Stars of the screen such as Bella Ramsey, Ben Wishaw and Stephen Fry are among a group to sign up to a new showbiz sustainability pledge aiming to reduce the environmental impact of film and television productions.
The 'Green Rider' pledge is a new set of clauses written up by the UK arts union Equity which will allow actors and crew to put new environmentally-friendly requirements in their contracts. The pledge was announced by actor Tom Burke at the Edinburgh TV Festival.
Burke, who is famed for his roles in the BBC drama The Three Musketeers and the 2020 David Fincher film Mank, said that he hoped the new move would "initiate a change in culture". Hollywood stars have been lambasted in the past for their use of items such as private jets during the climate crisis.
Speaking to BBC News, Burke said: "A lot of the things that are being discussed, like people wanting to travel on private jets - these are status symbols and it doesn't just come from what we show up for as actors, it comes from the media as well. We just have to unpick this and be a bit more grown-up about it, especially if we're going to make a noise about caring."
He added: "I think all we can do in life is keep our side of the street clean."
Who has signed up to the 'Green Rider' pledge?
Around 100 stars have put their name to the pledge. This includes Marvel star Halyley Atwell, Bill Nighy, David Harewood and Adrian Dunbar, alongside Ramsey, Fry and Wishaw. In a statement Ramsey, star of HBO hits Game of Thrones and The Last of Us, said: “We can make all the films in the world about climate change but unless we are environmentally conscious in the process of making them, our efforts are superficial.
They added: “The media has historically inspired change, so I’m excited about the introduction of this Green Rider and the conversations it will incite.”
Oscar winner Sir Mark Rylance is another name to sign up to the scheme and the production of his short film Spirit of Place is one of the first to use the 'Green Rider' requirements.
Rylance described film and television productions as being "notorious for its waste and un-ecological practices". The Bridge of Spies and BGF actor added: "Just because we can't do everything, doesn't mean we can't do anything. Let's clean up our workplace."
Paapa Essiedu, who starred in the most recent series of Black Mirror and the award-winning series I May Destroy you, has also signed up, saying that he is "excited" by the move. He added that the need for such a pledge has been evident after a summer of wildfires and storms have “brought into sharp focus the reality that climate disaster is not a problem of the future but one of the now”.
What does the 'Green Rider' sustainability pledge include?
The pledge itself will see actors able to commit sustainable action to improve the industry's eco footprint. It has been titled a 'Green Rider', with a rider referring to the list of accommodations actors often make while on the set of production to make them more comfortable.
The new green clauses includes everything from avoiding the use of private jets and instead opting to fly commercially to using their own reusable coffee cups and water bottles on set. Some may choose to use trains where available, while also sharing trailers and dressing rooms and reducing the number of requests for runners to go off-site for food or comfort requests.
The discussion of the use of sustainable hair and make-up products are also covered, while the discussion of the use of second-hand, sustainably made or rented costumes with the production's costume department is also encouraged.