Key Terms

1.5°C Target
Scientists warn that if global temperatures surpass 1.5 degree warmer than pre-industrial temperatures, we will cross a threshold where climate impacts will become increasingly harmful for people and the planet, and from which we’re statistically less likely to recover.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2 aka Carbon)
A naturally occurring gas in Earth’s atmosphere. It is the primary greenhouse gas released by human activities such as burning fossil fuels, industrial processes and land use change. 

Carbon Dioxide Equivalents (CO2e): a term that combines the emissions of carbon and other non-carbon greenhouse gases (methane, nitrous oxide, fluorinated gases) into a standard unit of measurement. 

Carbon footprint
A measurement of the greenhouse gas emissions caused directly and indirectly by an event or production. It is expressed in units of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) and includes all GHGs emitted throughout the lifecycle of the product or activities being assessed.

Scope 1, 2, 3 Emissions: 

  • Scope 1 Emissions - These are “direct” emissions that a company causes by operating the things that it owns or controls. These can be a result of running machinery to make products, driving vehicles, or just heating buildings and powering computers. These are easily within the company’s purview to change. 
  • Scope 2 Emissions - These are “indirect” emissions – meaning those not produced by the company itself – created by the production of the energy that a company buys from traditional utility companies, using fossil fuels. Switching to renewable energy sources would reduce scope 2 emissions. 
  • Scope 3 Emissions - These are also indirect emissions but they are upstream (produced by suppliers making products that the company uses) or downstream (produced by customers using the company’s products). These can account for more than 70% of a company’s true footprint, but are also the most difficult to track and measure. They involve changes made to the entire supply chain. 

Carbon Neutral
Not to be confused with ‘net zero’, companies that claim carbon neutrality are offsetting their CO2 emissions without necessarily having reduced any emissions. This may conceal the need for deeper emissions reductions that are in line with what the science requires for the world to keep global warming to 1.5°C.

Climate Action
Actions taken to combat climate change and its impacts. In the context of the film industry, this can involve initiatives to reduce carbon footprints, improve energy efficiency, and promote environmental storytelling.

Carbon Budget
Carbon budgeting is the practice of estimating your carbon footprint based on the expected budget of the production.

Climate Change
A significant change in Earth’s climate and weather patterns, persisting over an extended period of time (hundreds or thousands of years, or longer). Current climate change is believed to be occurring as a result of human activities. 

Climate Resilience
Preparing productions, businesses and communities for the impacts of climate change, including risk assessments, insurance considerations, and adaptive strategies to ensure continuity in the face of extreme weather events.

Circularity / Circular Economy
In a circular economy, when a product or resource is used, it is recycled, composted, or re-used in a way that allows it to go back into the supply chain as a resource. It's a closed-loop usage model, rather than one that produces discarded waste. 

COP / Conference of the Parties
The Conference of the Parties is an annual meeting where United Nations member states convene to assess progress in dealing with climate change and make a plan for climate action within the guidelines of the UNFCCC. The first COP was held in Berlin in 1995. The 29th COP will be held in November 2024 in Azerbaijan.

The goal of reducing and eventually eliminating carbon dioxide emissions from human activities. 

Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG)
A set of criteria for a company’s operations that socially conscious investors use to screen potential investments, focusing on how a company safeguards the environment, manages relationships with employees, suppliers, customers, and the communities where it operates, and practices good governance, such as company leadership, audits, internal controls, and shareholder rights.

Global Stocktake
The Global Stocktake is a periodic assessment of how countries are performing against the goals of the Paris Agreement. The first stocktake in October 2023 found that humanity is not on track to limit global warming to 1.5 or even 2 degrees of warming and that the window to act is rapidly closing. Non-state actors, including civil society, the private sector, and local communities, play a vital role in strengthening climate action efforts. 

Global Warming
The unusually rapid increase in Earth's average surface temperature over the past century primarily due to the greenhouse gases released as people burn fossil fuels

Greenhouse Gasses (GHG)
Greenhouse gasses (GHGs)  are atmospheric compounds that trap heat in the atmosphere. They include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and fluorinated gasses. Human activities, notably fossil fuel consumption, deforestation, and agriculture, significantly increase GHG concentrations in the atmosphere, contributing to global warming and climate change. 

Green Washing
Companies that pass themselves or a product off as environmentally and socially progressive when in fact they are not.  In some countries, this has become such a large concern that regulators are passing laws against it. 

Green Hushing
Companies that remain silent about the positive impact they are creating through their products, services, or business model.

Refers to the direct and indirect positive effects that an activity, business or production has on the planet and people. It reflects a shift in mindset from considering only the result of activities on a business (e.g., profit, reputation), to also looking outward and considering the effects the business has on the environment and society. 

We will use the term ‘interest-holder’ in place of the more common term ‘stakeholder’. In some contexts the word historically referred to the person who drove a stake into the land to demarcate the territory they were occupying (stealing) from Indigenous peoples. An interest-holder is any party that may have a physical, emotional, social, financial, legal or other interest in a particular issue, activity, story, business, or production

Net-zero emissions
A goal to completely negate the amount of greenhouse gases produced by reducing emissions as much as possible, and negating the remaining balance through equivalent offsets, or carbon credits.

The Paris Agreement
The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty that was signed in 2015 by the vast majority of countries on Earth. Its central aim is to keep global temperature rise this century to well below 2 degrees Celsius and to pursue the 1.5* target. The Paris Agreement requires each country to track, record, and report their carbon emissions as well as their efforts to reduce and offset them. Watch: Paris Agreement Explained (1:40)

Planet Placement
Placing content (dialogue, props, costume or behaviours) that normalize sustainable behaviours; parallel to product placement. Past examples of media content dramatically influencing cultural behaviour include the normalization of the designated driver, the documented uptake in brand purchases following on-screen placement, the reduction of teenage smoking, and many others. 

Planetary Boundaries
First proposed by Johan Rockström and a group of 28 internationally renowned scientists in 2009 at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, the planetary boundaries are a set of nine natural processes that regulate the stability and resilience of the Earth’s ecosystem are are necessary for life to thrive. Updated in 2023, the Earth has exceeded the safe operating space of 6 of the 9 planetary boundaries. 

Courtesy: Stockholm Resilience Centre

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations (UN) body for assessing the science related to climate change.

Sustainability broadly means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability for future generations to also meet their own needs.  In the business context sustainability covers human, environmental, social and economic concerns that impact an individual’s ability to live and thrive.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s)
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides for 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. Read more about the SDG Goals.

Sustainable Production
Integration of environmental, social and economic principles and actions into film productions – from script to screen. 

Involves approaching problems holistically from the point of view of relationships, interconnections and interactions. Considering that multiple interacting factors can impact a problem, systems-thinking can often lead to better decisions and solutions than traditional linear thinking which relies on a simple cause-and-effect model. 

Zero Waste
A holistic approach aimed at eliminating waste and encouraging the sustainable management of resources. The Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA) defines it as the conservation of all resources through responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health.