Performers’ union, Equity, is publishing a statement signed by over a hundred actors in support of the Green Rider – a proposed contractual agreement between artists and productions to improve sustainability in the UK’s TV and film industry.

Equity’s Green Rider has the support of Hayley Atwell, Bill Nighy, Stephen Fry, Bella Ramsey, Paapa Essiedu, Nabhaan Rizwan, Ben Whishaw, Mark Rylance, Natalie Dormer, Harriet Walter, Juliet Stevenson, Gemma Arterton, David Harewood, and more.

The proposed Green Rider includes clauses including opting for travel by train over planes, avoiding oversized trailers for star cast, and reusing sets and costumes.

The campaign also includes a panel event at the Edinburgh TV Festival today.

Equity says the Green Rider sets out to “spark a cultural shift in the entertainment industry, so that status is measured by positive behaviour and influence rather than by consuming more resources.” The Green Rider can be added to screen artists’ contracts in order to state their own sustainability commitments, and to negotiate greater sustainability standards on set before accepting a job. The aim is for the Green Rider to be included in the collective agreements that Equity holds with producers.

Equity is discussing a scheme with the BBC, ITV Studios and Sky Studios to pilot  the Green Rider in upcoming productions in order to inform next steps, with further details to be announced at an Edinburgh TV Festival panel.

Mark Rylance, says: “Film production is notorious for its waste and unecological practices. This Green Rider is a template to help all film and TV artists to ask for more ecological practices. Just because we can’t do everything, doesn’t mean we can’t do anything. Let’s clean up our workplace.”

Bella Ramsey, says: “Equity’s Green Rider is a practical route to positive change in the film and television industry in regards to sustainability. 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. The media has historically inspired change, so I’m excited about the introduction of this Green Rider and the conversations it will incite.”

Paapa Essiedu, says: “This summer has brought into sharp focus the reality that climate disaster is not a problem of the future but one of the now. The accepted normal practices of the film industry are rife with waste and a lack of consciousness as to the damage we are causing our planet. But these practices can be challenged and changed and that is why I am so excited about the Equity Green Rider. It is a clear and practical set of guidelines that empower us within our industry to play our part in combatting this urgent reality we find ourselves in and provides a pathway for a cleaner, more sustainable future.”

Danusia Samal and Will Attenborough, members of the Equity for a Green New Deal network, who are leading the Green Rider campaign, say: “We all know we’re in a crisis. What we don’t always see is the enormous power we have to change that. When art workers have come together, we’ve played our part in sparking major cultural shifts – from the 1980s boycott of Apartheid to #MeToo. During the pandemic, our industry adapted in ways we never imagined. We’ve done it before and are ready to do it again.

“By signing up to use the rider, you are joining a movement of people playing their part to green our industry – no longer measuring our value by the amount of resources we consume, but by positive influence and responsible behaviour. As striking actors and writers in the US are proving, we are a force to be reckoned with when we join together and demand better.”

Jon Creamer

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