Here, you will find a selection of helpful tools and tips that will make the planning and execution of cultural projects more sustainable and reduce your carbon footprint. Over the last few years, the international film industry has developed several initiatives and approaches to this end. The recommended measures are summarised in checklists, guidelines, handbooks and digital information platforms. Many of these tips and recommendations for best practice can also be applied to cultural projects that fall outside the realm of film.
Tools & Best Practice
- Greenproduction Guide (PDF) with useful tips for individual film departments
- Detailed checklist, organised by area (Excel)
- Short informational videos on various aspects of environmentally sustainable production:
Intro | Paper | Energy | Transport | Catering | Recycling | Accommodation
Ticino Film Commission
- Best practice for environmentally sustainable film production
Germany & Austria
- Minimum environmental standards for German cinema, TV and online/VOD productions (in German) These were developed by the Green Shooting working group together with the Changemakers.film filmmakers’ initiative, plus other film and TV sustainability experts
- The guidelines (PDF) of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the Federal Environment Agency help with the organisation of sustainable events
Berlin Brandenburg Film Commission
- Various information on green filming, organised by department
Media company MFG Medien- und Filmgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg
- Green Shooting Guidelines (PDF, in German), with a concise summary of practical tips
- Tips for individual areas of film production
MOIN Film Fund Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein
- Green Guidelines (in German), with numerous practical tips and suggestions
FFF Film Commission Bayern
- FFF Bayern has a collection of practical tips and tools and an easy-to-use checklist (PDF) covering the most important areas of film production
Lower Austrian Film Commission
- The comprehensive checklists for each individual film department serve as templates and are ready to be used straight away
- The Evergreen Tools provide tips for nine areas of the production chain
Cine Tirol Film
- Through Green Filming Tirol, the Cine Tirol Film Commission offers filmmakers a wealth of information to help them execute their projects under sustainable conditions
Italy & Portugal
Trentino Film Commission
- The GREEN FILM rating system is a comprehensive system for assessing the environmental sustainability of film productions, and can also be used as a guide
IDM Südtirol-Alto Adige
- EcoMuvi provides certification according to environmental sustainability criteria. Two different labels are awarded, depending on the score a company achieves
Portugal Film Commission
- The Production Handbook demonstrates how everyone involved on set can contribute to the sustainability of a production
- The case studies are intended to serve as inspiration on how sustainable methods can be implemented in production
- In the detailed report titled ‘A screen new deal – a route map to sustainable film production’, real examples and case studies are used to demonstrate how carbon emissions can be reduced along the production chain
Preserving resources: tips and websites
From the script to post-production – carefully planning the production in advance has a positive impact on resource consumption and the environment. It saves time and makes sense from an economic perspective, regardless of the cultural sector you’re working in. Every little change you make counts. For example, this could mean using electric, CNG or hybrid vehicles; avoiding air travel and using public transport; using LED lights; eating a meal made from local ingredients, plated on compostable tableware; and sorting waste on site. Below, you will find general information and useful tips and links on how to use resources more sparingly.
Almost 30% of the environmental pollution caused by people in Switzerland can be attributed to diet. However, we can already make a very positive impact in this regard by taking a look at our daily food consumption. Even by making small changes to our eating habits, we can contribute to protecting the environment and saving the planet’s resources. You can find the key points below.
- Sustainable food procurement (PDF in German): Comprehensive recommendations, prepared on behalf of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN)
- Plan ahead and do not buy too large quantities of food. If possible, ask in advance: Who eats what and how much?
- Give preference to regional, seasonal, organic and fairly produced food
- If possible, buy unpackaged food
- Have at least one veggie day
- Have leftovers packed when eating out
- Distribute leftover food and menus (e.g. after meetings) to team members or social institutions
- Sort waste in appropriately labelled containers
- Dispose of cooking oil correctly
- Make a conscious decision to use sustainable catering companies and ask questions about what they offer (origins of the food, labels, tableware used, etc.)
- Download the Too Good To Go app and pick up unwanted food from establishments near your place of work
- Keep hot food in vacuum flasks rather than in electric heated containers
- Use cool packs instead of electric coolers
- Use reusable tableware made of metal or enamel (not plastic)
- Use biodegradable disposable tableware made from plant fibres
- Use reusable cups, water bottles, etc. Provide water dispensers instead of PET bottles
When it comes to energy, introducing just a few measures can go a long way to ensuring more environmentally friendly and sustainable filming. For example, the cantonal electricity companies in Switzerland offer various renewable energy products, including hydro, solar and wind power. On location, your energy supply can be generated via local power connections or alternative generators. When it comes to lighting, LED lights save a significant amount of electricity.
