Hayley Atwell, Bill Nighy back 'Green Rider' plan for sustainable UK filming

The overall goal is for the Green Rider to eventually be included in the collective agreements that Equity holds with producers

By Priyanca Rajput 22 Aug 2023

Hayley Atwell, Bill Nighy back 'Green Rider' plan for sustainable UK filming

Hayley Atwell, Bill Nighy and Mark Rylance are among a group of 100 actors backing a new Green Rider contract aimed at improving sustainable filming in the UK.

Led by UK entertainment union Equity, the inclusion of a Green Rider will serve to “tool to empower artists” and provide a framework to negotiate better practices in the film and TV industry.

Riders are a set of clauses that artists add to their contracts, which relate to specific requirements surrounding accommodation, nudity or travel, which in some cases have been notorious. 

Comparatively, Equity’s Green Rider seeks to promote a cultural and ecological shift in the entertainment industry — one that steers away from unsustainable demands.

The 'Green Rider Actors’ Statement' has been signed by Atwell, Nighy, Rylance and Harewood, along with Ben Whishaw, Gemma Arterton, Stephen Fry, Bella Ramsey, Paapa Essiedu, Nabhaan Rizwan, Juliet Stevenson, Dame Harriet Walter, Jonathan Bailey, Danusia Samal, Will Attenborough, Fehinti Balogun, Tom Burke, Rosalie Craig, Natalie Dormer, Adrian Dunbar, Jerome Flynn, Johnny Flynn, Freddie Fox, Romola Garai, George Mackay, Nikesh Patel, Maxine Peake and Miranda Richardson, among others.

The Green Rider can be added to actors’ contracts to outline their own sustainability commitments, and to negotiate better sustainability efforts on set before accepting a project. The rider would be included in standard Equity contracts.

Equity is discussing a scheme with the BBC, ITV Studios and Sky Studios to pilot the Green Rider in upcoming productions. 

Mark Rylance called the Green Rider “a template to help all film and TV artists to ask for more ecological practices. Just because we can’t do everything, doesn’t mean we can’t do anything. Let’s clean up our workplace.”

Meanwhile, Bella Ramsey said: “Equity’s Green Rider is a practical route to positive change in the film and television industry in regards to sustainability. We can make all the films in the world about climate change but unless we are environmentally conscious in the process of making them, our efforts are superficial. The media has historically inspired change, so I’m excited about the introduction of this Green Rider and the conversations it will incite.”

Paapa Essiedu added: “This summer has brought into sharp focus the reality that climate disaster is not a problem of the future but one of the now. The accepted normal practices of the film industry are rife with waste and a lack of consciousness as to the damage we are causing our planet. But these practices can be challenged and changed and that is why I am so excited about the Equity Green Rider. It is a clear and practical set of guidelines that empower us within our industry to play our part in combatting this urgent reality we find ourselves in and provides a pathway for a cleaner, more sustainable future.”

The Green Rider was created collectively by Equity for a Green New Deal – a network of union members campaigning for climate justice in the performing arts and entertainment industry.

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