Last week, individuals from the global production community gathered in Cannes for our AdGreen Production Forum fringe event - a panel discussion and unique chance for our assembled audience to hear about strategies to encourage collaboration amongst the different parts of our industry.
The event was chaired by Jo Coombes, AdGreen founder, and the panel represented the three parts of the advertising production chain: Mike Day, CEO at Palma Pictures, Steffen Gentis, Chief Production Officer at BBDO Group Germany and Rodrigo Gameiro, Sustainability Communication Manager at Coca Cola Brasil.
Jo kicked off by telling the story of AdGreen’s development since 2014. In that time she has built a rich pool of resources and structures to help make production more sustainable, and to encourage sharing the responsibility amongst heads of department, studios, locations and other suppliers. Once the audience were sufficiently clued up on AdGreen's history, current projects, and plans for the future, each speaker laid out the steps they have taken to transform their own businesses. Firstly, Mike listed numerous changes Palma Pictures have made to their business since they began working towards not one, but two environmental standards in 2009 (ISO14001 and it's European equivalent, EMAS). Everything from reducing their yearly plastic bottle usage by 95% to halving their generator fuel consumption over that time. The EMAS in particular requires that standards are raised year on year, in order for the certificate to be retained - a blessing and a curse at times, but always a good challenge for the company to be working on. He stressed that sustainable practices ultimately save money, attract the best talent, and future-proof the company.
"The best way to get our clients to adopt our practices is just to them that we do things this way or that way - there's rarely any pushback."
Mike Day, CEO Palma Pictures
Our agency-level speaker Steffen made many pertinent points about efficiency, which was really the driving force in his move towards more sustainable practices. Having adapted some existing budgeting software to include carbon calculation a few years ago, he has been identifying key areas for reduction at the bidding stage of his projects. One area he cited (much to the delight of our audience) was that less client and agency should attend. Not only cutting down on carbon heavy travel, but costs too - not just in travel costs, but in on set time too, given that there are less opinions to consider! Measurement, he noted, leads to management, so it is vital that the industry understands the impact of its practices.
"The minute you start measuring something, you can start to manage it - and that's what we found when we began measuring our productions' carbon footprints. There were so many hotspots we could work on..."
Steffen Gentis, Chief Production Officer, BBDO Group Germany
Finally Rodrigo Gameiro from Coca Cola detailed how he opened a dedicated sustainability department at Coca-Cola's Rio office, creating best practice guidelines which are discussed at the beginning of all jobs with both agency and production company. 'The advertiser's job is to generate desire', he observed, 'it’s time they started doing that for a sustainable future, not just for their brands'. He also agreed with Steffen's point, that less people on set would ultimately create better work.
"You don't need 10 clients on a shoot - send someone who can comment on the brand, and remind them that's their only job - not to have an opinion on the cinematography or the acting, that's for the director!"
Rodrigo Gameiro, Sustainability Communication Officer, Coca Cola
The event was rounded off with a bit of Q&A where issues of client responsibilities, mandating certain behaviours (such as carbon calculating) and how many agency and client folks you really need on set (seemingly just 1!) were all debated. To sum up, the mainly production level audience were given some takeaway tips from our Five Easy Things, and the importance of communicating about sustainability, no matter what part of the chain you're working in was reiterated. We're already looking forward to next year, to report how things have developed in the next 12 months... À bientôt!
P.S. You can also view more pictures from the event here.