Bella Ramsey

Over 100 actors have pledged their support to a sustainability campaign launched by the trade union Equity. Equity represents actors and other creative workers and has issued a statement in support of the ‘Green Rider’ campaign.

Green Rider is a proposed contractual agreement between artists and productions to improve sustainability in the UK’s film and TV industry.

Among the high profile figures to sign up to the campaign are Bill Nighy, Stephen Fry, David Harewood, Bella Ramsey, Hayley Atwell and Maxine Peake.

Riders are a set of clauses that any artist can add to their contract, relating to their requirements around issues like accommodation, nudity and, in recent years, inclusion and diversity on set. They are perhaps most best known for being used by high-profile talent to make demands, with stories of stars asking for all-white furniture or the use of a private jet. Equity claims that many of these latter elements of riders are environmentally damaging.

Equity says its 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 bolder sustainability standards on set before accepting a job.

Equity says the ultimate aim is for the Green Rider to be included in collective agreements the union holds with producers. Among the clauses artists could seek to get included in contracts are not using private jets or restricting the acquisition of off-site food.

The Green Rider was created collectively by Equity for a Green New Deal – a network of union members fighting for climate justice in the performing arts and entertainment industry and beyond.

The actor Mark Rylance said: “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, star of The Last of Us said: “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.”

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Image credit: GabboT – Creative Commons