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What is ‘sustainability’? In practice, sustainable behaviour takes three areas into consideration: social, financial and environmental. To improve their sustainability, organizations must safeguard social and economic resources and must not take more out of the planet than the planet can renew.

BS8909 is a specification established by the British Standards Institute for a sustainability management system for film, designed to help the film industry operate with greater sustainability. It uses the most widely adopted definition of sustainability, that of the World Commission on Environment and Development. It says that “sustainable development is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations”.

The BS8900 series of British Standards outline what sustainability management systems for filmmaking, events and procurement should include. This means that for BS8909, each film organization is free to identify the sustainability issues that are a priority for them, rather than conforming to a generic checklist.

Note:  BS8901 – Sustainable Management for events.

British Standards usually apply either to companies or to products, however BS8909 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 minimized and its social and wider economic benefits maximized to meet their own needs”.

Sustainability management system:  A practical framework to support the cost-effective integration of sustainability principles into everyday decision-making, thereby enhancing performance

Sustainable development (goal):  “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sustainability (journey): "An enduring, balanced approach to economic activity, environmental responsibility and social progress”

The triple bottom line (abbreviated as TBL or 3BL, and also known as people, planet, profit or the three pillars.

Sustainable business, or green business, is an enterprise that has no negative impact on the global or local environment, community, society, or economy. It is a business that strives to meet the “triple bottom line”

British Standards Institution  (BSI) is an independent agency that sets standards for a wide range of manufacturing and service industries in the UK and around the world

What is a standard?  It is an agreed, repeatable way of doing something. It is a published document that contains a technical specification or other precise criteria designed to be used consistently as a rule, guideline, or definition. Standards help to make life simpler, as well as increasing the reliability and effectiveness of many of the goods and services we use. They are intended to promote good working practices across an industry, particularly as they use a common framework.


What is a management system?  It is simply a framework for managing processes and activities to ensure continuous improvement over time; it follows steps to ‘Plan - Do - Check - Act’ (also known as the Deming Cycle).

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

A sustainability management system (SMS) enables organizations to improve their sustainability performance.

Carbon Footprint: Measure of the impact human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of green house gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide

Climate change:  Change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability over comparable time periods (Source: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change).

Ecological Footprint: analysis comparing human demand on nature with the biosphere's ability to regenerate resources and provide services. Using this assessment, it is possible to estimate how many planet Earths it would take to support humanity if everybody lived a given lifestyle

Emissions Standards:  Requirements that set specific limits to the amount of pollutants that can be released into the environment. Many emission standards focus on regulating pollutants released by cars but they can also regulate emissions from industry, power plants, small equipment such as lawn mowers and diesel generators. The 700 million cars currently on the world's roads produce 2.8 billion tons of CO2 annually. This represents 20% of the world's CO2 emissions.

Greenhouse gases: the current IPCC inventory includes six major greenhouse gases. These are Carbondioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous oxide (N2O), Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs), Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).

Greenhouse Gas Protocol:  is the most widely used international standard for understanding, quantifying, and managing greenhouse gas emissions. It is published by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Resources Institute

IPCC:  is a special intergovernmental body established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) to provide assessments of the results of climate change research to policy makers. The Greenhouse Gas Inventory Guidelines are being developed under the auspices of the IPCC and will be recommended for use by parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Life Cycle Analysis/Assessment(LCA) - investigation and calculation of the environmental impacts of a given product or service caused or necessitated by its existence over its lifetime. It is a variant of input-output analysis focusing on physical rather than monetary flows

ISO 14000– International Standards for the environment.

ISO 14000 Represents a critical milestone  which resulted from the 1992 Rio Summit on the Environment .

ISO 14001 Is the cornerstone standard of the ISO 14000 series. It specifies a framework of control for an Environmental Management System against which an organization can be certified by a third party.

Other ISO 14000 Series Standards are actually guidelines, many to help you achieve registration to ISO 14001. They include the following:

ISO 14004 provides guidance on the development and implementation of environmental management systems

ISO 14010 provides general principles of environmental auditing (now superseded by ISO 19011)

ISO 14011 provides specific guidance on audit an environmental management system (now superseded by ISO 19011)

ISO 14012 provides guidance on qualification criteria for environmental auditors and lead auditors (now superseded by ISO 19011)

ISO 14013/5 provides audit program review and assessment material.

ISO 14020+ labeling issues

ISO 14030+ provides guidance on performance targets and monitoring within an Environmental Management System

ISO 14040+ covers life cycle issues