Press Releases
European Film Market & Co-Production Market

  • |

Jan 28, 2020

Sustainability at the Berlinale

Sustainability at the Berlinale

With the 70th Berlinale, the Berlin International Film Festival is reaffirming its commitment to the 2030 Agenda set out by the United Nations, including its 17 Sustainable Development Goals ( This will be communicated to the general public and industry professionals alike by means of a public exhibition.

Over the course of several years, the festival has been gradually implementing an ever increasing number of sustainable projects in a variety of fields. With the support of ‘Engagement Global’ and their project #17Ziele (17 goals), there will be an exhibit dealing with the SDGs in the Potsdamer Platz Arkaden shopping centre during the 70th Berlinale. Numerous events will also be hosted in cooperation with further partners at the Berlinale Social Bus in Alte Potsdamer Straße.

In addition, several events will once again be held for members of the public and for industry professionals, focussing on sustainability in connection with the festival‘s sections, initiatives, and the EFM (European Film Market). Thus, the festival is increasing its efforts to achieve greater sustainability and to protect the environment, continuing a process started as far back as 2010.

“The Berlinale sees the cultural sphere and the film industry as important players when it comes to realising the SDGs. Accordingly, we also consider it our responsibility as a festival to act more sustainably,” comments Berlinale Executive Director Mariette Rissenbeek.

A Closer Look at the Exhibit Dealing With SDGs 4, 5, 9 and 12

The SDGs for sustainability consist of ecological, economic and social topics alike. The exhibit in the Potsdamer Platz Arkaden shopping centre will focus on four of the UN‘s 17 sustainability goals. These four SDGs are inextricably linked with the Berlinale‘s understanding of its own social role, as can be seen in several areas of the Berlin International Film Festival:

SDG 4 Cultural Education As a Key to the Future

The varied and international films shown at the Berlinale have the potential to spark debate and inspire new ways of looking at and thinking about the world. True to the mottos ‘enable’ and ‘empower’, Berlinale Talents provides support to filmmakers from across the globe. The Talents Footprints initiative (which in 2020 includes the new Mastercard Enablement Programme) in turn supports them in creating sustainable projects that have a positive social impact. Since its inception in 1978, the Generation section has centered not only on challenging films for children and young viewers, but also on film education in schools.

SDG 5 Commitment to Gender Equality

For several years, the Berlinale has been actively promoting greater gender equality and diversity. This includes the recognition and furtherance of queer cinema by means of the annual Teddy Awards. Since the 1980s, the Panorama section has played a pioneering role in the world of film festivals with its screening of gay and lesbian, transgender and feminist films. Through a process of in-depth analysis, the Berlinale is able to achieve greater transparency of the gender distribution in the annual film programme. Starting in 2018, the Diversity & Inclusion initiative of the EFM has been contributing to the promotion of changes in the film industry. Since 2018, the Berlinale has also supported events organised by ProQuote Film and Women in Film and Television Germany (WIFT).

SDG 9 Impetus for the Film Industry

As a driving force in the film industry, the Berlinale is committed to sustainable film production, and regularly organises discussions and workshops that focus on this issue. The World Cinema Fund has been promoting cultural diversity and supporting the development of cinema in regions lacking in film infrastructure since 2004. Furthermore, at seven locations across the globe, Berlinale Talents provides training in cooperation with partner organisations. In 2020, the European Film Market adopted a manifesto that focuses on sustainability measures for the organisation of the film industry event.

SDG 12 Conscious Consumption / “Reduce, reuse, recycle”

In the interest of conscious consumption, the following motto is valid: “Bring your own cup!” Over the last two years, by no longer using disposable cups, the amount of waste produced has reduced by hundreds of kilos during the festival. The red carpet at the Berlinale likewise sets an example of how to combat throwaway culture: it is made from recycled fishing nets and other plastic waste, and can be reused over several years. Furthermore, the catering provided during the Berlinale is almost exclusively vegetarian, which reduces the festival’s ecological footprint.

For years, the Berlin International Film Festival has been and continues to be supported in its journey towards greater sustainability by the Federal Foreign Office, the Goethe Institutes, the German Commission for UNESCO, and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM).

Ecological Sustainability Initiatives of the Berlinale Since 2010

  • • In 2010, the Berlinale had its carbon footprint measured by the Öko-Institut (Institute for Applied Ecology). This was made possible with the support of Entega, a partner of the Berlinale at the time.
  • • Every year since 2010, the Prinzessinnengärten collective has created an indoor garden installation in the Arsenal Cinema foyer, thus raising awareness of their socially and ecologically responsible urban gardening project at Moritzplatz in Berlin-Kreuzberg.
  • • Since 2013, the festival‘s year-round office operations have carried the European Union‘s EMAS eco-management seal of approval. Amongst other things, the Berlinale is helping to reduce CO2 emissions by using one hundred percent green energy at all of its locations.
  • • In 2015, the Berlinale established a working group on climate protection, which has been active ever since and is tasked with working towards the reduction of harmful emissions and improved internal (and ultimately also external) communication regarding climate-related issues.
  • • In order to reduce waste production, the Berlinale stopped offering disposable cups at its beverage stations in 2017. This year, too, industry professionals attending the festival are asked to bring their own cups.
  • • In 2019, the red carpets laid out at the Berlinale Palast, the Zoo Palast Cinema, the Friedrichstadt-Palast and the Berlinale Press Centre were for the first time made from recycled materials. The yarn used to produce the carpets is sourced entirely from old fishing nets and other nylon waste, and can itself be recycled after use. In 2020, these “green” carpets will be rolled out once again.
  • • On the occasion of its 70th anniversary, the Berlinale is supporting a film competition for school children on the topics of waste prevention and urban cleanliness; a project initiated by the BSR (Berlin Waste Management).
  • • In 2020, the EFM drew up a sustainability manifesto outlining its goals of counteracting the production of unnecessary waste, using energy and other resources sensibly, and developing strategies for reduction, reuse and recycling.

The 2020 Berlinale will once again feature numerous events focussing on the topic of sustainability at Berlinale Talents, the World Cinema Fund, the EFM and the various festival sections. The full schedule of events will be available – along with the film programme – from February 11 at

Press Office
January 28, 2020