Leading the charge for sustainable resources and solutions, Green the Bid is a platform that guides production companies, agencies, and brands alike on how to create carbon neutral, zero-waste campaigns. We spoke with the founders to learn more about the growing movement inspiring and supporting the shift toward sustainable productions.
Where did the idea for Green the Bid start?
Michael Kaliski: After nearly a decade of advocating for production sustainability, I realized that doing sustainability job to job and eventually partnering with companies one at a time was effective on a local level, but moving far too slow given the tremendous challenges we face with the climate and pollution crisis we are in. When I heard about Free the Bid (now Free The Work) a few years ago, I was inspired to create Green The Bid with my co-founders, which now brings together all stakeholders to shift the global advertising industry to sustainable and regenerative practices. The folks at Free the Work were enthusiastic about the idea and we found that by engaging with industry leaders, they began to make the connection and fully embraced it.
What tools does Green the Bid offer to help companies combat waste and carbon emissions in productions?
Kat Friis: So many! We have found in our conversations with all the stakeholders, this past year since we launched, that the first step is education. People understand the “why” but don’t know the “how.” Our webinars for agency/brand producers and production company producers is a step by step of the process: How to estimate, how to bid, how to ask for and provide a sustainable production.
We also offer checklists for every department and on-set signage so that every participant understands how to play their part in a sustainable production. We also have vetted production consultants should you need a partner in sustainable practices on set. We have loads of free resources available to the public and we also have additional member resources available that we have curated and built based on specific needs: How do I speak to my clients about sustainability? How do I get my company on a green energy plan? How do I track my carbon? How do I know what reporting should look like after a production? I’m shooting internationally - how is that different from shooting in the US? We have guidelines, workbooks, decks, and checklists for all of that! I could go on and on! And we are constantly building new resources. We are working on an exciting project at the moment with one of our post company members tackling redundancies in file storage. If our community needs it or asks for it - we build it!
Going green is often considered to be expensive, how can brands track their ecological impact while keeping production costs down?
Julian Katz: We don’t see the cost as expensive; we’ve surveyed several sustainability consultancies and estimate that, on average, the cost to ensure that a commercial production is zero-waste, carbon neutral, sustainable and even regenerative will come out to about 1% of the production budget. That’s not a lot by any measure, especially considering the existential crisis which climate change presents to all of humankind.
It’s a small price to pay, really. And the sustainability measures a production takes could result in savings in other areas; transportation is the #1 driver of carbon impact on production, so if you fly less people to attend a shoot, it will benefit both the planet and your budget. If you donate all your set pieces to a theater company who comes to collect the materials upon wrap, that saves you hauling and disposal fees and it avoids everything winding up in landfill. You have to pay to hydrate everyone on set; it’s not necessarily more expensive to use coolers and refillable bottles than it is to provide pallets of single use plastic water bottles.
There is a misconception that brands won’t pay for this - that procurement or cost control will reject these costs. But we have been heartened by the response we’ve received by every brand we’ve spoken to, and by the production consultancies like APR, EVP and Haynes-Vozza who have approached us wanting to get educated and join this vital conversation. The overarching concern that brands tend to have is: we know we need to do this, so we need to make sure we are doing this right. And the data that a brand gets in return for their investment can be invaluable.
How can companies support and get involved with Green the Bid?
Jessie Nagel: Getting started with Green The Bid is as simple as a few keystrokes to fill in the pledge section of the website. We then set up a quick zoom to answer questions, hear more about where the company is in their process to become more sustainable, help them navigate the existing resources, and just make the human connection which is a big part of our ethos. Green The Bid isn’t simply a pledge - it is an educational resource and a growing community. We have quarterly member meetings, collaborate with other organizations to create webinars, and work with members on resources they need along the way. Anything we put together is open source because we know if one person asks, there are probably a few hundred people that have the same question and need. Members who want to dive deeper into a specific area that needs attention are encouraged to get involved in subcommittees and use their superpowers - we all have them - for this vital and urgent transformation. We are only as strong as our community, but the good news is we are an industry of creative, intrepid, problem-solving, detail-obsessing people. Or, to put it more simply, we get things done. No matter how much or how little you’ve focused on the climate crisis or how we can transform our industry - we are a shame-free group - there’s opportunity to be involved.
There’s always more to be done with eco-friendly practices. How does Green the Bid plan to expand in the future?
Gabi Kay: Green The Bid was created to be a resource for the advertising production industry, in collaboration with the advertising production industry, so everything we have built so far has been in response to requests from our members and community. In recent months our member group has grown to include more and more international companies and trade bodies, who are also eager to participate in causing this transformation. How Green The Bid expands from here will be in the same vein. There is so much for our whole industry to get done, if we want to be fully regenerative, from solar powered studios to electric trucking, LED lighting and composting as standard, not to mention the elimination of food waste, and it is truly exciting to embark on this journey with such an inspiring and exponentially growing group of people. We can’t wait to see how far we all go!