 512110


Major Players

  • Fox Entertainment Group
  • Paramount Motion Pictures Group
  • DreamWorks
  • Sony Pictures Entertainment
  • MGM Holdings, INC.
  • NBC Universal
  • Time Warner
  • Walt Disney motion Pictures Group
  • ABC Studios


Major Issues

  • Location 

Location considerations play a key role in sustainability efforts for films. Film production companies are beginning to film in locations and buildings with minimal carbon footprints and environmental impacts, or in areas where the community itself employs many sustainability initiatives.

  • Food 

Food services (more commonly known as craft services in the film industry) during productions serve as a key area in which productions can see significant amounts of waste reduction on set.  Some waste reduction tactics include:

    • Reusable cutlery/plates: Rather than using disposable plastic cutlery, productions can significantly cut the amount of waste generated on set.
    • Food donations: Unused food products can be donated to local food banks.

Additionally, sourcing food options from local sources not only aids local economies and small-scale farmers, but decreases the carbon footprint of shipping food and produce, as well as the packaging materials necessary for transport.

  • Materials

Film productions require large amounts of physical materials for set design, props, and costumes to name a few.  Production and set designers have focused on purchasing sustainably or locally sourced materials. This requires complete knowledge of materials life cycles.  Below are some of the key aspects of film production that require consideration on a film set.

    • Set construction: Key areas include sustainable wood and lumber, and reusable/recyclable materials, such as steel.
    • Wardrobe: Donating clothing or storing and reusing after production ends.
    • Hair/make-up: Using sustainably produced, non-animal tested products.
    • Film/tape stock, etc.: Recycling extra/old film, or donating it to a film school.
    • Office materials: Purchasing recycled office supplies, such as paper, ink cartridges, and even pens.
  • Waste reduction

Film productions are trying to focus more on reducing and eliminating waste.  This includes recycling waste and sharing/reusing materials among productions.  It also includes food waste reduction, as discussed above.

  • Energy use

With the amount of electronic equipment used on film set, energy consumption is a major consideration in  greening a film set.  Productions frequently rely on energy generators while filming. Some companies are looking at diesel or solar-powered alternatives to normal gas-powered generators.

  • Transportation

Productions often must transport people and materials long distances. The increasing concern with limiting carbon footprints and costs associated with transportation.  Some of the ways this is addressed is:

    • Relying on commercial carriers instead of private planes
    • Increasing use of teleconferencing
    • Using more fuel-efficient vehicles
    • Carpooling


Key Requirements

As suggested above, film-sector sustainability efforts have been broad; key requirements for small businesses looking to work with film production companies vary from sector to sector. Individual sectors have unique certifications and expectations. However, all small businesses should review and improve recycling/waste management protocols, reliance on sustainably produced energy, purchasing of environmentally friendly office supplies and materials, and commitment to low-carbon transportation.


Key Certifications


Getting Started

Small businesses looking to work with larger film/television production companies should first complete a full audit of their supply chain, organization, and practices. This will help identify existing sustainability strengths and weaknesses both to help craft sustainability-focused marketing efforts, as well identify key areas for additional work.

Next, small businesses should review industry best practices and case studies to identify aspects of film-production sustainability efforts within which they can work.

Finally, small businesses should identify current film/television productions in their area/state.  The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has compiled state by state statistics on film productions and provides information for state film offices. 


Going Further

Later, businesses hoping to work with production companies should work towards well-regarded sustainability/green certifications.  Some of these certifications are listed above.

Consider writing and submitting an application to enter into databases/directories of sustainable film-production partners such as the Green Production Guide, the Planet In Focus Directory, the FSC directory.


Advanced Step

Eventually small businesses should create new sustainability-themed marketing plans/materials to better market themselves to film production companies.  They should also modify existing supply chain and practices to better serve sustainability goals.


Best Practices

  • NBC Universal is pursuing aggressive sustainability efforts in its television and film productions. The company has produced a comprehensive best practices guide, and has used it to guide many film and television productions. As with other large production companies, Universal has maintained a large focus on tracking and calculating total carbon footprint for a production, and then purchasing carbon offset credits. Other sustainability initiatives include sharing materials, sets, and locations among multiple productions, and focusing on waste reduction throughout production.
  • Sony is also pursuing a range of sustainability initiatives in its recent film productions. It has mainly focused purchasing carbon offsets, reducing waste, and choosing/building LEED-certified structures.
  • Warner Bros., like other large production companies, has created its own green-production guide, which it has used to  direct sustainability efforts for its film and television productions. Efforts have centered on green building, solar and other renewable energy sources, and sustainable supply chains.


Key Resources


Key Words: Green Filmmaking, Sustainable Film Production, Green production, Green Film.


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