It's not all about what happens when we're shooting, we spend a large part of the time in pre-production and our energy use in the office has a sizeable effect on our industry's carbon footprint. Here are some tips to help minimise that effect, and to help you communicate what you're doing to freelance staff who're just passing through.



Try these on for size - a lot of these measures will save you money. If we've missed anything, let us know!

->  How green would you like your office to be? Write an office environmental policy, display it prominently, email it to all staff - you could use the memo below as a starting point

->  Send your policy to any freelancers in the form of a memo (see below) along with details of your car accounts, wifi passwords etc before they start with you

->  Assign an environmental officer, just like you would a fire marshall, to keep things up to date and people informed

->  If you have in house runners, consider making them green champions, and deploy them on your shoots to help keep things on track

->  Use any sales meetings, as well as bidding process and PPM meetings to let the agency and client know how you operate - many are very receptive to acting this way and are already doing so themselves

->  Review your policy regularly and make sure you are up to date with compliance surrounding waste, recycling, hazardous materials etc See our FAQs for more on this

->  Consider adding your policy to any employment contracts

->  Consider sending a memo to any regular suppliers (studios, caterers, location managers etc) on how you would like your shoot conducted, in line with your environmental policy - you could use the questions for studios/caterers and the advice for crew to form the basis of these memos

->  Keep up to date with new technologies and sustainable products that will help you reduce your impact both in the office and on set, and likely save you money too - see our Low Energy Lighting Guide for example

->  Encourage staff to come forward with ideas they may have to improve things

->  Train your cleaners so that they are aware of your recycling schemes and energy efficiency measures

->  Use your social media to shout about your green successes and help inspire others - going green makes for great PR!

->  Set up eco printing as standard on any machines: double-sided, black and white, and adjust margins on any regularly printed docs to get more on a page

->  Switch to digital processes for things like ordering petty cash, logging invoices and per diem forms

->  Make it a rule not to have printed PPM books for your teams - instead ask for the final digital copy and annotate via apps like Notability and iAnnotate

->  Make it a rule to not print call sheets on your shoots, instead print a couple of A3 versions and stick up in prominent positions

->  Save scrap paper for sticking down petty cash receipts

->  Move to an online accounting system such as Xero and stop printing out every invoice to sign it, by setting up an online signature. See here for a how-to.

See Go Paperless for more hints and tips

->  Get on a renewable electricity tariff for your office - if you're looking to switch check out Creative Energy

->  Make sure the last person turns off all lights, computers, printers - and knows where the switches are!

->  Replace any old style bulbs with energy-efficient ones

->  Controllable air con and heating (some old buildings have this set based on the seasons)

->  Lighting on sensors

->  Organise a plumbed in cooler rather than freestanding or bottled water, or encourage use of tap water

->  If you're a Thames Water customer, order some water-saving freebies for your office. If you're not with Thames Water, ask your supplier if they offer similar items.

->  Clear out any old props, costumes and go through our rehoming guide to see if anything can be put to better use, or recycled

->  Recycle old batteries, light bulbs, printer cartridges, Nespresso pods, even hard drives - see the links on Rehome Your Leftovers

->  Implement clearly labelled bins in prominent places to help everyone understand what waste goes where - it's your legal requirement to use the waste hierarchy, see here for more info. The best solution will depend on the size of your office, but a two bin system for 'food waste' and 'everything else' is a good option and echoes what is being encouraged on set and in our usual studios. Remove individual bins by desks - they discourage good habits, are rarely separated for recyclables by cleaning staff and increase plastic bag use (as they are changed every day in most cases)

->  Skype for foreign meetings rather than flying people in/out for short trips

->  Trains considered before planes

->  Bikes considered before cars for couriers

->  Check your car account - do they do hybrid or electric cars? Addison Lee now offer 'Addison Lee Eco' but you must formally add this to your account and then select/request the hybrid car, the option isn't there as standard

->  Give visiting directors and crew Oyster cards instead of organising cabs - they'll get a better feel for the city and feel like a local!

Add the following items to help you get greener in the office:

->  FSC certified toilet paper

->  FSC certified printer paper (aim for 100%)

->  Natural and chemical free cleaning products

->  Supply real cutlery to staff for lunches - and encourage them not to pick up disposables when buying lunch

->  If you have a coffee machine, consider ordering Percol's pods instead of Nespresso - they fit all Nespresso machines but their pods compost down in about 12 weeks, unlike Nespresso's, which need to be recycled

->  To help with your bin overhaul, get some proper recycling bins with clear bags (which are themselves recyclable) - these bins are great if you're working with a 2 bin system (food waste and everything else)

And add these to help you get greener on set:

->  A full set of our signs - laminated if possible meaning you can keep reusing them. These cover recycling and waste, collecting items for reuse, and encouraging bottle and cup use on set

->  Black Bags & Clear Bags, clips for signs (croc clips are great)

->  If you have enough storage space, consider getting a few two-stream bins too - although you can always hire these. More about on-set waste management here

->  Blu Tack and/or double-sided tape for sticking up A3 copies to tables, drapes etc

->  Canvas and/or reusable bags for runs

->  Nespresso recycling bags if you are using Nespresso pods on set (or you can use these compostable Percol ones)

->  Water bottles and reusable coffee cups (e.g. a KeepCup, Frank Green cup etc) for your core production team

->  A jug and glasses for your agency table (or water bottles and reusable coffee cups)


Here is an example memo, feel free to amend this to suit your office.

Welcome to our office! We’re working with AdGreen and trying to operate more sustainably so we just wanted to let you know about the green measures we’ve taken. You can find more info at their website:

You can recycle the following in our office, please pay attention to the signs at the bins:
Paper, card, plastic bottles, glass and cans. Please put any recyclables and food waste in the these bins - we don't have bins under the desks as they discourage recycling

We work on a digital job file basis, and also organise our invoicing electronically. We do not use a PO system. You’ll need to annotate invoices in Preview or similar. You can upload your signature too, and sign them off that way.

You can also use this method to annotate other docs like recce floor plans, storyboards and PPM books. We only print a few A3 call sheets, and don't print PPM books in a bid to save paper and ink. We keep scrap paper by the printer for scribbles and receipts. You’ll need to get set up on our printer with the following defaults: draft mode, double-sided and black & white.

We don’t offer bottled water, but we have a filter. Our kitchen is stocked with cutlery and actual bowls and plates, so no need to get those rubbish plastic forks at lunch either.

Please consider using trains instead of planes where possible, and giving visiting crew and directors Oyster cards instead of organising cabs. If your director is abroad, consider offering up a Skype video conference for the PPM or other meetings, instead of flying someone in for the day. If you do need to book a cab, we use Addison Lee and request hybrids (they have a new Add Lee Eco sector).

Please turn off your computer and any lights near you when you leave. If you’re the last one out (lucky you!) please turn off all remaining lights, and the printer. Leave the heating/air con – it’s all on timers.

We don’t like plastic bags in the office, so please use one of our snazzy canvas ones, or a bag for life – see the office manager who is responsible for all of the above.

Lastly, we use AdGreen's Sustainable Production Agreement - double check with the Head of Production if an agreement has been generated for your job yet. The agreement provides a framework for what's possible on each job, and generally means cutting down on call sheet printing, providing water coolers, rehoming leftover food, props and costume, and engaging all client, agency, cast, crew and heads of department on the issue.