Partner Profile: Zena Harris, Green Spark Group

It’s an industry that touches the lives of media-buffs around the world.  It brings families together to share a few hours on a Friday night, or in a theatre.  It facilitates first-dates, and provides comfort in the ‘binge-watching’ trends of quarantine, sick-days, and simply those days where we just don’t want to leave the couch.

Film production is an upwards of $8.9 billion dollar industry in Canada, producing over 170,000 full-time jobs, and countless other benefits to both the Canadian economy and social life.  It’s comprised of location and construction teams, producers, researchers, actors, writers, musicians, consultants to name a few – not to mention the supply chains that contribute to the actual provision of goods and services for the operation of this massive creative sector. The ecosystem of film production is widespread, and so is its potential for social and environmental impact.

Sustainability in the film industry is a growing focus across Canada, and TRANSFORM has taken an interest in the role that SMEs and experimentation play in it.  We have teamed up with Zena Harris, President at Green Spark Group to explore and better understand the practices employed by the film industry to create more sustainable production, and to push the industry to leverage its social impact to create change for a more sustainable world.  Our TRANSFORM postdoctoral fellow at the University of Waterloo, Dr. Jose DiBella, has worked hard to built our capacity to explore the impact of the small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) that make up the creative arts industry, and to better understand the impact of this ecosystem.  This new partnership is exciting, and we expect to find some creative pathways forward!

On her journey to building Green Spark Group, Zena Harris was working in a large corporate HR department, specializing in organizational change and training systems.  Her interest in sustainability in corporate systems sparked her journey to a Master’s program at Harvard University in Corporate Sustainability.  While in graduate school, Zena was drawn to the film industry and sustainability – specifically, the lack of attention given to sustainable action and practices in the industry.  Given the film industry’s huge impact on social life, how might it be used as a vestibule to bring sustainability into the spotlight?  And how can the practices of film production itself be improved to not just convey the significance of sustainability in our world, but also to “walk-the-walk” and move towards sustainable action in the production of film?  This passion for bringing transformational practices to film production kickstarted the pathway to launch Green Spark Group, a leading consultancy based in Vancouver for a more sustainable film production landscape. 

Early successes in GHG reductions for film projects, waste reduction, and implementing sustainable actions across the production and set crews encouraged Zena and her team to seek pathways to implementing these across the board in the industry.  Building partnerships, executing successful examples of green production, and building capacity across film boards and creative arts networks have become cornerstones in the approach to transforming industry practices.

Our team will be working with Zena in the coming months to better understand pathways to sustainable transformation in the film industry.  We were excited to learn that momentum in this field is growing – with provinces like Manitoba’s Film & Music Board and Ontario’s Ontario Creates signing on to build capacity within their own provincial boundaries as well.  The ecosystem of the film industry is expansive, and to learn about the impact of the businesses that contribute to its success, and to its pathway to meaningful, transformational sustainability is a great opportunity for TRANSFORM and our partnerships.


Are you an SME in the creative arts sector, and are interested in exploring the role of sustainable transformation?  Connect with us through socials, or at!


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