Reducing energy consumption
- Use energy-efficient devices, disconnect devices that aren’t being used from the power source and avoid using standby mode
- Use laptops rather than desktop computers
- Use energy meters to any monitor unnecessary power consumption
- Use minimal post-production studios to reduce power consumption
- Avoid using workspaces that are too large, or share them if possible
- Avoid using generators; use the local power grid instead
- If you’re using generators, make sure they’re as small as possible and powered by petrol or gas
- The company Silent Power provides heaters that work using M99 methanol, which is produced carbon neutrally.
- Select the right room temperature. A temperature of 20°C is recommended for living areas. Each degree over this increases heating costs by 6%
- Prevent heat from escaping rooms by using carpets, mats, felt, etc.
- Use portable solar panels
- Use fans instead of air conditioning
- Close windows and doors when the air conditioning or heating is on
- Refrain from using radiant heaters or patio heaters
- Opt for gas heaters (biogas) rather than oil heaters
The lighting on set often uses a lot of power. The use of energy-efficient lights alone – think LEDs – significantly reduces electricity consumption:
- the tutorial on film lighting and energy efficiency (2020, in German) by German film equipment rental company Maier Bros offers a clear explanation of what to look for in terms of lighting when planning and working on a film set
- Use natural light and reflectors wherever possible
- Use energy-efficient light sources: LEDs, eco halogen light bulbs, fluorescent tubes
- Dispose of broken energy-efficient lights properly
- Install dimmers, motion sensors and daylight sensors
- Only illuminate rooms where you need it
- Avoid using decorative effect lighting
- Unscrew any unused light bulbs
- Hire or borrow technical devices
- Use devices labelled with energy efficiency class A
- Invest in devices with a long service life
- Turn off devices that aren’t being used (computers, monitors, chargers, printers, scanners, etc.)
- Shutting down is better than standby mode, standby mode is better than a screensaver
- If you’re going to be away for a lengthy period of time, pull out the mains plugs, and use power strips that can be switched off or that have timers
- Use rechargeable batteries
- Have devices repaired whenever possible
- Sell or donate any functioning equipment you no longer use
- Dispose of broken technical devices and equipment properly
On average, more than a third of final energy consumption in Switzerland can be attributed to transport. Transport is also to blame for a considerable portion of the carbon emissions generated in the majority of film productions. However, this can be significantly reduced by planning transport in advance.
- Don’t leave vehicle engines running unnecessarily
- Use air conditioners and heaters sparingly
- Have the condition of vehicles regularly inspected
- Where possible, use green or blue screens to reduce the need for travel
- Choose locations that are close to each other
- Calculate and offset the emissions caused by transport.
- Plan any transport for the team or equipment in advance to avoid having to make multiple trips
- Keep the number of people travelling to a minimum: hold auditions online, use phone and video conferences and work from home
- Avoid air travel wherever possible and look for alternative locations nearby
- Use public transport
- In the contracts of those involved, specify that they are to use the most environmentally friendly means of travel to and from locations
- Use carsharing services such as Mobility and GoMore, and form a carpool
- CNG vehicles powered by natural gas perform very well in terms of both life cycle assessment and cost. A selection of environmentally friendly commercial vehicles can be found at cng-mobility.ch
- Ask taxi companies and hire car providers about environmentally friendly vehicles
- Use bikes, electric bikes and electric scooters for transporting small loads and for travelling short distances
- The federal government platform Karten der Schweiz provides a list of charging stations for electric cars, and also includes a search function.
The hotel industry is extremely energy intensive. Hotels and other types of accommodation are responsible for almost half of the tourism industry’s global carbon emissions. Cast and crew accommodation can therefore have a major impact on the overall life cycle assessment of a film production.
The hotel industry has long been committed to sustainable development at all levels. For guests, it’s worth checking whether accommodation adheres to sustainability criteria and whether it has been awarded any eco-labels.
