November is Vegan Month, and I’m using the time to reflect on my own responsibility as a plant-based person and how I can use my company to help make more change. Aside from what you think about animal cruelty, factory farming is destroying the planet and following a vegan diet is now recognised as one of the most beneficial things a person can do to reduce their contribution to climate change. Researchers at the University of Oxford found that going plant based could reduce your carbon footprint by up to 73 per cent. The findings showed that meat and dairy production is responsible for 60 per cent of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions.
For the record, I never thought I would go plant-based. I was brought up in Sweden on a meat heavy diet and I believed that I had no choice but to eat animals. I mean I had to eat protein so it was ok to kill animals, right? I was a strong and healthy viking meat lover.
But then, during the summer of 2017 I was indulging in a feast of meat, fish, cheese, ice cream - you name it, I was enjoying it. The summer was great but by the end I felt tired, inflamed, grumpy and just generally unwell. I went to visit a nutritionist and after two weeks of eliminating most animal products from my diet I felt like a whole new person.
I know that a plant-based diet doesn’t work for everyone but I haven’t looked back since, and I can’t quite believe that it took me so long to convert. I am by no means perfect, but I try my best and that’s all that matters. I have since realised that being plant based goes hand in hand with my belief system when it comes to feminism, politics and the environment.
I am now looking at ways I can bring my plant based values into Erika Lust Films and trying to ensure we are more “Lust-ainable” going forward. I sent a survey to people that I work with on set and my team in the office to get their thoughts on going vegan, and as many of them are already vegan or vegetarian or trying to cut down on their meat consumption, we decided it was time to make Erika Lust Films vegan. In the company we try to put our values first with everything we do and we want to be pioneers in an industry in which morals and ethics have never been seen as a priority. So, it seemed like a logical next step to promote a plant-based lifestyle, both to defend animal rights and to reduce our environmental impact.
My sets have been mostly plant based for a few years with vegan catering but I wanted to extend this to the guest directed shoots that we produce around the world. I have recently updated my Guest Directors Guidelines to Shooting for Erika Lust Films to include guidelines on plant-based decisions.
To start, we now ask for the catering to be plant based where possible. We know that it is not an option for everybody which is why everyone is advised beforehand, so that if someone has special dietary requirements and cannot eat plant based for whatever reason, we can accommodate their needs. On an ethical production set we do not want to neglect anyone’s needs. We also ensure that there is a balanced variety of vegan food on set to cover any concerns for protein, iron and calcium.
We are working towards having all wardrobe, props, sex toys & accessories made from vegan material where possible. This isn’t always easy, especially with BDSM and fetish equipment, but there are some great vegan brands out there now making plant based accessories.
As a company we donate regularly to the charity Surge Activism, a grassroots, non-profit animal rights organisation determined to create a world where compassion towards all non-human animals is the norm.
Whether they’re staff parties, media events or screenings, I’m making Erika Lust events plant-based. It’s not a requirement to be vegan to work with us, but I hope in the future anything purchased or expensed under our company will be plant-based.
Whatever your eating habits, I hope that Vegan Month might make you think a little about your own eating habits.