Connecting SMEs for a green economy

Casual Films: A production company with a conscience

Chris Hopkins's picture

Casual Films make films with a conscience, so they aim to be a firm with a conscience too. For Casual, social change, sustainability and business success go hand in hand

Casual Films didn't always see sustainable business as the future, but when they lost a large contract simply because a rival scored better on sustainability, their thinking changed.

They had always viewed Casual as a profitmaking firm with a broader social mission – helping local kids into film, supporting local charities, and developing a new generation of film-makers in the third world – but sustainability hadn’t yet figured into their thinking. Once it did, making small changes to the business model was easy and effective; so much so that they’re confident that today’s ‘sustainable businesses’ will just be tomorrows ‘businesses’.

The first main sustainability change Casual made was to call in The Planet Mark to help audit their carbon footprint and discover the low hanging fruit of sustainability. A company recycling program, a computer switch-off policy, reduced international flights, and encouraging cycling all helped cut the carbon Casual were producing. With The Planet Mark’s support, Casual reduced their (per staff member) carbon footprint by 5% in a year, and committed to keep saving 5% more per staff member each year. This flexible target incentivised ongoing improvement of Casual’s green credentials while ensuring that business growth would not be constrained.

Second, Casual began measuring the carbon footprint of the films they produced under a ‘Zero-Carbon Films’ program, giving clients the opportunity to gauge the sustainability of their project and easily offset the environmental impact; if they should so choose.

Even though Casual’s sustainability drive has been a success, some stakeholders were initially sceptical. They wanted a business case, and in hindsight the case has been clear. While Casual’s agency clients often gave sustainability short shrift, some organisations put it at the forefront and Casual won several contracts on its sustainability credentials alone. In the meantime, sustainability improvements were an ongoing cost-saver, recruitment saw a boost from applicants attracted by working for an environmentally conscious employer, and staff morale was on the up.

One problem Casual encountered was the inevitable carbon-footprint of having offices on both sides of the Atlantic, with travel between London and New York quite regular. Despite this hurdle, greening has been so good for Casual that they are now considering a goal of net zero-carbon, offsetting the business’ entire carbon footprint!

For a consumer facing production company like Casual, the benefits of green have turned out to be very large indeed, helping to drive business growth alongside a rounding out of their social mission. 

Further details

How was the green solution financed?: 
Would you characterize the green solution as: 
Low capital intensive investment (i.e. €500 - €3,000)
Emission reductions description: 
5% carbon footprint reduction per year, per staff member
Technical and capacity requirements?: 

Casual decided to recruit someone with CSR experience to assist with implementation.