Actors embrace the Green Rider pledge: Opt trains over jets for sustainability.
Actors such as Bella Ramsey, Stephen Fry, and Ben Whishaw have joined forces to commit to reducing the environmental footprint of film and TV production. The UK arts union Equity has developed a “Green Rider” containing environmentally conscious clauses that can be integrated into contracts. These clauses encompass actions like eschewing private jets and large trailers, as well as bringing reusable water bottles and coffee cups to sets.
Another supporter, Tom Burke from “Strike,” expressed optimism that this initiative could spark a cultural shift. He acknowledged that many on-set practises aren’t as environmentally friendly as they could be, and he emphasised the importance of reevaluating industry priorities.
Burke, who launched the effort at the Edinburgh TV Festival, highlighted the need to maturely confront the symbolic value attached to lavish practises like private jet travel. Sir Mark Rylance, a signatory, produced the short film “Spirit of Place,” which was among the first to adopt the Green Rider.
Rylance observed that film production has long been notorious for wasteful practises, and he emphasised that even though complete transformation may be unattainable, it doesn’t preclude meaningful change. Numerous other industry figures, including Hayley Atwell, David Harewood, Bill Nighy, and more, have lent their support.
The Green Rider represents a list of commitments performers can agree to when participating in film or television projects. It includes opting for trains over planes, sharing resources like trailers and dressing rooms, minimising comfort requests that require off-site trips, and bringing personal reusable items.
Equity acknowledged that some actors were previously reluctant to voice concerns about environmental impact due to fears of job loss or being labelled as troublemakers. The initiative seeks to change this by asserting that the industry, as a major emitter, plays a crucial role in transitioning to a sustainable society.
The Green Rider also holds producers accountable for reducing carbon emissions and environmental impact through measures such as decreasing diesel generator use on sets and opting for sustainable catering and plant-based meals for cast and crew. Overall, this pledge symbolises a collective commitment within the entertainment industry to confront the climate crisis head-on.