Welcome to the Green Rider campaign
The average big budget film production produces 2,840 tonnes of CO2. Film and TV is a high emitting sector. If we want to change that, creative workers need to stand together to demand better from industry bosses.
That’s why Equity for a Green New Deal created the Green Rider: a template for clauses you can add to your contract that set out key sustainability requirements for any production.
If not us, then who? If not now, then when?
Art has historically played its part in societal shifts: the 1980s cultural boycott of South African Apartheid, the rise of #MeToo, our industry’s resourceful adaptation to Covid, and the recent WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes prove we have the power to act collectively and make big changes when necessary. Now is the time to take that same radical action for sustainability.
What is the Green Rider?
Equity’s Green Rider is a set of sustainability clauses that can be added to your TV/film contracts. It states the sustainable actions the artist is willing to take, and what they ask of production in return.
This is a tool designed to empower artists to negotiate better practices in TV and film. It includes clauses such as opting for travel by train over planes, avoiding over-sized trailers for star cast, and reusing sets and costumes.
As actors and creatives, we support the creation and implementation of a Green Rider that:
Is formulated with input and advice from a diverse range of workers, productions, trade unions and suppliers.
Is equitable and fair.
Does not perpetuate existing discriminations or injustice.
Evolves in response to technological advancements and scientific knowledge.
Is adaptable to production and artist circumstances.
Is actionable, ambitious, and creative in its vision for a better future.
Actions you can take
1. Join the campaign
By signing up, you’ll receive the Green Rider, instructions on how to use it, and be included in a network of Green Rider supporters.Sign up here
2. Share on socials
Spread the word by sharing these social graphics and telling people why you want to use the #GreenRider
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3. Sign the statement
Add your name to The Green Rider Actors Statement in support of the Green RiderSign here
How do I use the Green Rider?
Riders aren’t just for superstars. They are included in all standard screen contracts. Usually these are clauses designed to protect the artist (for example, a nudity rider) and are embedded into Equity collective agreements or negotiated by agents and lawyers once you are offered a job.
An agent’s job is to push for what is best for their client - which usually means better pay, a bigger role, more flexibility or improved working conditions. But these terms are rarely negotiated with the environment in mind. Decisions made around travel, accommodation and catering all play a part in reducing emissions. This is where the Green Rider becomes useful.
Below is a guide for how to use the rider. We are well aware that as freelancers our employment is insecure. We all have different levels of power and influence and not every actor is in a position to take all the below steps. Please do what is achievable for you.
Make your agent aware that sustainability is a priority for you. Send them a draft of the Green Rider. Offer them examples (you can the Examples of Sustainable below as a guide) of ways you are keen to make more sustainable choices.
Schedule a discussion with your agent once they have read the rider. Discuss what is within your power to change, and what commitments you can make yourself. Agree on what terms they should prioritise negotiating for you in future contracts.
When contracts are negotiated, look for the sustainability clauses or ask your agent to point them out for you. Where you see opportunities for a more sustainable choice, point it out.
Nearly all UK productions are now required to fill out a BAFTA albert carbon action plan and implement sustainability measures on set. If possible, ask to make contact with the production’s sustainability lead before the shoot starts, when you can make the most impact. Ideally a sustainability lead should be someone senior with authority over how the production is run, but unfortunately this job is often assigned to someone with a lot on their plate already (e.g. a production manager, first AD, or even a runner). Send them the Green Rider and Handshake. You may have to make contact more than once. Be patient and offer to support them in their role, rather than making demands.
Productions may try to appease you by stating that they are albert accredited or by showing you their Green Memo. Acknowledge that this is a great start, but you would like to collaborate to help them achieve those goals - and more. Stay positive but firm. The Rider exists because current measures on set are not working. So keep asking questions, and talk to a producer or someone with authority if you can. The union can back you up on this if you feel nervous. Use our FAQ guide at the bottom of this page for some ideas on ways to respond and read about other actors' experiences.
- Take trains, not planes for travel in the UK and Europe.
- Take public transport to set or rideshare.
- If you have a low emissions vehicle, offer to drive to set.
- Fly economy where possible to reduce emissions.
- Suggest collaborating with Costume to source second hand, sustainably made or rented costumes.
- Suggest collaborating with Hair and Make-up to use your own products or sustainable brands.
- Ask to stay in accommodation with high sustainability ratings. This may require you to research the options production gives you and choose the most sustainable one (e.g. The hotel’s sustainability commitments, and how far it is from set).
- Bring your own reusable cutlery, dishes, coffee cups and bottles to set.
- Offer non-exclusive trailer/ three-way use so other actors can use your trailer when you are not there. This reduces the need for lots of energy-guzzling trailers on one set.
- Offer to promote the production’s sustainability efforts on your social media platforms.
- For more ideas, see the Green Rider Handshake.
Don’t be deterred! Ask to read the production’s Green Memo and feedback areas of improvement. You can contact Equity for support on this at email@example.com.
Explain that the Green Rider was created with the support of industry experts and is backed by big-name actors and producers. See our open letter. Point out this movement is growing and it will benefit them to be seen as taking part. Make clear that you don’t necessarily expect them to achieve everything outlined in the rider or handshake, but you want to open up a discussion.
If this feels difficult for you, contact Equity to liaise with production on your behalf.
Don’t worry, nobody expects you to be perfect! We all lead complicated lives and often do not have affordable, sustainable options available to us. That’s why the Green Rider is designed to be amended to your circumstances.
Furthermore, we need to widen the lens to look at the things that have the biggest impact, rather than worrying about living purely as individuals. We currently live in a fossil fuel-driven economy that makes living sustainably incredibly difficult. Supporting the Green Rider campaign is about pushing for a systemic shift across the entire industry, rather than placing all the responsibility for change on a few individuals.
The Rider is not a fixed document. It can be adapted to your circumstances and will evolve as we consult with different departments and learn from applying these clauses on set. Keep this discussion alive with your agent and other actors who have signed up. There may be some projects where you can do more than others. Remember, you are part of a collective.
You can contact Natalie Barker firstname.lastname@example.org.
Equity is also discussing piloting the Green Rider with the BBC, ITV Studios and Sky in upcoming productions in order to inform next steps. If your organisation is interested in taking part in the pilot, you can also contact Equity using the email address above.