Environmentally Responsible Business Practices Drive Studio Initiatives

April 22, 2013

April 22, 2013


LOS ANGELES – In observance of Earth Day, The Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) today announced that its members collectively prevented more than 21 million tons of their studio sets and other solid waste from entering landfills last year. That amount represents a greater than 70% diversion rate of the studios’ total solid waste from landfills. These numbers are tallied yearly by the Solid Waste Task Force, a joint program of the MPAA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), that was formed more than 20 years ago as a voluntary waste reduction initiative.

“Our member studios continue to demonstrate their global commitment to reducing waste and creating environmentally sound business practices throughout their companies,” said Senator Chris Dodd, MPAA Chairman and CEO. “Daily operations at each studio reflect a commitment to environmental protection and stewardship through the creation and implementation of innovative programs such as clean business practices, utilization of alternative fuel, material donation programs, DVD package redesign to reduce carbon emissions, and electric vehicle charging stations, among many others.”

The following are some highlights of the studios’ environmentally friendly initiatives during 2012:


  •  Conservation is a key pillar of Disneynature, which is committed to making films that move audiences with its stories, educate them about the natural world and inspire them to preserve nature for future generations. Through donations tied to the opening-week attendance for CHIMPANZEE in April 2012, Disneynature, through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, helped to protect nearly 130,000 acres of wild chimpanzee habitat, educate 60,000 school children in the Congo about chimpanzee conservation and care for chimpanzees. Disneynature’s next True Life Adventure, BEARS, opens in theaters April 18, 2014, to celebrate Earth Day.
  • In 2012, the Studio Lot in Burbank underwent significant renovations, recycling construction materials whenever possible. Commissary composting programs continue to be successful at the Burbank Studio Lot and Prospect Studios, and both studios expanded efforts to recycle wood from sets and construction, resulting in a 67% diversion rate last year.
  • In 2012, The Walt Disney Studios continued its Environmental Steward program to help ensure that art and nature collide as gently as possible when production begins on a film. The steward’s job is to organize, lead, and oversee the “greening” of our productions, guiding cast and crew to environmentally friendly decisions which reduce the impact of filming on our planet. From preproduction through wrap, environmental stewards touch every part of the production. Since 2010, environmental stewards have worked on all studio productions, and have coordinated sustainability efforts that include waste diversion programs such as composting, implementing programs which reduced use of single use water bottles by distributing reusable bottles, and recycling materials such as wood, cardboard, bottles and cans, paper, and more. For example, in 2012 the Saving Mr. Banks production diverted 89% of its waste away from landfills.

Twentieth Century Fox

  •  Twentieth Century Fox completed the installation of its second solar installation, a 232kW system on the roofs of two of the Studio’s sound stages. The new system, which more than doubles Fox’s onsite solar electricity generation, joins a 160 kW system that was installed in 2011. To date, the solar panels have reduced CO2 emissions by 300 tons – the equivalent of not using nearly 32,000 gallons of gasoline. A solar power monitor developed by Fox’s IT department allows employees to get real-time updates on how much power is being generated by the solar panels as well as data on the amount of energy (and carbon) saved.
  • Fox Studios has joined hundreds of cities around the world by banning single-use plastic bags in all of its food outlets. As part of the initiative, employees were given a non-toxic, machine washable, reusable to-go bag to use at the Studio’s three restaurants. It’s estimated that the initiative will eliminate the use of 112,000 bags a year, and is one more step Fox is taking to reduce its impact on the environment, shrink its waste stream and protect marine life.
  • Fox partnered with Keep America Beautiful, a volunteer-based community action and education organization, to create a series of public service announcements for Earth Day featuring the characters from Ice Age: Continental Drift. The highly recognizable characters, including Scrat, Manny, Diego and Sid, were the perfect faces for Keep America Beautiful’s Earth Day campaign, promoting environmental acts of “N’iceness” such as recycling and reducing energy use. The public service announcements were aired on television stations nationwide throughout April.
  • Fox hosted the FOX Fall Eco-Casino party, a benefit for various eco-friendly charities, including The Nature Conservancy, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles, and Global Green USA, among others. 2012 marked the 8th consecutive year that the network has celebrated the start of their Fall season by hosting this event. FOX ensured that the event was environmentally sound by using only recyclable and reclaimed materials, LED lighting, local and organic food, and solar and biodiesel power. Local ecofriendly vendors donated raffle and casino prizing for the event and FOX talent signed a Schwinn bike that was auctioned for charity. The event was sponsored by FORD and the car company showcased its latest hybrid vehicle at the event.

