The BFI undertakes work with external experts to support vital research in this area.

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.

BFI and industry

Our commitments:

  • Supporting BAFTA’s albert* guidance and initiatives for greater sustainability in the UK film, television and games sectors
  • A requirement that all productions which receive BFI funding must complete and submit a BAFTA albert* carbon calculation on completion of the project

We are also joining other major arts organisations in recognising and voicing our commitment on this globally important agenda by declaring a climate emergency. You can find our full declaration here. 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.

* BAFTA albert is an online resource for the film and television industries to take action on environmental sustainability. It includes a calculator to estimate the carbon footprint of a screen production.

BFI domestic — annual targets

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 in 2019/20 these will 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 Santander bikes for travel between sites.

Further information

Contact us for more information about sustainability at the BFI.