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Major Motion Picture ESG & the Potential Effect Thai Film Production Companies

Thailand is rapidly solidifying its position as a thriving hub for international film and television productions. The Thai government is rolling out compelling incentives, reaching up to 30%, to entice new projects to choose the scenic backdrop of Thailand for their creations. Among the remarkable recent film productions in Thailand include the action-packed “Extraction” on Netflix, the poignant “Da 5 Bloods” by Spike Lee, to the captivating “Ms. Marvel” series from Disney/Marvel. 

Ashlar specialise health, safety, and environmental programs as well as ESG, we embarked on an exploration into the ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) reports of entertainment giants Disney, Paramount, and Netflix. What transpired was a revelation of three companies are sharing some interesting Sustainability goals, and employing distinct strategies across the globe into their supply chains.

The significance of these policies may have significant long-term effects on the landscape of film production companies in Thailand.

As we see it, there is no reason why Thai companies in the film industry couldn’t develop, implement and showcase ESG and Safety Programs to attract more foreign business. However, a recognition that it is needed and the willingness to take the necessary steps is what is required.

Ashlar understands this space well and we can work with Thai Film Production companies to raise the bar to the necessary levels, with relative ease. Our research indicates that many, if not most, local production companies may fall behind on some of the requirements of international studios on Safety & Health, in particular.

Ashlar can support your efforts by working with your Production Teams to design, develop and help implement programs that align with international studios requirements. 
We can function as your “outsourced” Safety, Health & Sustainability” department to ensure compliance as well as help to reduce unnecessary (and costly) incidents and accidents.

Let’s take a look at what top three ESG (including safety & health) strategies three of these companies have published in their annual Sustainability Reports.

ESG Top 3 Strategies of Disney, Paramount and Netflix

Diversity and Inclusion tops the list in all three companies as they strive for more inclusive content and diverse workplaces. All three companies follow the requirements of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and its material topics for reporting. Ashlar are GRI Sustainability Professionals so we have a deep understanding of how these standards are implemented and reported.

Disney
  1. Social – Diversity & Inclusion and Community
  2. Environment – Committing to Science Based Targets (Net Zero)
  3. Social – Community (It is a GRI Material Topic)
Paramount
  1. Social – Diversity & Inclusion
  2. Social – Workforce culture, Health & Safety, labour relations
  3. Environmental – sustainable production & operations
Netflix
  1. Environment – halving emissions by 50% by 2030 and choosing clean electricity
  2. Social – Diversity & Inclusion
  3. Governance – phased declassification of Board, changes to executive compensation, elimination of “super-voting” classification
Global Reporting Initiative

Here is a more detailed look at some of the stated commitments they made with respect to ESG reporting.

Disney

DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION

Create authentic and unforgettable stories that inspire global audiences

ENVIRONMENT & CONSERVATION

Help change the course of our planet’s story, creating a healthier home for people and wildlife

COMMUNITY

Bring comfort, optimism, and joy to our communities and inspire hope, especially for children

Paramount

ON-SCREEN CONTENT & SOCIAL IMPACT

encompasses the opportunities and responsibilities we have to represent, inform, and influence through our content and brands.

Subsection topics include: 

  • Diverse and inclusive content 
  • Responsible content and advertising 
  • Social impact and corporate social responsibility (CSR)
WORKFORCE & CULTURE

includes our efforts to recruit and retain the best employees; treat employees, contractors, and partners well; and ensure everyone feels welcome and safe. 

Subsection topics include: 

  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion in our culture
  • An engaged workforce
  • Health, safety, and security
  • Preventing harassment and discrimination 
  • Labour relations
SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION & OPERATIONS

covers how we address the environmental and social impacts of our operations and facilities, film and television productions, and other activities. 

Subsection topics include: 

  • Climate change
  • Sustainable production 
  • Supply chain diversity 
  • Consumer products

Netflix

ENVIRONMENT

The next decade is critical if we’re to manage climate change sustainably. It’s why Netflix has committed to halving our emissions by 2030. We will do this by optimizing our energy use, then electrifying it and decarbonizing the rest. 

INCLUSION

“Netflix is becoming more representative of the members we serve. We now have offices in over 25 countries. Almost half of our employees are women and, in the US, 50% are from historically excluded ethnic and/or racial backgrounds. We’re also seeing increased representation on and off screen — with significantly more female directors and showrunners, and more people of colour in leading roles.”

GOVERNANCE

“Our business model is well-proven and Netflix is a leader in streaming entertainment in terms of engagement, revenue and profit. So we’re evolving to a more standard large-cap governance structure, including the phased declassification of our board, the elimination of supermajority voting provisions and changes to our executive compensation program from 2023 onwards.”

Quite obviously, these three companies are setting an elevated benchmark and demonstrating some progressive commitments to environmental, social and governance progress, particularly as we approach the year 2030.

However, the question arises: 

What are the potential effects of these developments for Thai production and studio enterprises? What needs to be done to win new deals and beat the competition?

The ramifications for Thai companies in this industry are potentially profound, underscored by their new and expanding status as key “suppliers” of services to prominent international studios like Disney, Paramount and Netflix to name just three. Here’s some suggestions.

1. Review the International Studio Sustainability Reports

Understand the strategies and requirements of these foreign studios and develop programs that align with them as bet as possible – especially regarding Safety & Health.These strategies should be short, medium and long term and shouldn’t be overly complicated. Their focus is very DEI focussed so consider a few simple plans and policies to align with studio DEI programs.

2. Consider the Development of a Standards Based Safety Management System

Under the new amendments to the Thai Occupational Safety & Health Act in 2022, companies with workforces over 50 people, are required to have a written Safety Management System, aligned to international standards. Read this article for more information. These written programs should align to the standardised by the Motion Picture Association of America, which is the standards used by most international studios. Ashlar has taken these and revised them to apply to the regulatory environment in Thailand as well as translated them into Thai.

3. Consider the Development of a Sustainability Program

The Thai government is now committed to the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity which includes measures to better account for environmental sustainability improvements. We can expect more regulations within the next 3-10 years. The Foreign Studios are also clearly putting in plans to have their downstream suppliers (Thai Production Companies) report on sustainability statistics and capabilities. Companies here will soon find themselves obligated to take a more active role in ESG reporting. Those that do, will surely find themselves winning more contracts!. Ashlar has a few interesting ideas that we can discuss with you that can even help you reduce costs of production and improve your reputation with the local market and communities.

4. Consider developing a Contractor Safety Management Program

Contractors, particularly those used during Set Builds, are amazingly talented at what they do. However, many struggle with basic safety awareness. As a result, they tend to suffer quite a few injuries, some of which can be very serious. Under Thai law, companies hiring contractors are ultimately responsible for the health and safety of contractors working on set building. A clear written Contractor Safety Management program removes uncertainty and provides guidance to your procurement team when selecting and ranking a contractors for selection. We can help you to develop these guidelines and even suggest some ideas for a PPE matrix.

Reach out to Ashlar and let’s have a discovery talk.

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