Going Green:
Environmental Sustainability

    MPA Member Companies Going Green in Canada and Around the World

    The six member companies of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) individually and voluntarily take on a wide variety of green initiatives throughout the entire year. We have compiled highlights of how each of the studios are bringing green-friendly policies to practice. We’ve broken them down into three streams: Sustainability at the Studios, Sustainable Productions, and Leadership in Global Awareness.

    Background

    Foreign producers spent $2.64 billion in 2015/16 in Canada, and supported 54,900 Canadian jobs on an FTE basis. Significantly, U.S. producers were the source of over three-quarters of all Foreign Location Service (FLS) projects in Canada last year alone. Many of these productions in Canada have won prestigious environmental awards, including the Environmental Media Association’s Media Awards, the only program solely devoted to celebrating the entertainment industry’s environmental efforts; the Environmental Media Association’s Green Seal, which is a recognition program honouring progress in sustainable production. Additionally, all of our member companies are partners in the Green Production Guide, a project of the Producers Guild of America, which promotes best practices in sustainable film and television production. It is a searchable database of vendors with information about their green products, services, production experience, and location.

    We’ve laid out all of the facts of our members’ sustainable production initiatives below. If you want to see one in action, Twentieth Century Fox released an exclusive video highlighting the green production efforts of the sci-fi series The X-Files (British Columbia). The video can be viewed here.

    DISNEY

    Sustainability at the Studios

    • The Walt Disney Company’s commitment to environmental stewardship focuses on using resources wisely and protecting the planet as the Company operates and grows. In 2015, the Company decreased net emissions 34 percent from 2012. The Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank and Disney’s Grand Central Creative Campus (GC3) in Glendale achieved a 62 percent diversion rate. Disney continues to evaluate alternative recycling options to reuse sets and costumes.
    • Water conservation is an overarching goal for Disney. During 2015, Disney took a significant step to lower potable water consumption. The Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank rerouted irrigation to a reclaimed water source, as well as planted native and drought tolerant plants, reducing dependence on potable water. In addition, GC3 underwent renovations in restrooms and kitchens to use water more efficiently.
    • In support of the Paris Climate agreement, Disney signed the White House ’s American Business Act on Climate Pledge. By signing the Pledge, Disney illustrates its ongoing commitment to curbing climate change and reducing global carbon emissions.

    Sustainable Productions and Global Awareness

    • The 2014 production of Tomorrowland (British Columbia), achieved a 91% waste diversion rate from landfills by following a comprehensive zero waste initiative. This was accomplished through the following: construction materials were reused, recycled or donated, which diverted 390 tons from landfills; mandatory recycling and compost initiatives at Production and Studio levels; 420 reusable water bottles were distributed and water stations were available at craft and on set, avoiding the use of over 100,000 single-use disposable water bottles; construction set efforts to reduce wood use was included donating wood to the non-profit Restore (operated by Habitat for Humanity), with the remainder collected by Urban Wood Waste; and all generators operated on biodiesel, saving more than 2,000 gallons of diesel. Tomorrowland was also the recipient of the 2014 Harold Greenberg Fund Green Screen Award and a 2015 Environmental Media Awards Green Seal Recipient.
    • In accordance with The Walt Disney Company’s wood use guidelines, all TV productions based in Los Angeles and New York will be purchasing FSC certified meranti (lauan) plywood. Purchasing Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified lauan plywood will ensure that Disney is not contributing to issues like rainforest destruction, illegal logging and displacement of indigenous communities.
    • The Walt Disney Company, including Disney Citizenship, Disney|ABC Television Group and ESPN, and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) collaborated to expand Parks Build Community, an initiative that helps revitalize neighborhoods by restoring local parks and park programs. During Earth Month, the public can vote to select park projects in 15 communities across the country to receive $20,000 each for park improvements. A public service announcement, titled Meet Me At The Park, will also appear on all of Disney|ABC Television Group’s owned television stations, ABC affiliate stations, ABC Network, Freeform, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, ESPN, Watch apps, and on digital super signs and taxi TV in New York City. Voting will take place through April 30, 2016. Visit disney.com/beinspired to learn more.
    • On April 19, 2016, the Disney Conservation Fund (DCF), in honor of its 20th anniversary, announced a new initiative – the Reverse the Decline, Increase the Time initiative – aimed at reversing the decline of 10 threatened animals through scientific research, non-profit collaboration, community engagement, and increasing the time kids spend in nature. Supported by Disney, and guest purchases and contributions at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, DCF has proudly contributed $40 million in grants to non-profit organizations working in 115 countries.
    • 2016’s Earth Month, Disney and Recyclebank announced The Magic of Conservation, a campaign to encourage recycling behavior for kids and families through the magic of Disney storytelling and characters. The campaign features interactive content to drive engagement, and includes learning about recycling with Mickey and friends. Recyclebank leverages its Marketing-as-a-Service (MaaS) Platform utilizing data, education and incentives to encourage more than three million members to make better purchasing and disposal habits.

    TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX

    Sustainability at the Studios

    • Fox Studios increased its commitment to solar with three new solar installations. The new systems will add more than 1 MW of solar generation to the studio’s existing solar, bringing Fox’s total solar capacity to 1.405 MW. The new systems will reduce CO2 emissions by over 700 tons a year and electricity use by more than 1.5 million kWh per year.
    • In its 2015 report, the environmental organization CDP commended 21st Century Fox for the transparency and thoroughness of its corporate sustainability program, awarding the company a perfect score of 100 and ranking it among the top 10% of S&P 500 companies. 21CF was selected for the Climate Disclosure Leadership Index for the seventh consecutive year. Top scores indicate a high level of transparency in the disclosure of climate change- related information.

    Sustainable Productions and Global Awareness

    • As FOX’s iconic sci-fi series The X-Files returned to television in January 2016, the cast and creative team worked to ensure that even as the series built on its own fictional history, it also successfully built on its legacy behind the scenes, including its long-running commitment to environmental sustainability. Despite the challenge of filming across 40 individual locations in British Columbia, with each requiring elaborate set construction, lengthy transportation demands, and long shooting hours, the production managed to divert more than 81% of its total waste from landfill, recycle 100% of the aluminum and steel used in set construction, use only lauan plywood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC),replace plastic water bottles with refillable ones, avoiding the use of 45,760 plastic bottles, and recycle more than 35 tons of “dirty” EPS foam used for set construction, breaking new ground for the entire industry. Paper, batteries, CDs/DVDs, plastics, glass foam, bottles, ink cartridges, paint cans and light bulbs were all collected by Keep It Green Recycling. Additionally, scripts and memos were most often distributed digitally, but where printing was necessary, the production office used 100% FSC-certified paper products. A closer look at this production, showing the lengths everyone on set went to in order to go green, can be found here.
    • FOX’s The Simpsons received its seventh Environmental Media Award (EMA) to date at the EMA’s annual awards show recognizing film and television that increase public awareness of environmental issues. The winning episode, entitled “Opposites A-Frack,” explored the complicated issue of fracking. “Over the years, we at The Simpsons have addressed so many environmental issues,” said Yeardley Smith, who plays Lisa Simpson. “We have tackled factory farming, acid rain, light pollution, over-fishing, climate change, clear cutting old growth trees, hive collapse, and now fracking. Through it all, the EMAs have been there with tremendous support.” The winning episode was written by Valentina L. Garza and directed by Matthew Nastuk. Matt Selman, who along with Al Jean currently serves as the showrunner, accepted the award.
    • From executive producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, National Geographic Channel’s “Breakthrough” brought to life the most exciting stories from the cutting edge of science. Each of the six documentary episodes was directed by a different Hollywood star, and several episodes focused on some of the toughest challenges facing the planet, such as increasing water scarcity and the need for clean, renewable energy sources. The series drew from research materials from GE and the National Geographic Society.

