We’d like to say a big thank you to the film stars who presented their favourite sustainability-themed movie at the 6heads sustainability shorts. We have collected all inspiring film clips and added them to our 6heads youtube channel – so feel free to watch and share the short films which are all great examples for  film as a tool for communicating sustainability.

Below is an overview of all film clips and presenters, with the titles linking to each of the presentations followed by the film clip. Feel free to watch the whole event or jump to a specific clip.

If you know about an inspiring sustainability-themed film clip that you’d like to share please feel free to send the link together with a brief explanation of why you’ve chosen it to and we will add it to the playlist.

1) Introduction – David Hawksworth, Given

Clips shared by David Hawksworth were organised into a three part story about the past present and future of film and its ability to deliver a sustainability narrative.

2) Sounds of nature – Heather Dietz, Interface

Beats produced by wild life in the Austrian Natonal Park

3) Scarecrow – Connor Hill, M&S

The well-known ad from Chipotle

4) World Population – Martin Chilcott, 2Degrees

A dramatic visualization of the nature of exponential growth in human numbers and consumption

5) You are here – David Addison, Virgin Earth Challenge

A wonderful accompaniment to the great Carl Sagan’s narration from the original “Cosmos” series

6) Musequality – Annabelle Simmons, Department for Business Innovation and Skills

The Power of music in children’s lives

7) The Veja Project – Christian Smith, Inclusi

An examplar story of the future of the fashion supply chain

8) Pitch for Nature – Rosalind Yunibandhu, Action 2020

A  light-hearted and witty take on explaining the importance of natural capital

9) Star Wars – Dwayne Baraka, Value CSR

The sustainability lessons Star Wars can teach about having courage, discipline and compassion

10) Manoj Singh – Shannon Houde, Walk of Life Consulting

A movie that takes us on a journey outside of self to help us challenge our core values.

11) Food Patriots – Ilana Taub, Snact

A story of people who want to create a better food system

12) Giving – Darius Norell, Spring Project

The beauty of giving and returning an act of kindness

13) Green China Rising – Ruth Dobson & Jenny Chu

Green technologies with the potential to impact at scale

14) Home – Mike Tennant, Imperial College

Impressive footage of the world from above showing humanity’s impact

15) The Wombat – chosen by Dave Hampton

A singing wombat who brings humour, hope and happiness

If you’d like to watch the whole playlist click on “Play All” in the following video, or just watch individual movies from below. You can also access all videos on our youtube channel here: 

Below we have captured in writing why the respective film clips were chosen:

Sustainability is an emotive subject and emotion is at the heart of film. It allows us to empathize, to see an issue through the eyes of a real person, or animal, not a faceless statistic. It has the power to capture hearts and minds – to shock, inspire and challenge, to make us laugh, to start a debate. Film also gives us the ability to change the lens through which sustainability stories have traditionally been told – to move us from the fear of a burning platform message to one of innovative solutions and an aspirational future.

1) Introduction – David Hawksworth, Given

Clips shared by David Hawksworth were organised into a three part story about the past present and future of film and its ability to deliver a sustainability narrative.

a) Thinking back before sustainability was a word that anybody really used – how did businesses use film to engage people? The chosen video is a advertisement that claims that doctors smoke Camel cigarettes. It’s easy to laugh at this now, but the principle of using film as a tool to manipulate people has not changed that much. So in the beginning film is part of the problem, the very reason why there was a breakdown in trust between people and business; no wonder a big chasm opened up between them.

b) There has been a transformation in recent years in the way that companies tell stories about sustainability in film.  The first part of this is about playing marketing at it’s own game, by showing people that a healthier happier life is also a more sustainable life.  This is crucial for any company trying to make sustainability a core part of their long term plan.  The second part is about kicking marketing and branding out the way altogether and showing people an open and honest version of what a company is really up to.  The film is by Given London for Virgin Media and is split into two parts, each represents one of these two principles.

c) The first is about ‘Imagining the future.’ Innovation is the key to sustainable change and film is a great way of painting a picture of future possibilities are, before they have happened.  It’s not overtly about sustainability but this is Amazon showing that they aren’t without ambition, even though it might look a bit 1984 to some people.

d) The second theme identified is about responding to stuff live, real time, as it happens.  What is more open and transparent than an instant live response to a criticism or a breaking issue?  This example is something that Waterstones turned around in about 24 hours in response to a belief that Amazon’s drone idea of the future was a bit silly.

e) The third theme is around the idea of Sparking a movement.  Film and story telling is good at making people take notice of an issue but it is historically very bad at making them do anything about it.  We need to use film as a spark for something bigger!  The example is called the mighty Schlepp and it presents an unusual way to encourage a very specific voting trend in the US elections in 2008.

f) The final example is about how you can start to make sustainability just part of the furniture of everyday life – part of the way that business and culture operates.  The example has a loose sustainability theme that genuinely became a mainstream hit.  This should be the  goal of any sustainability brief. to break into the mainstream, and film can really help

2) Sounds of nature – Heather Dietz, Interface

3) Scarecrow  Connor Hill, M&S

4) World Population – Martin Chilcott, 2Degrees

This short video communicates the nature of exponential growth in human numbers and consumption in a dramatic and visual way. It is ideal for communicating to stakeholders about the global nature of the sustainability challenge and how recent but rapidly it is advancing. Viewers are left with a sense of the immediacy and size of the challenge we face and a pictorial impression of how human impacts are dominating the planet in the Anthropocene.

5) You are here – David Addison, Virgin Earth Challenge

I chose Patrick Mylund Nielsen’s homemade video because despite the slightly dodgy editing and the hundreds of copyright violations it likely contains (!) it’s the most wonderful accompaniment to the great Carl Sagan’s narration from the original “Cosmos” series I’ve seen. The perspective it provides should be remembered more often in our discourses and disputes – and must never be forgotten.

