Established in 2008 as a partnership between the world famous Ecologist magazine (now Resurgence & Ecologist) and Ecostorm, the Ecologist Film Unit (EFU) is an independent, not-for-profit news organisation dedicated to investigative reporting on the environment, food and farming, health and wildlife issues. The EFU produces original investigative content for broadcast, print and online output, and work with external media outlets and partners to maximise impact and exposure.
Why it matters
Genuine investigative reporting of environmental and related issues is both expensive and time consuming, and traditional outlets are increasingly reducing the resources available for in-depth investigations as costs are cut and savings sought. The danger of this situation speaks for itself – vital stories could go untold.
We believe therefore that the future for such reporting lies in innovative and ambitious collaborations between small, highly specialist – and independently funded – news organisations such as ourselves, and bigger, established media outlets. Such models are established in the US, and have been shown to perform an important public service within realistic economic parameters. We want to mirror this in the UK and globally.
To date we’ve produced more than 25 investigative documentaries and related print reports. See the full series here
Grinding Nemo: the real cost of a prawn curry.
In this film the EFU travels to Thailand to investigate some of the disturbing abuses linked to the production of fishmeal, a key ingredient in the feed given to farmed prawns. The film in part led to a major follow up investigation by The Guardian examining the hidden supply chain secrets behind supermarket shrimp.
Blood harvest: hard labour behind our soft drinks
The EFU reports from southern Italy on claims that migrant labourers are being exploited on citrus farms supplying fruit and juices to large soft drinks manufacturers, including Coca Cola. The film provoked a public outcry in Italy, sparking street protests in Calabria and leading to crisis meetings between the Government and citrus industry, as well as generating headlines globally.
Toxic tanneries: leather production in Bangladesh
Our first film, produced in 2008, put the EFU on the map and saw correspondent Jim Wickens travel to Dhaka to investigate the shocking impacts that leather production in the region were having on local residents and the environment. The story was picked up by BBC World and broadcast to millions.
More information on the EFU and its impact here
Banner photo (and home page banner): Ulet Ifansasti / Ecostorm / FoE