    NBCUNIVERSAL

    Sustainability at the Studios

    • In September 2015, Universal Studios expanded EV charging to 42 Level 2 charging spaces in parking lots across the studio lot and are now in the top tier of studio peers. In addition to the permanent stations, the studio has 8 Level 2 mobile charging stations available upon client request for temporary installations in assigned parking spots, bringing studio lot Level 2 charging capability to 50 spaces.
    • NBCUniversal encourages sustainable best practices throughout its productions. Some of these practices include: tracking fuel use, utilities and travel data to calculate a production’s carbon footprint; educating crews on sustainable best practices; setting up clearly labeled recycling bins in high traffic areas including organics/compost collection where possible; providing washable dishes and cutlery; purchasing a minimum of 30% recycled content paper; and distributing information digitally and only printing upon request.
    • In 2015, Universal Television, the network TV production studio for NBCUniversal, nearly tripled the use of LED lighting across scripted television shows produced on the Universal Studios lot. MacTech LED, a subsidiary of NBCUniversal, was launched in 2011 and offers an innovative energy efficient solution for set lighting. Using 30-70% less energy than conventional lighting, LED lights also generate substantially less heat, which in turn reduces the power demands for on-stage air-conditioning. Live television studios were early adapters to LED lighting, the new studios for Access Hollywood, NBC4 Los Angeles, and Telemundo are equipped with 100% LED lighting. Through early engagement with the narrative productions and their creative technicians, NBCUniversal was able to accelerate the adoption of LED lighting on scripted television dramas and comedies.

    Sustainable Productions and Global Awareness

    • While filming Fifty Shades of Grey (British Columbia), the crew made great efforts to incorporate elements of the NBCUniversal Sustainable Production Program into several facets of the production. An extensive waste reduction plan was implemented on set and in the production offices, which included the recovery of recyclables and food waste. The used cooking oil from crew catering was captured and picked up by West Coast Reduction to be recycled into further useful products like biodiesel. FSC-certified plywood was sourced by the Construction Department to build set walls. The Forest Stewardship Council’s third-party certification not only ensures that lumber is sourced from responsibly managed forests, but also helps to protect local communities and their surrounding environment. Through working with Union Gospel Mission, an urban relief organization, the Props department donated over fifteen boxes of canned and non-perishable food items to help aid their robust community programs. Fifty Shades of Grey was also the recipient of a 2014 Environmental Media Association Green Seal Award.
    • Universal Pictures 2015 box office hits implemented a variety of practices to reduce their impact on the environment. Jurassic World achieved a 50% reduction in paper use when compared to a similar sized tentpole production. Fifty Shades of Grey (British Columbia) built their sets with FSC certified lumber and faux walls made from recycled content material. At wrap, the sets were stored to be reused on the sequels. When filming in Atlanta, Furious 7 utilized LED set lighting and tied into the electric grid in place of generators, avoiding the use of over 16,500 gallons of fossil fuel. Both shot in NYC, Trainwreck used B20 biodiesel in base camp and set generators, and Sisters engaged the crew to be creative with sustainability practices by hosting contests like the “Green Crew Challenge.” Straight Outta Compton, filmed in the Los Angeles area, donated 2,571 lbs. of excess food from crew catering, the equivalent of 1,936 meals, to local organizations.
    • Seven years ago, NBCUniversal productions began making a concerted effort to donate excess food to those in need. In 2015, 33 NBCUniversal film and television productions in six cities across North America participated. In addition, in mid-2014 the Universal Studios lot started donating food from its newly renovated studio commissary. These two programs combined, resulted in over 47,400 lbs. of food, equating to more than 36,600 meals, donated in 2015.
    • Film and television production is fast-paced and transient, therefore, NBCUniversal created a simple, easy to use visual guide, illustrating the best sustainable production practices available. Built upon the detailed Green is Universal Sustainable Production Guide, the infographics inspire productions to strive to implement as many best practices as possible. Used with over 60 productions produced under Universal Pictures, Focus Features, Universal Television and Universal Cable Productions each year, these infographics educate filmmakers and crewmembers on how to reduce their environmental impact through energy efficiency, water conservation, responsible waste management and sustainable sourcing of materials. The infographics can be found here.