6) Musequality  Annabelle Simmons, Department for Business Innovation and Skills

7) The Veja Project – Christian Smith, Inclusi

Veja demonstrates the future of the fashion supply chain, where a little mindfulness goes a long way. It’s the antithesis of the traditionally opaque norm. The visibility Veja has across its value chain is also a way to make deeper to connections with both customers and suppliers, and in the digital world where content is crucial, it’s a way to further enhance the brand with stories that resonate.

8) Pitch for Nature – Rosalind Yunibandhu, Action 2020

We all know what financial capital is. We’re even talking more and more about human capital and the value our employees‘ skills and knowledge bring to our business. But what about natural capital? Natural capital is the value nature provides to business: the stocks of physical and biological resources and the capacity of ecosystems to provide a flow of services like water filtration and carbon sequestration.

Led by the WBCSD, more than 25 of the world’s top organizations working on the value of nature in business have come together behind “Pitch for Nature”. This light-hearted and witty take on explaining a very serious matter is designed to get business leaders thinking about what natural capital is and why businesses need to care. The video was first launched at the inaugural World Forum on Natural Capital in Edinburgh in November.

9) Star Wars – Dwayne Baraka, Value CSR

I love Star Wars (probably because it was a childhood favourite) and I think it has many sustainability lessons to teach, especially about having courage, discipline and compassion. But this clip highlights a very personal lesson (and was partly chosen to be in contrast to some of the cleverer and sustainability-specific films you see here).

I think for a long time, I wanted to be OBWon Kanobi, except I wanted to change companies to be just a bit nicer. If only I said something clever enough, or mystified people enough, they would ignore their very clear and direct orders, motivations or performance targets and help make companies be a bit nicer too. To turn them from the Dark Side.


But then I started to see it from the Storm-troopers perspective. I developed compassion for the faceless Imperial Stormtrooper in the movie, who had to live with the consequences of Jedi magic.

On a few occasions, I was probably guilty of trying sustainability magic without thinking about the person who had to live with the consequences. I’m now interested in helping the Storm-Troopers to change because they see that change is the only way for any of us to move forward.

Deep down, the Storm-Trooper doesn’t want to do bad things. They know that the Dark Side ruling the universe would be bad.

Deep down, I know that me having unlimited powers of persuasion would lead to bad things. Besides, OB1 dies.

Somewhere in the middle of Jedi and Dark Side is stuff like materiality, innovation and the business case for sustainability. Which is why I started my own business helping companies with those things.

I still think that a little distraction is important!

10) Manoj Singh – Shannon Houde, Walk of Life Consulting

What I love about this HAPPY movie is that it takes us on a journey outside of self to help us challenge our core values. We travel with the Director from the bayous of Louisiana to the deserts of Namibia, from the beaches of Brazil, to the villages of Okinawa – HAPPY explores the secrets behind our most valued emotion.

There is now a global movement of happiness full of books, movies, and scientific studies. And in 1972 the Dragon King of Bhutan coined a national measurement of happiness like the GNP called the Gross National Happiness. The GNH has four pillars which to me are perfectly aligned with sustainability values and are touched on in this HAPPY film:

  • The promotion of equitable and sustainable socio-economic development
  • The preservation and promotion of cultural values
  • The conservation of the natural environment, and
  • The establishment of good governance.

Happiness is not based on material possessions or the wealth generated by local businesses. It’s our connection to ourselves and others. Real satisfaction and meaning emerge when we recognize our interdependence and what that means in terms of how we treat one another and want to be treated. Creating good work and building healthy communities are not just things we dream about. They are what we must do to realize the happiness available to any of us willing to work for it.

This weekend you can get motivated for your own sustainable happiness: Download the complete HAPPY movie or Watch Pharrell Williams sing and dance as part of 24HoursofHappy 

11) Food Patriots – Ilana Taub, Snact

Food Patriots tells the stories of people who want to create a better food system, whether it’s with small actions like changing purchasing habits, owning pet chickens and goats, or getting involved in community food growing projects. Showing examples of alternatives and how things can be done better is a great way to inspiring change, and that’s why documentaries like Food patriots are so important.

12) Giving – Darius Norell, Spring Project

13) Green China Rising – Ruth Dobson & Jenny Chu

14) Home – Mike Tennant, Imperial College

15) The Wombat – chosen by Matt Damon, who secretly aspires to be a Chartered Environmentalist – (actually chosen by Dave Hampton who already is one 🙂

 I should have said, the Wombat is quite old.  I first saw it at a Be The Change / Pachamama Alliance / Awakening the Dreamer symposium workshop, circa 2007 I think.   I’ve use it at the end of many a talk I’ve given, and it always feels like it captures pretty much everything. Also, it seems to work across a wide age range, actually across a wide cultural diversity too. I use it for talks I give in schools too; even Key Stage 1 get it.  Which maybe says something about how we can over-think sustainability?
I chose the Wombat for three reasons, all beginning with H.  First it brings some relief in the form of Humour, so vital when exploring mass extinctions and annihilation.  Second it brings Hope, that if a chilled out Wombat can “get it” so succinctly, and so comprehensively, maybe so can we.  (We’re all One!) And third it brings me personal Happiness. Because it was the first really successful bridge between “the dull worthy stuff Daddy does for work” and my lovely children.  When they were younger they loved the wholeness of the Wombat.  Says it all really.

6heads – Join in

3 responses to “Film

  1. Pingback: 6heads sustainability shorts playlist | 6heads·

  2. Pingback: 6Heads sustainability shorts film festival | Walk of Life Consulting·

  3. Pingback: 28 Days of Inspiration – Day 4: The power of film… | Green Sky Thinking·

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