NBC Universal

  • The NBCUniversal Sustainable Production program is influencing the entertainment industry at home and abroad. All six Universal Pictures and Focus Features productions produced in the United Kingdom in 2012– Fast & Furious 6, Anna Karenina, Les Misérables, Close Circuit, About Time and The World’s End – achieved a “Zero-Waste” film set, with diversion rates of over 90% on each film. On top of the recycling and composting implemented to achieve this diversion rate was an additional 250 tons of material donated for reuse. Through a new partnership with a local waste repurposing design center, items such as the distressed barricades from Les Misérables received a second life. These materials now live on in the community through activities such as art educational workshops and charity events.
  • Domestically the NBCUniversal Film and TV production Food Donation Program was taken to a new level in 2012. By expanding the partnership with NYC based non-profit Rock and Wrap it Up and beginning a relationship with LA based non-profit, The Entertainment Industry Hunger Project productions increased the amount of food donated by 400%. Across the country, productions donated over 34,000 lbs. of food – the equivalent of over 44,000 meals.
  • A subsidiary of NBCUniversal, Mac Tech LED Lighting provides high quality, production lighting equipment that draws 30% to 70% less power than conventional lighting. While using less power, the instruments also generate minimal heat enabling additional power savings on air conditioning for sound stage shoots. Launched in 2011, Mac Tech has continued to expand its product over the past year with 5 new models. The new Ladder Light instrument, designed for illuminating backings, offers an 80% power savings over traditional production lighting. Utilized by NBCUniversal and other major studios and networks, Mac Tech LED lights have been incorporated into sets for NBC’s Go On, E!’s Chelsea Lately, USA’s Covert Affairs as well Universal Pictures’ Identity Thief, RIPD and Ride Along.


  • October 15, 2012 brought the installation of new micro-turbines that reduce Paramount’s electrical consumption on its sound stages and provide 20% of the studio’s baseline energy needs. These four micro-turbines are natural gas fueled electrical generation units that reduce the studio’s dependence on imported power, which generally includes energy sources such as coal which are not eco-friendly, Gas-turbine powered generators are the cleanest combustion technology available today. The four natural gas turbine generators improve the company’s energy efficiencies resulting in cleaner, greener work operations.
  • On November 19, 2012, Paramount Studios installed Charge Point Electric Vehicle Charging Stations for the employees and visitors to our Lot. Electric vehicles emit few to zero emissions while driving on battery power and zero emissions mean cleaner air, less smog, and fewer air related health problems
  • 2012 also brought the second phase installation of Paramount Pictures Network Chilled Water Plant system, bringing central cooling to buildings and stages. Our Network Chilled Water Plant system circulates 66,000 gallons of water every hour to buildings and stages – enough cooling for 900 homes
  • In support of Heal the Bay’s “Day Without a Bag,” aimed at reducing single-use plastic bags and encouraging the use of reusable bags throughout the year, Paramount removed all disposable plastic take out bags from its Café, making only reusable bags available (for a $1 donation to Heal The Bay) This approach helped employees assess whether or not they really needed that bag, and when they did, a donation was made to Heal The Bay
  • To help raise environmental awareness, employees from around the globe were invited to create short videos showcasing their eco-friendly work-styles and life-styles in Paramount’s “Green Shorts” competition. A company-wide online vote identified employee favorites with winners announced immediately prior to Earth Day. All the Green Shorts played in a continuously loop in the Paramount Café on Earth Day.

Sony Pictures

  • Sony Pictures Studios promotes environmentally friendly efforts such as waste diversion, lighting replacement, landscape changes and new office construction to LEED Certified Gold green building standards. The studio also requires its productions to follow green practices during filming, such as planting a tree for each day of shooting and reporting carbon emissions using an industry-standard calculator.
  • Through a DVD packaging redesign, and other efforts to improve its supply chain, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment eliminated 22% of carbon emissions in DVD packaging and earned the top sustainability ranking by Wal-mart in the packaged media category. Looking ahead, the studio will encourage consumers to buy or rent films digitally, which can further reduce emissions by over 75%.
  • Through Sony Pictures Television, which manages the studio’s worldwide programming and networks, the company provides hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of air time to raise public awareness about environmental issues. With this new set of sustainability goals, Sony Pictures is growing these efforts to include on-air and online marketing to raise awareness and inspire action.
  • For employees, Sony Pictures launched two eco-incentive programs for the purchase of fuel efficient vehicles and home solar installation. To date, over 260 vehicles have been purchased and 55 employees have installed solar on their homes, saving over 200,000 gallons of gasoline and generating 563 mega-watt hours of clean energy.
  • In 2001, Sony Pictures Entertainment was certified ISO14000, which is the environmental management standard defined by the International Organization for Standardization (http://www.iso.org/iso/about.htm). The ISO 14000 reinforces sound environmental practices by requiring certified companies to have programs and procedures in place that support recycling efforts, hazardous waste management, and natural resource conservation. Sony Pictures was recertified to the updated ISO14001 standard in 2005, has maintained it each year since, and expanded certification to an additional six sites worldwide. It remains the first and only studio certified to this standard of environmental practice.

