Sustainable Screens Scotland

Published: 30 November 2022

Sustainable Screens Scotland is a new project aiming to support the decarbonisation of the film and television industries in Scotland.

Dr Inge Sorensen and Dr Mark Wong talk about their new RSE-funded project: Sustainable Screens Scotland.

The Sustainable Screens Scotland (SSS) network will connect the Scottish film and television production industry, screen sector stakeholders, and academics across disciplines to promote the screen industry’s green transition, establishing Scotland as a global leader in sustainable, ‘green’ production practices and screen-industry infrastructure.

The network aims to create a cross-disciplinary hub of expertise and know-how which will provide an evidence-based response to the screen sector’s needs, hence fostering research and industry synergies and collaborations. Through a series of workshops, the network will address longstanding challenges to make the Scottish Screen sector more sustainable (e.g. structures of funding and tax incentives, greening production infrastructure, and just and inclusive transitions). This will be supported by an online portal where the screen industry can access academic expertise around sustainability on a rapid and ad hoc basis, accelerating knowledge mobilisation to meet demands of urgent sustainable change in the industry.

The screen industries are significant polluters and contributors to climate change at all stages of the production and distribution process (see e.g., Maxwell & Miller 2017, Kääpä 2018, Vaughan 2019, Sørensen & Noonan, 2022a). This is because many of the practices and funding models that underpin the global screen economy precipitate the climate emergency, including internationally mobile production, location shooting, and disposable props, sets and consumables.

More recently, the industry has recognised the need to facilitate greener production practices, including launching initiatives such as BAFTA’s Albert awards and the Green Cinema Toolkit.  In Scotland, Screen Scotland and BECTU Vision (the screen industry’s trade union) have appointed a Screen Sustainability Manager to oversee training and promote green production practices, in line with recommendations from Creative Carbon Scotland (2020).  However, there is consensus across the industry in Scotland that an urgent gap remains between emerging knowledge and expertise from academia with “front-line” delivery and planning of change in the screen industry, both on and off set.

The Sustainable Screens Scotland network aims to bridge this gap by building interdisciplinary knowledge exchange between academia, screen industry and the third sector, and providing challenge-led interventions and insights around environmental sustainability in the film and TV industries in Scotland. Our ambition is to create a knowledge exchange portal and a resource that not only will accelerate the Scottish screen industry transition towards decarbonisation, but also establish Scotland as a global leader in sustainable funding and production. This has the potential to make Scotland the top location in the world to attract and incentivise global productions and will inspire other screen economies.

Our first workshop, “Portable Renewable Power in Scotland” took place on 17 November at the Advanced Research Centre (ARC), with over 50 attendees from across the screen, music and  event industries, portable battery/hydrogen energy providers, and academia.

More workshops will follow in the new year, so please get in touch if you would like to know more.

Please also reach out if you’d like to be added to the network’s online portal: we welcome a range of experts across disciplines and Colleges, whose knowledge could be relevant to decarbonising the screen industry.

Sustainable Screens Scotland (September 2022 – May 2024) is funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh Research Network Grant (£20K).

The project is partnered with Screen Scotland, BECTU Vision, with the support of EventScotland and DF Concerts and Events.


First published: 30 November 2022