    PARAMOUNT

    Sustainability at the Studios

    • Paramount’s new hire orientation went paper free; the electronic packets will save Paramount 25,000 pieces of paper each year.
    • Water Reduction methods implemented by various groups resulted in an 800 thousand gallon per year savings.

    Sustainable Productions and Global Awareness

    • Paramount’s Interstellar (Alberta) was a 2015 Environmental Media Award recipient. They also implemented a food recovery program that donates left over prepared food to homeless shelters (while cutting their landfill diversion rates).
    • Green LA River Clean Up: The Paramount Volunteer Crew joined in removing nearly 40,000 lbs. of trash to help restore this historic waterway.
    • Earth Hour: Paramount supported this effort by turning off non-essential lights on the lot and by encouraging employees to do the same.
    • E-Waste Collection: During two days, The Green Team collected more than 2 tons of electronic waste to be reused.
    • Dry Garden Lunchtime Seminar: Paramount’s landscape expert hosted a presentation on drought tolerant planting and rebates to save money at home.
    • Earth Day: The Green Team bought breakfast for all employees who arrived to work in anything but a single occupancy vehicle.
    • Raising Eco-Friendly Kids: Employees learned strategies for raising environmentally conscious kids at a lunch seminar by Environmental Working Group.
    • World Car Free Day: The Green Team held an electronic bicycle demo for employees to test ride models and consider incorporating an alternative mode of transportation into their lives.
    • Solar Panel/Energy Efficiency Fair: Vendors were invited to the studio to inform employees of energy efficient alternatives for their homes.
    • World Vegan Day: The Green Team held a Lunch & Learn where employees learned easy tips for vegan cooking and the benefits of eating organic.

    SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT

    Sustainability at the Studios

    • Sony Pictures Entertainment environmental initiative Sony Pictures A Greener World, aims to reduce its ecological footprint by pursuing sustainable activities and partnerships that combat climate change, preserve natural resources and protect the health and safety of our communities around the world. SPE is focused on improving its environmental sustainability throughout all stages of its business, including film and television productions, supply chain, facilities, marketing, distribution, and procurement choices.
    • Sony Pictures’ efforts contribute toward Road to Zero, Sony Corporation’s global environmental plan, which aims to achieve a zero environmental footprint throughout the lifecycle of the Company’s products and business activities by the year 2050. Please find Sony’s 2020 plan here: Green Management 2020
    • In support of the Paris Climate agreement, Sony signed the White House’s American Business Act on Climate Pledge.
    • In 2001, Sony Pictures Studio lot was certified ISO 14001, which is the environmental management standard defined by the International Organization for Standardization. The ISO 14001 standard reinforces sound environmental practices by requiring regular auditing and third-party certification. In 2015, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) was recertified as a global program, expanding certification to additional sites worldwide. It remains the first studio certified to this standard of environmental practice.
    • SPE supports its employees’ sustainable practices both at work and in the community. As part of its activities, the global Greener World Grant and Idea-to-Action programs enable employees from around the world to receive funding for their projects that help their local communities, strengthen the company, and benefit the environment. One example is the employee Green Thumb Garden Club located at the Culver City Studio Lot. A group of employees started a garden on the studio lot that grows fresh vegetables and flowers, and teaches employees gardening tips for their homes.