- A renowned label in Switzerland is the ibex fairstay, which certifies companies according to ISO Type I environmental labelling. The criteria are assessed by independent, experienced auditors. You can find companies that have been awarded the label on the website
- Swisstainable is the sustainability programme run by Switzerland Tourism. Participating companies are ranked according to their level of commitment
- On the fairunterwegs.org website, the Basel working group for tourism and travel, plus others, have compiled a list of around 20 leading Swiss and international tourism sustainability labels
- The international Green Globe Standard includes over 40 criteria and guarantees the highest level of sustainable operations and management
- Green Key is an international eco-label with a very extensive list of criteria
- On the BIO HOTELS platform, you’ll find a range of certified accommodation in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy and other countries
- In addition to appearing on the oekohotel.ch website, ‘Der anderer Hotelführer’ [The other hotel guide] is also available in a comprehensive book version (in German)
- What type of electricity does the hotel use?
For example, 100% renewable energy
- What heating system does the hotel use?
For example, a heat pump or biogas heating
- Has the hotel been awarded reputable environmental labels?
See the ‘Labels’ section
- What measures are being taken to reduce energy consumption?
No minibars in the rooms, hairdryers and irons only supplied on request, motion sensors for operating the lights, use of LED lamps, use of recycled paper, efficient supplier management with local partners
- Does it do its best to avoid waste?
Use of refillable dispensers for hygiene products, not using single-use bottles, sorting waste, keeping unnecessary postal deliveries to a minimum
- How is water consumption managed?
Daily changing of bedding and towels only on request, use of sustainable and efficient cleaning products, water-saving attachments on taps and shower heads
- What are the transport connections like in terms of public transport and shuttles?
- Does it opt for regional, seasonal, organic food and are meat-free meals available? What happens with leftover food?
Thoroughly planning the locations and schedule can save time, reduce emissions and costs, and avoid unnecessary transport routes and overnight stays.
- The Set Management association supports filmmakers primarily with coordination and logistics for filming
- The Swiss Film Association’s GREENPRODUCTION Guide (PDF) contains useful tips for individual departments
- A detailed checklist, organised by area (Excel) to assist with planning and executing a production
- Short informational videos on various aspects of environmentally sustainable production:
Intro | Paper | Energy | Transport | Catering | Recycling | Accommodation
- Short informational videos (in French) by Film Paris Region:
Filming | Film props | Production design
- Many suppliers of office equipment allow you to borrow instead of buy
- On the topten.ch platform, you’ll find a list of energy-efficient and environmentally friendly office equipment such as printers, laptops, coffee machines and more
- Look out for eco-labels such as Blue Angel, FSC and PEFC (paper)
- Avoid using paper if possible, and make documents available digitally, e.g. via the cloud
- If you use paper, make sure it’s recycled paper
- Look for paper that has been bleached with low amounts of chlorine or is chlorine-free; this is identified by the labels ECF, TCF and PCF
- Use stationery made from biodegradable raw materials based on wood or sugar cane
- For plastic products, use those made of recycled PP (polypropylene), identified by the recycling code number 5
- Work with environmentally conscious print shops (PDF, in German)
Proper waste separation and disposal involves little effort and does great things for the environment. Recycling saves resources and energy and reduces carbon emissions, and the raw materials obtained from the process can also be reused.
- Make a recycling plan and communicate the actions to be taken to those on set
- Print out recyclable material pictograms and label the collection point on set
- The key recycling symbols and abbreviations
- With the Swiss Recycling Map, you can find the right collection point for almost any recyclable material
- Arrange for an external party, such as Mr.Green, to collect recyclable materials
- Wherever electronic equipment is sold, it can also be returned free of charge
- Many collection points or second-hand shops offer a pick-up service
- Order a skip for large quantities of waste. External professionals will then dispose of it properly
Regional suppliers & service providers
Local film commissions are the first point of contact for Swiss and international TV and film productions. They create the ideal framework conditions for filming and provide you with the most important information, providers and contacts to assist you with your work on location.
Other useful providers
- With its work studio, OFFCUT Zurich is committed to sustainable scenography in Switzerland. Objects, spatial sculptures and scenographies are conceived and realised with recycled materials. In its material markets in Zurich, Basel, Bern and Lucerne, OFFCUT also collects and sells various used and leftover materials for creative reuse, thus giving waste materials a new life.
- The Map of Tomorrow provides an interactive directory of companies, initiatives and events committed to sustainability. More content becomes visible by zooming in on a section of the map, and users can also add their own entries
Do you know of other tips and providers?
We look forward to receiving your input and tips on sustainable practices. If we like your suggestion, we’d be happy to add it to our website.
In this section, you will find a wide selection of publications, thematic dossiers, talks and podcasts on sustainability in cultural works. The content is updated on an ongoing basis and you are welcome to suggest additional material.