How BS 8909 works


The BFI prepared a set of notes to help make applying BS 8909 easier, giving it some context and a detailed explaination of the different sections of the Standard. Read them here

The Standard works by asking organisations to state what they want to achieve in terms of sustainability and to describe what they will do to achieve their aims. Organisations then implement their plans and review actual activity and outcomes against their initial objectives, which must take social, economic and environmental issues into account.

Historically this Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle has proved an effective way of ‘holding’ organisations to their stated course. It has produced significant results for hundreds of thousands of organisations using other Management Systems Standards such as ISO 14001 for environmental management.

British Standards usually apply either to companies or to products, however BS 8909 aims to be more flexible and applicable. It can apply to a feature film as well as to a cinema, or a company working in the film industry. Complying with the new Standard shows that processes are in place so that a film company’s environmental impact is minimised and its social and wider economic benefits maximised.

In most cases, a ‘sustainable production’ is simply a common-sense, ‘good production’. For example:

Environmental: by reducing carbon emissions produced by wasteful travel arrangements; such as improved route planning, selecting vehicles with lower CO2 ratings, ensuring that more people travel together or adopting a more sustainable means of transport.

Social: by establishing clear guidelines for minimising the impact of the filming schedule on local communities; such as limiting hours of work, engaging early with communities about parking arrangements, noise, and catering, or by ensuring that child cast members are chaperoned are able to cope with the demands of a busy working environment. The entire supply chain can be considered too, which means, for example, that companies that produce a film’s associated merchandising will be able to adopt the standard too.

Economic: by helping communities benefit from film activities: for example, by hiring local people and compensating them properly or sourcing local props, extras and catering.

For further information on the standard please visit:


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A recent study estimated that screen production (film and TV) in London alone produces 125,000 tonnes of CO2 each year.


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