Tell Us What's Happening Feature | Producers Roundtable
June 11, 2019
Tell Us What's Happening is a collection of real-life experiences from you sharing your stories of working in the field and pushing sustainability in the motion picture industry.

Clara George, Producer and Reel Green Ambassador, David Hardy, Vice President, Industry/Government Affairs & Sustainability, William F. White International, (a Reel Green Partner) and David Mintz of David Mintz Catering, kicked-off a roundtable discussion a few months ago in Toronto to mobilize producers across the country to unify and create a green movement in the film and television industry.

Producers Joe Boccia, Wanda Chaffey, Lena Cordina, Manny Danelon, Victoria Hirst, Kevin Lafferty, Ted Miller, Michael Wray, and Clara George met in Toronto on February 25 at a Greentable hosted by Hardy and Mintz.

A few months later a second group of producers, including Clara George, Stewart Bethune, Warren Carr, Matthew Chipera, Lily Hui, Yvonne Melville, Christina Toy, Brent O’Connor, Cecil O’Connor, Jim O’Grady, Brad Van Arragon, and Robyn Wiener met in Vancouver on May 27 at a Greentable hosted by Eleanor O’Connor, President, Production, Sim (a Reel Green Partner) to discuss their responsibility to help create a sustainable production industry in Vancouver. Sim also recently released information on their own sustainability goals as part of their Sim Green initiative, outlining their commitment to encouraging sustainable production practices on and off set.

At the meetings, the groups highlighted the fact that individually, they have the ability to influence a few hundred people, but that collectively, they can influence tens of thousands of people across the country. Toronto and Vancouver represent the two largest film and television markets in Canada, and the industry has much more influence than we think.

Producers are leaders on shows, and thus are in a unique position to actually make changes happen. The Greentables provide a platform to share concerns, successes, and ideas so that as a group producers can encourage and reward green suppliers, push for sustainable choices, and create a demand for sustainable technology.

The groups also discussed collaborating with Reel Green and creating a legacy project by collectively raising funds to contribute to a legacy reforestation project to offset some of the industry’s emissions. Similar to the Reel Thanksgiving Challenge, which generates the largest annual corporate donation by any Vancouver industry, the group could create a donation program culminating with a contest around Earth Day.

Finally, Clara shared a list of things that producers can do immediately on their productions to reduce their impact and make a difference, along with some details for how to accomplish each one. The list included engaging and educating crew (Clara had Jennifer from Green Spark Group speak about basic waste training with crew, or here in Vancouver anyone can take a Carbon Literacy course for free!), reducing generator use by tying in to the grid, using hybrid vehicles and enforcing no-idling policies, reducing beef served on shows, providing only reusable or compostable cutlery and dishware at craft services, going digital to reduce paper use, donating excess food, reusing set materials, composting and recycling effectively, and here in Vancouver, attending Reel Green meetings to brainstorm with folks from every department!

These efforts can produce remarkable results—on one of Clara’s shows using fully compostable dishware resulted in less than one bag of garbage at craft services on the first day of production. And David Mintz is spearheading a new program, Film Feeds TO, in Toronto to ensure that all left over catering will be donated through Second Harvest, which keeps food out of the landfill, and provides meals to those in need. The initiative is already up and running at Cinespace Studios in Toronto, with Pinewood, Century Studios, Tribro, and others soon to follow.  

David Hardy is now the moderator for the Toronto Greentable and Eleanor O’Connor has agreed to host again in Vancouver! All are planning to make the Producers Greentable a regular event in both cities, so keep your eyes out for the next one!

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