AdGreen for Advertising Agencies

Since AdGreen began in 2014, we’ve wanted to involve advertising agencies in the green production discussion. After all, you’re the ones servicing clients with big sustainability agendas and CSR policies. With that in mind we have created a page of resources to work through to involve more production companies and open up the sustainability conversation in our industry. If you have any thoughts or comments about this section, or need help, drop us a line on



You could argue that making a production greener begins with the script. There are two chances here: to consider how certain script elements might impact the production's footprint, and to help normalise sustainable behaviours by showing greener things on screen.

Certain things will cause the commercial's production to have a bigger impact than others. Here are a few things to consider:

->  Shooting abroad, or bringing in clients or cast from outside the country will significantly increase the footprint of a shoot, even if you are planning to offset flights (and you should). Try to limit those flying to the shoot, and shoot as close to home as possible.
->  Any large set build should use sustainably sourced materials (and reuse old items if possible), meaning things like poly carving are a big no no. Discuss this with the production companies at bid stage and ask them to look at alternative options, and have them budget for them accordingly.
->  Wasting a large amount of any item doing repeats will significantly increase the shoot's waste (and waste bill), so think carefully before smashing up cars, food fights and dropping anything from a great height!

Just as we use advertising to advise people to store laundry tablets out of kids' reach, we can also use it to deploy subtle environmental messaging, even if it's not the main focus of the ad. Here are a few examples to get you thinking...

->  Have characters use reusable coffee cups, water bottles and canvas bags
->  Have characters eat with real cutlery, on real plates (i.e. having lunch at the office)
->  Have characters turn off lights as they leave rooms, turn off taps, and put appropriate waste in recycling and compost bins
->  Use electric and hybrid cars as prop cars
->  Show solar panels on homes in exterior shots

There's a full list of ideas (and items) for home, work and school settings there's a full list of ideas here on the Environmental Media Association's website (scroll down to the 'Greening Plotlines and Characters' section). We've also added this link to our art department section too, so that prop buyers can also consider these ideas when they're out hiring and buying. And here are some examples of seeing sustainable behaviours in action on screen, courtesy of BAFTA's Albert initiative:

sustainability on screen

Eastenders' Ian Beale getting to grips with his smart meter, Samia Ghadie with one of Corrie's recycling bins, and Grace & Frankie getting up to no good whilst out in their electric Nissan Leaf


Once you've considered the script, the next stage is to engage your production company. We'd recommend doing this as early as possible, ideally with all of the companies you are working with at bid stage. We have created the Sustainable Production Agreement, which introduces the AdGreen initiative to production companies, outlines how to work together throughout the project, and gives the production company a number of suggested things to do - most of which align with our Five Easy Things idea. The production company should complete the form, and once submitted, it will send a copy to the person completing them, as well as the agency TV Producer, production company Head of Production, as well as AdGreen. Click the links below to view the online agreement, as well as template email wording to copy and paste when sending the production company a link to the page, and a sample PPM book page to prompt discussion about progress during the pre-production meeting. It goes without saying that clients should also be aware of the collaborative work on the issue, as well as how they can help and what they should do on set as per the agreement. 


Before using these documents, make sure that the TV dept and any freelancers are aware of what the agreement is requesting of productions, and of how the agency can help. Before sending the agreement, the TV Producer should have an idea of what is achievable based on the type of shoot (location/studio). These resources are intended to facilitate discussion and effect actual change, rather than solely adding to the production company's to do list, or being being agreed to and then forgotten about by all parties!


Recent Case Studies: Read how other productions are employing basic sustainable processes on set and in pre-production
Tips for a Greener Office: Basic tips on making your office run more sustainably, including a template for an office memo
Paperless Ideas: Not sure how to electronically sign the PIBs? Want to deal with invoices electronically? Apps and more to help you (and also our crews) go paperless
AdGreen's FAQ: Can you reuse drives? What is carbon offsetting? Do you need to have risk assessments printed?
BAFTA's Albert Initiative: Working with film and TV productions, Albert provides tools to measure production footprints, as well as training and resources to help reduce them - great to see what others are doing in related sectors
Creative Energy: A scheme run by BAFTA's Albert initiative to encourage companies working in the creative industries - including advertising agencies and production companies - to switch to renewable energy tariffs by securing low prices with Good Energy (one of the biggest ways you can reduce the footprint of your operations!)
The Comms Lab: Helping the advertising industry become more purpose led, offering talks, workshops and training
Green Element: Environmental management consultancy who have experience working with advertising agencies and can help you make bigger changes internally (such as attaining British Standards and ISO's in sustainability)
Women in Sustainability: Ladies! Want to meet other ladies who are into this stuff? This is a great monthly meet up in London and Bristol.