Bafta axes gift bags in bid for carbon neutral film ceremony

By Laura Harding, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent
·3-min read

Guests at the upcoming Bafta film awards will not receive a gift bag and have been urged to make “sustainable fashion choices” as the ceremony endeavours to be carbon neutral for the first time.

Joaquin Phoenix, Renee Zellweger and Brad Pitt are among the nominees expected to attend the ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday, where they will walk on a recycled red carpet before tucking into a dinner made of sustainably sourced food, including a vegan starter and pudding.

Single use plastic will be banned at the ceremony and branding that has not been re-used from previous years will be made using reclaimed and recyclable materials.

Joker Special Screening – London
Joaquin Phoenix (Ian West/PA)

Organisers have said are working towards the ceremony having a net positive impact on the environment.

Bafta chair Dame Pippa Harris, who is also the producer of nominated film 1917, told the PA news agency: “Like everyone, we are increasingly concerned about the impact of climate change and it just feels like we can no longer do nothing, that is just not acceptable.”

She added: “For the last year and intensively over the last eight months, everyone has been working across every area, not just the ceremony itself, the red carpet, the Grosvenor House dinner, every element that makes up the Baftas, to make sure that by the end of the day, the whole thing will be carbon neutral.”

This means the end of the traditional “goody bag”, which often contains lavish and expensive gifts.

BAFTA Breakthrough Brit Party
Dame Pippa Harris (Ian West/PA)

Dame Pippa said: “We traditionally have these big bags which have been filled with beauty products and big bottles of champagne and whatever.

“We felt that, in terms of transporting those around both before they are given to people and then the nominees have to lug them all the way back to America or wherever, that in and of itself was not a very sustainable thing to be doing.”

Guests will instead be given a “gifting wallet,” and Dame Pippa said: “It will have some nice things slotted into it, which will hopefully be just as exciting for people as a bottle of champagne would have been, but the whole thing is made from recycled plastic material and everything is very portable and is not going to be increasing anyone’s emissions if they are travelling with it.”

Bafta has also worked with the London College of Fashion to create guidance for guests on how to make sustainable fashion choices for the ceremony and the Bafta chair said: “It’s a combination of suggesting that people might want to re-wear or they might want to hire something rather than buying it.

Judy European Premiere – London
Renee Zellweger is among the nominees (Ian West/PA)

“They might want to look into the fabrics that they are choosing to buy to make sure they are sustainable, it’s all the different elements really.

“Not everyone is in the same position and we are not wanting to police what people decide to do, but really just lay out what the options might be and hope that they will decide to take up some of them.”

She added they are also encouraging guests to consider their travel choices, saying: “If they do have to fly, to offset their travel.

“But offsetting is the last resort, I think the real goal for all of us is to look to reuse and recycle and through those means to end up at the carbon neutral position.”

She continued: “It’s not just Bafta, I think Ampas (which organises the Oscars) and the other awards boards all realise that you’re under the spotlight.

“Particularly in this day and age, you can’t simply be having a glitzy party and then people are getting up on stage to talk about climate change but actually the ceremony and the event itself have had a negative impact on the environment, that’s just not acceptable.”

The Bafta film awards will be hosted by Graham Norton on Sunday.