Sony Pictures Entertainment environmental goals targeted for completion in 2020 include:

  • Additional reductions in operational carbon emissions by 15%
  •  Achieving sustainable status on all film and TV productions
  • Promoting the transition from physical to digital production and distribution
  • Using the studio’s global reach to raise environmental awareness and inspire sustainable practices among employees and beyond.

Warner Bros. Entertainment

  • Warner Bros. continues to explore innovative, clean technology solutions for its business, such as energy efficient lighting. Warner Bros. Studios Set Lighting recently introduced the first 100 solid state LED space lights designed to blend seamlessly with any tungsten source. These lights offer the same 6,000 watt lumen output as conventional incandescent lights yet only draw 10 amps (which equates to a savings of 50 amps per light, or a reduction of more than 80%). Additionally, a 50,000-hour life expectancy significantly reduces labor intensity for rigging and dramatically decreasing the heat index on a sound stage. A feature production recently utilized these LED space lights and hung all 100 units. The compact cables and equipment required to power these lights cut down on rigging time by 50%, and the significantly cooler temperatures of these lights eliminated the need for air conditioning during the shoot, further reducing energy usage and also ensuring a quieter set.
  • Warner Bros. Studio Facilities first provided biodiesel (B20) to film and television productions in 2009. Since then, 20 shows have utilized this alternative fuel, and usage has increased significantly during this time. For the 2012-2013 television season, 13 shows utilized biodiesel fuel at a rate of 59%, surpassing the use of regular diesel, resulting in reduced fuel-related C02 emissions by 37 tons (equivalent to the amount of carbon sequestered annually by 28 acres of forest).
  • Warner Bros. has been contributing to the communities where it works and films since 1995 through its material donation program, Encore! Among the materials donated in 2012 from the Studio’s film and television productions were 384 bags of clothing, 224 gallons of paint, 143 boxes of books, 100 pairs of shoes, 81 computer monitors, 22 televisions, and 15 bicycles. Additionally, six productions partnered with Rock and Wrap It Up in New York City to donate 30,000 meals of prepared food to local nonprofits. During Warner Bros. Television’s “Gossip Girl” series wrap, 30 racks of men’s and women’s clothing were donated to several nonprofits, including Film Biz Recycling, who in turn redistributed materials to three different organizations (video).
  • As of late 2012, the Studio now has four LEED™-certified buildings on its Burbank lot as awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council. Warner Bros. has also installed five Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations in support of employees who drive electric vehicles.


About the Solid Waste Task Force
The Solid Waste Task Force (SWTF), comprised of the major studios and television networks, was formed in the early 1990s, following the passage of Assembly Bill 939 in 1989, to address resource conservation and reduce solid waste being sent to landfills. The SWTF member companies voluntarily implement waste diversion programs to reduce the environmental impact of solid waste, as well as assist local government in meeting the mandates of AB 939. Today, SWTF members meet regularly to collaborate on creating additional progressive environmental programs.

About the MPAA
The Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) serves as the voice and advocate of the American motion picture, home video and television industries from its offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Its members include: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; Paramount Pictures Corporation; Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.; Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; Universal City Studios LLC; and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

About the AMPTP
Since 1982, The Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers (AMPTP) has been the primary trade association with respect to labor issues in the motion picture and television industry. The AMPTP negotiates 80 industry-wide collective bargaining agreements on behalf of over 350 motion picture and television producers (member companies include studios, broadcast networks, certain cable networks and independent producers).

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For more information, contact:

MPAA Washington, D.C.
Kate Bedingfield
(202) 293-1966

*This press release was updated on April 13, 2015 to correct that the MPAA’s members collectively prevented more than 21,000 tons of their studio sets and other solid waste from entering landfills in 2012. The number was previously listed as 21 million tons.