As the lead body for film in the UK, we embrace best practice and take seriously our responsibility to co-ordinate a UK-wide sustainability strategy for all parts of the film sector.

Environmental sustainability is now a cross-cutting principle across our 10-year plans as set out in Screen Culture 2033 and the BFI National Lottery Strategy 2023-2033. As the lead body for film in the UK, we embrace best practice and take seriously our responsibility to co-ordinate a UK-wide approach for all parts of the film sector. 

Through the new BFI National Lottery Sustainable Screen Fund, we have appointed non-profit environmental organisations BAFTA albert and Julie’s Bicycle to support awardees and wider industry to minimise their environmental impact and positively support the sector towards achieving net zero carbon emissions.

By the end of 2023, we will have begun developing a routemap to net zero that will lead us as an organisation towards a more environmentally sustainable future.

BFI and industry

We will continue to work with partners across industry and advocate with Government as we work towards sustainable screen for all. We are also joining other major arts organisations in recognising and voicing our commitment on this globally important agenda by declaring a climate emergency.

We are supporting Culture Declares Emergency and looking at how we can build on our work to date (see pdfs below) by making further improvements across our own operational activities, to put it centre stage in our role as a cultural leader, and in supporting and working with industry.

Research and reports

Commissioned in 2019, the purpose of A Screen New Deal is to share innovation and knowledge. As film and television production restarts following a worldwide shutdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an opportunity to look at introducing new ways of working on set and on location, consider our approach to materials and resources and learn how innovation is working for other industries.

The report sets out a route map for positive action to achieve sustainable practices that support wellbeing, environmental restoration and economic prosperity.

The report is a collaboration between the BFI, BAFTA albert and leading global engineering and design firm specialist Arup. The project was funded through the BFI’s Research and Statistics Fund, which is supported by National Lottery funding.

Climate science shows that we need to not just reduce our impact but exchange it for positive impact. Profound change is required. For its size, the film production industry produces significant emissions and requires systemic change to reach net zero carbon emissions and to be environmentally sustainable.

Our evidence review ‘Green matters — Environmental sustainability and film production: an overview of current practice’ provided a snapshot of UK film production activity and the kinds of levers that could help change behaviour in production.

‘A Screen New Deal: a route map to sustainable film production’ takes that work further, outlining an alternative vision for the future of film production that acknowledges the importance of change across all aspects that influence physical film productions.

It looks at 5 key areas: production materials; energy and water use; studio buildings and facilities; studio sites and locations; and production planning. Case studies from other industries that could be adapted to work for the film production industry are also explored.

The Screen New Deal: Transformation Plan is a collaboration between the BFI, BAFTA albert, Arup, Creative Wales, Ffilm Cymru Wales and Clwstwr to support the sector more broadly in decarbonising film and TV production, due to deliver in late 2023.

BFI as a cultural charity

We monitor and measure the carbon generated by BFI activities and reporting the results annually to DCMS. We review our own sustainability targets annually and these currently cover:

  • Waste management – we are refreshing guidance to staff on the use of recycling streams and maintaining our zero to landfill policy
  • Energy – our energy consumption in absolute terms continues to fall year on year. We are currently trialling the overnight shut down of air handling units at our Master Film Store to further reduce our energy usage
  • Renewable energy – we are committed to using renewable energy to power our properties
  • Resource consumption – we are looking to replace the use of paper towels at our head office with energy efficient dryers. In the first year this will achieve carbon savings, but will be less impactful longer-term as the national grid moves away from fossil fuels
  • Biodiversity – we have partnered with local beekeeping trusts and now have four hives based on our sites. The BFI National Archive in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire is using bee-friendly planting to improve invertebrate biodiversity
  • Bicycles – we have cycle shelters at all sites and staff have free access to a ride-to-work loan scheme.

Further information

Contact us for more information about sustainability at the BFI.