The strike launched by Hollywood actors against cinema’s biggest corporations has ended. The deal has left SAG-AFTRA happy, with some defining it as “the biggest contract-on-contract gains in the history of the union.”
The strike has been the single biggest news in cinema for the last few months, and for good reasons. The strike has caused delays for countless movies and series, and the deal reached will have untold effects on cinema.
But 2023 was also when SAG-AFTRA became more involved in environmental sustainability.
The SAG-AFTRA Green Council
In May 2023, the screenwriters’ and actors’ unions announced their new advocacy group, the Green Council, founded by SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher. Drescher, who ran her campaign on the environmental sustainability of the film industry, thinks actors’ influence gives them great responsibility:
“What we have to take responsibility to do as an industry is to normalize eco-responsible living. We are the greatest influencers on the planet.”
One of the objectives of the Green Council is to put an end to single-use plastic on set. That means plastic bottles, straws, packaging, and more. Single-use plastics are one of the biggest polluters of ocean water and produce billions of tons of waste every year. Experts predict that production will triple in the next 30 years.
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The Green Council Aims for the Public
But the Green Council’s real battle is with the consumers, with the public. The American film industry is large, but alone, it can only do so much.
What it does have is the power to influence our culture, hopefully shaping our behavior for the better. As Drescher noted when announcing the initiative:
“Our industry is unlike most others [in that] we have a capacity of shaping a culture, shifting a paradigm and influencing audiences around the world. Together, the entertainment industry, when paired with the press and social media, can make a difference.”
Who Else Is on the Green Council
SAG-AFTRA defines the Green Council as “a collaboration of show business entities in pursuit of advancement of eco-responsible entertainment.” Those entities include several union members previously involved in environmental activism.
Partnered organizations include the WGA West and the DGA, which represent US-based screenwriters and directors. Meanwhile, advocacy groups like the Plastic Pollution Council and Drescher’s own Cancer Schmancer took on advisory roles.