From 2025 on, broadcasters must report on emissions, according to the EU. What is the impact for the Nordic producers? NFTVF in talks with DR’s Pia Halldorsson and Green Producers Club’s Mads Astrup Rønning.

To qualify for funding from most European support bodies, the green requirements have increased in the last decade or so. From 2025 on, broadcasters and many collaborators to the film and entertainment businesses are facing strict auditing on par with the usual economic reporting, and from 2028 on, even more strict audits will follow.

According to sustainability consultant at the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR), Pia Halldorsson, this will have a huge impact on the industry. “All purchases related to a specific production shall report on emissions on par with the economic accounting.” The ultimate goal remains clear: To reduce emissions and contribute to a more sustainable future. The Nordic public broadcasters have recently produced a white paper on the matter: CLICK HERE.

Mads Astrup Rønning, founder of Green Producers Club, on the challenges and solutions:

What is your background for establishing Green Producers Club?

I have been running a film company in Oslo since 2001, mainly as a director. But in 2018 we read the UN climate report, and were shocked at how fast things are going to change if everyone does not start doing something. We were producing commercials, and felt guilty, since we were contributing to the problem. The UN climate report told a story we couldn't be part of. We needed to create an alternative that we could be proud of, and which it would be fun to wake up and work on every day. Something meaningful and helpful. So that's how we started the club.

What is Green Producers Club?

It’s many things: A community, a calculator, a knowledge base, and other tools. Our goal is to help the creative sector reach the goals of the Paris Agreement. We have offices in Oslo, Copenhagen, and Reykjavik, and recently we opened one in Sweden as well. At the Oslo office, we are five persons working full time, including one climate advisor. We spend 400 hours on web development every month. We are financed by membership fees, and have been granted 800,000 euros by the Research Council of Norway, and 1.3 million euros from Creative Europe. In the Nordics we are more than 200 organisations using the tool - from big broadcasters to small producers.

From 2025 on, there will be new demands from the EU. What should Nordic filmmakers be aware of regarding these matters?

Broadcasters are obliged to report on their emissions, at the same level of detail as on economics. So that means that suppliers, and subcontractors providing content to them, are part of their accounting. Simply put, they need figures in order to get the right accounting and reporting, aligned with the greenhouse gas protocol, the GHG protocol, where emissions are categorised into scope one, two and three - the direct emissions scope. This is defined in the CSRD.

To the protocol: CLICK HERE.

Are the independent producers in the Nordics prepared for this?

Most major TV producers have come to terms with this new reality. But for many independent producers, it does not seem to be the case. But this is urgent, it takes time to implement, and 2028 is coming up soon.

What is the biggest change they have to face from 2028 on?

In order to get funded by broadcasters, they will need to fill out a document on how to work with sustainability, and report on it. So that's the new reality. It’s an additional workload, and that's the last thing a producer wants. But what we hear from the TV producers who produce 12-episode series with a lot of people travelling around, is that it’s really hard the first time, but the second time it's just on repeat. It's all about implementing a routine, you get used to it. And you get used to it faster if you collaborate with others, like in the club, because then you pick up best practices. You hear how others have implemented this in their organisation, so you know what to do and what not to do.

When we talk about actually reducing emissions, what are the most impactful changes we can implement?

Reducing transport. It constitutes approximately 50%, and sometimes up to 70%, of the production.

In the Nordics there are huge distances. Do we need to find ways to compensate for this, in order to maintain a level playing field with the rest of Europe?*

Stronger incentives to shoot at home would be very effective. But in general, our energy mixes are pretty good across the Nordics. We have a lot of infrastructure in place already, which makes it easier for us to produce green compared to other European countries.

What is your impression of the total impact on the production budgets?

We see that sustainability is connected to circular economy: Not travelling so much, eating plant-based foods, reuse, et cetera. We've seen studies which show that some productions have saved money, and others which show that it's a little bit more expensive because it means more overtime, more time spent on planning and stuff. But I am convinced that there is money to be saved if you plan smart. It’s “give and take”.

Are the broadcasters and funding bodies aware of the consequences when approving the schedules and budgets?

Yes, there is a clear acceptance that this will have consequences like more administrative work on both sides. It's a bit early to tell how the TV channels will handle it. But for instance, the Icelandic Film Institute can provide free use of the tool in some instances. That might be a good example to follow.

During Nordisk Film & TV Fond’s 2023 theme year Nordic Green, a Nordic Green Action Group was founded to coordinate and initiate green actions between Nordic public and private partners, between film institutes, film commissions and producer organisations. The work towards common Nordic green standards and Nordic broadcaster pledges has continued this spring.