    Sustainable Productions and Global Awareness

    • Sony Pictures Entertainment’s commitment to sustainable business practices and a greener world extends to its feature and television production and post-production projects and facilities in British Columbia. Sony Pictures Imageworks (SPI) Vancouver headquarters features an energy-efficient living green wall and uses an energy-efficient data center with a PUE (power usage effectiveness) of 1.13.
    • Sony Picture Television’s (SPT’s) British Columbia-based productions – including television series Imaginary Mary, Timeless, and Shut Eye – use plywood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which means the lumber comes from “well-managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits.” The productions also choose waste vendors committed to sustainable waste management practices, including Mini Bins, Super Save and Keep it Green Recycling, and Shred-It. The production of Shut Eye (British Columbia) donated a cube truck full of used construction materials to Habitat for Humanity Restore in Burnaby, and five bins of dry goods and eight bins of drinks to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Timeless (British Columbia) participated in Greater Vancouver Food Bank’s REEL Thanksgiving Challenge 2016, raising money and donating food.
    • Starting in 2005 and every year since 2009, Sony Pictures Entertainment productions have been Environmental Media Association Green Seal recipients for both television and film. These have included: (2015) SPT’s The Art of More (Quebec) which sourced FSC lumber, purchased reusable water bottles for crew and avoided approximately 7800 disposables, chose green hotels when a geographical option and used fair trade and organic coffee; Columbia’s Pixels (Ontario) donated plants to the City of Toronto and R.H. McGregor Public School, planted trees for 69 shooting days, and donated items to Caledon Community Services, Arts Junction-TDSB, Habitat for Humanity, Good Shepard Refuge, and Toronto Food Bank; (2014) Columbia’s Heaven is for Real (Manitoba); (2013) Columbia’s The Smurfs 2 (Quebec) and White House Down (Quebec); (2012) Columbia’s Total Recall (Ontario).
    • Sony Pictures’ Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, and Screen Gems film labels require each of their features to complete a legacy project upon completion of a movie’s production, typically planting one tree for every day of shooting. Recently, Screen Gem’s He’s Out There (Quebec) donated to Nature-Action Quebec and Columbia’s Flatliners (Ontario) planted 100 trees care of TreeCanada.
    • As part of its ongoing commitment to raising awareness of environmental issues, Sony Pictures worked with the Rovio Animation Company and the United Nations to encourage people to take action against climate change and its impacts. As part of the International Day of Happiness celebration, Red, the animated star of Sony Pictures’ film The Angry Birds Movie, was named an Honorary Ambassador for Green by the United Nations. Sony Pictures and Rovio Animation created and promoted the supporting “Angry Birds for a Happy Planet” campaign to inspire action on the issues of sustainability. This campaign was honored with the UN Foundation’s Global Leadership Award and EMA’s 2016 inaugural Excellence in Advertising award.
    • Sony Pictures Television Networks’ global “Picture This” campaign supports efforts around the world to protect and preserve the environment. Launched in September 2015, with 45 participating networks reaching people in 177 countries and in 30 languages, “Picture This” is engaging viewers around the world. The networks are using their resources – from on-air campaigns to community events – to bring attention to the issues that are affecting their regions and collectively make a difference. Some of the topics addressed by the campaign include: recycling in Russia and Italy; eliminating plastic bag use in Asia; waste disposal in India; saving the rhino in South Africa; urban gardening in Latin America; and deforestation in Romania. The first Picture This! Festival for the Environment, a shorts competition that aims to highlight stories of hope and success in maintaining and preserving the environment, launched in July 2016. LATIDOS, a film by Lucía Martínez from Iberia, was named the winner from a group of finalists from seven different countries.

    WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT

    Sustainability at the Studios

    • Warner Bros.’ expanded recycled water program saved 25 million gallons of potable water last year, representing a 37% annual reduction and exceeding the 25% target set by the state of California and the 28% target for the City of Burbank. This was done through expanding the water conservation program by increasing recycled water use for landscape irrigation and introducing it to cooling towers for HVAC around the lot. Additionally, Warner Bros. maintains its existing conservation practices like low-flow fixtures, aerators, and irrigation controls, which continue to be installed among the studio’s facilities.
    • In its enduring efforts to invest in energy conservation technologies, Warner Bros. has recently introduced induction “house lights” to many of its sound stages. To date, 22 stages have been outfitted with this ground-breaking lighting technology, which combined conserve approximately 924,000 kilowatt hours annually. The studio has also installed 481 Wi-Fi thermostats throughout the facilities in order to more efficiently enable remote, real-time adjustments that are projected to save approximately 447,000 kilowatt hours per year. The overall savings from all of 2015’s energy conservation measures is estimated at 2.8 million kilowatt hours annually – that’s equivalent to what 400 average California homes use in one year.
    • After first introducing an electric vehicle (EV) charging program back in 2013, Warner Bros. has significantly expanded the program to now feature 40 EV charging spots around the studio lot. These level-two charging units are available to all studio employees and guests. Additionally, all of the golf carts on the Warner Bros. lot are electric, including some carts powered by solar energy.

    Sustainable Productions and Global Awareness

    • Warner Bros. Entertainment has a deep commitment to sustainable business practices such as energy conservation, green building, waste reduction and green production. On the set of “iZombie” (British Columbia), cast and crew save on plastic water bottles by using refillable Thermos water bottles rather than using thousands of plastic bottles. “iZombie” has a partnership with local business Keep it Green Recycling to ensure more recycling of basic materials like paper, plastic, metal, glass and Styrofoam, as well as more difficult items such as ink/toner, CDs/DVDs, bulbs, batteries and pens. The cast and crew use the “Compost Transfer” system when on location – catering collects all compost from lunch and craft service, transport then brings it back to the studio to their industrial size compost bin. With this system in place, six yards of food waste is typically diverted each month from the landfill. Catering has also been using compostable plates, bowls, cups and coffee cups to reduce plastics on set. In the “iZombie” production office, employees use environmentally friendly cleaning products from Greenworks. Paper towels used with these products can be composted, which limits dangerous chemical waste in landfills. Paper towels in the office bathrooms are made from recycled paper and are composted as well.
    • Warner Bros. TV crews in British Columbia manage their green production process by nominating a ‘Green Lead’ to spearhead efforts for their show, setting goals with department heads and partnering with local vendors to integrate more sustainable products and services. Examples of current green production practices by the 10 shows filming in British Columbia include: extensive recycling of paper, cardboard, plastics, glass, metals, toner and ink cartridges, media, batteries, Styrofoam and electronics; composting organic waste and purchasing compostable products; purchasing sustainable products like FSC certified lumber and recycled paper; avoiding or eliminating individual use of plastic water bottles on set; innovating with energy efficient technologies, like LED set lighting; digitally distributing documents and dailies; reusing set pieces, set dressing and costumes; and enforcing strict no-idling policies for production vehicles.
    • Warner Bros. film and television productions continue to implement green production practices such as recycling, reuse, composting, LED set lighting, biodiesel fueling (B20), and food and material donations to the communities where they film. While on location in Boston, New Line Cinema’s upcoming action-comedy “Central Intelligence” donated leftover catered food from 50 of their 60 shooting days, providing meals to six different area organizations. The production crew also collected food waste for composting on 57 of their shooting days, diverting 11 tons of organic waste from the landfill and recycling an additional nine tons of leftover materials. Additionally, a “no disposable water bottle” policy was maintained on set, and upon wrapping production, the crew donated surplus clothing and property to local organizations in need.
    • Through its long-running Encore Material Donation Program, first established more than 20 years ago in 1995, Warner Bros.’ Studio Facilities division and numerous film and television productions collectively donated more than 12,000 meals of leftover catered food to community partners across multiple cities. The studio’s combined efforts also resulted in donations of more than 8,000 articles of clothing and hundreds of pieces of furniture, flooring, electronics, and equipment among such communities. In Burbank and Los Angeles, eight Toyota Prius vehicles from Warner Bros.’ former courier fleet were also tuned up and donated to several local community partners in 2015.