Cream Productions executives talk sustainability strategy
Increasingly, production companies are responding to the call to be more environmentally conscious in their business practices. Here, two executives from Toronto-based Cream Productions — Patrick Cameron, SVP of Operations, and Angelica Siegel, Head of Sustainability Strategy — tell us about their efforts so far.
In the midst of an ever changing and changing industry, at Cream Productions we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of sustainable production within an industry that, as a whole, is struggling to take responsibility for climate change. Certainly, with productions operating on tight schedules and budgets, it’s hard to imagine how to begin to tackle such a complex problem and succeed in making effective and meaningful changes.
In 2021, we started the works. By implementing some obvious reduction and diversion practices, we’ve also spent the year learning a lot about what being carbon neutral really means. What started as a small group of production employees keen to go green has blossomed into Cream, achieving its first carbon-neutral year in 2021, with momentum and a vision to do even more in 2022.
To encourage change, we’ve rounded up our biggest takeaways from our first carbon-neutral year. Here’s what we learned:
Waste diversion solutions are simple to implement and inexpensive. We started with the obvious and will continue to identify new ideas as we go. By hiring Toronto-based waste management company Rethink Resource, we were able to divert over 80% of our waste from landfills using compost and recycling bins. We’ve noticed this most often with the diversion of paper towel waste. Eco-responsible catering and craft company Blazing Kitchen has also joined our efforts by switching to compostable packaging. Virtually everything is now sent to composting facilities. Blazing Kitchen is also redirecting all unused and leftover packaged food to those in need across Toronto.
Waste reduction solutions are also simple and inexpensive. The reusable water bottles and coffee cups we provide in the office and on the shelf not only make cool gifts, but also eliminate single-use waste. Our company has also incorporated Meatless Mondays (Wednesdays!) as a simple yet effective way to become more eco-friendly. It has been proven that a plant-based diet can significantly reduce water consumption and reduce our carbon footprint. This year, we’ll measure the exact reductions – some sources claim around 133 gallons of water are saved and eight pounds of carbon emissions are reduced with every meatless plate. In 2022, we are looking at other potential reductions that are easy to implement, including reusable masks.
It was easy to measure and report our carbon footprint, which was the starting point for most of our learning. Thanks to Ontario Green Screen, an industry group supporting the transition to more sustainable film production, we discovered the Albert Carbon Calculator [first introduced in the UK in 2011, and updated in 2021 with a global version]. It showed us all the possibilities of what we can measure, most of which we had already been tracking closely. It has become second nature for the production team to implement simple and effective ways to obtain and measure information (for example, counting the number and type of vehicles we drive to define our daily fuel emissions ).
It wasn’t hard to find the money to offset our carbon footprint once we figured out what our footprint was. Where possible, we reduced our outputs, and for those activities that we could not change, we purchased the appropriate value in carbon offsets. It was cheaper than we thought, and thanks to a skilled team finding money in our tight budgets, we actually bought more than we expected, allowing us to cover neglected business. We purchased our offsets from Coastal First Nations, an Indigenous-led carbon offset program that protects the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia and invests in First Nations communities, who are the world’s best stewards of stewardship. ecosystems.
We have won broad support and cooperation across the company with the support of people who already work long and hard days. What started in the production department quickly spread throughout the company. We engage our team by finding solutions that don’t require more work or time from our team. We often start with our vendors and suppliers to determine where we can make changes that are both effective and practical.
It’s also important to note that through these efforts, the relationships and ongoing learning have been more rewarding than we ever imagined. It has been a busy first year, but we realize that we are only at the beginning. We now have a better understanding of our company’s footprint, which gives us insight into how we can better reduce our carbon emissions and waste rather than just offset them. This year, we plan to explore electric vehicles and generators, conduct deeper cost-benefit analyzes to find out how going green can save us money, and continue to do our part to power the momentum towards a more sustainable global film and television industry.
This story first appeared in the March/April 2022 issue of real screen Magazine, which has just come out. Not a subscriber ? Click our subscription link here for more information.