3 key takeaways from the UK Cinema Association’s Greening the Big Screen Experience

February 22, 2023

Sustainable practices are becoming front and center in the cinema industry. Our team was at the UK Cinema Association's conference on Greening the Big Screen Experience and has a lot to share — from cinemas leading by example to ways in which we can all contribute.

DX Team
3 key takeaways from the UK Cinema Association’s Greening the Big Screen Experience

After two packed days at UK Cinema Association’s conference on Greening the Big Screen Experience, we’re buzzing with energy for what the future of cinema can look like when it comes to sustainability and green practices.

At DX, we are committed to build our products and our company in an environmentally sustainable way because we believe this is the future of tech and the only way to ensure long-term development.

We’ve explored the status of sustainability and the cinema industry in our blog before, but now we have fresh insights from our colleagues present at #UKCACON23.

Let’s see what Guillaume Branders (Business Development Manager), Oddvar Jenssen (Head of Business Development), and Martin Berg (CEO) uncovered:

Cinema as an avenue for green education

As more and more moviegoers are swayed in their purchasing decisions by sustainable practices, especially the younger generations, the cinema industry needs to continue to invest in managing their waste and energy consumption.

During the first day of the conference, Ruth Hinton (Vue International) shared a video from Into Film (part of a national film education scheme) showing teenagers sharing why they cared so much about sustainability and their wish to visit eco-friendly cinemas and businesses, at large. She, also, highlighted the need to bridge the gap between what people worry about and are aware of, and what they actually do to change the situation — an opportunity for cinema programming and education. 

Green best practices in the cinema

From refillable drinks to using renewable energy, cinemas in Europe are exploring more and more ways to be eco-friendly while also reducing costs in the process.

For instance, CINECITTA' Multiplexkino in Nuremberg, Germany, easily comes to mind as a great example of innovation as they want to completely move to hydropower leveraging two small nearby hydroelectric power stations.

But it doesn’t have to be such a big move from the start:

  • Using solar panels. We were happy to see many raised hands in the audience from cinemas using solar panels on their rooftops. Carol Rennie even gave a talk on how they’re leveraging that at Keswick Alhmabra, reinforcing how smaller cinemas, with limited resources, can make great strides towards sustainability. 
  • Leveraging circular economy practices. Kinopolis in Germany uses refillable drinks as an eco-friendly practice, saving money while being sustainable. 
  • Carving out time for a dedicated sustainability strategy. The Depot cinema in Lewes was built to be environmental friendly and sustainable. They’re minimising energy consumption using natural air ventilation, good insulation, etc. and recycle 82% of their waste — part of the 1% sites in the UK who recycle coffee cups. But, even more important, they have one of the staff members working on developing and sustaining a dedicated strategy two days a week. 
  • Sustainability-focused programming. Mammoth Cinema in Nottingham is a special example, as the whole renovation of the cinema was focused on positioning it as a “hub for sharing ideas about how we can all contribute towards a better, fairer, and greener future - focused around film.”
  • CSR. Odeon’s sustainability strategy started with a need to “do the right thing”. Now, they even have a corporate social responsibility track which includes reducing waste and energy use. As they say: “The Milton Keynes cinema is lit by the sun – with 286m2 surface area of solar panels providing 85% of the electricity used to light the building. The cinema recycles 90% of its waste, and water consumption has been reduced by approximately 40% compared to similar cinemas by using low flush toilets.” 

These are just some of the great examples discussed during the conference, but we know there are many more out there. 

Natasha Padbury, Lewes Depot Cinema

Energy and waste management in numbers

We’ve also noted some interesting numbers and milestones for a more sustainable future in Europe that impacts our industry:

  • In France, close to 70% of the cinemas’ energy expenses come from the HVAC system
  • Digital infrastructure produces 2% of global greenhouse emissions
  • The EU Green Deal has the objective to be climate neutral by 2050 
  • The Climate Content Pledge in the UK signed by 12 broadcasters and streamers for a path to net zero

Patrick Hort, Nottingham Mammoth Cinema

In the end, echoing Phil Clapp’s closing remarks, we’ve just started scratching the surface and we have more work to do. 

That’s why, DX is woking on developing an internal sustainability committee, so we make sure to support green practices both for our company and our clients.   

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