Leaders in Sustainable TV Production

environmental sustainability

Today the world celebrates Earth Day, but more importantly, people around the globe come together to bring important environmental issues to the forefront and to advocate for more sustainable practices in how people live and work. The cable industry collectively takes great measures to ensure that its businesses minimize their carbon footprints and utilize energy efficient methods in their operations. Just like cable broadband providers, TV networks have their own divisions that focus on finding ways to lessen the impact their productions, operations, and facilities have on the environment and to promote greater environmental responsibility. 

From forming alliances to partnering with companies and nonprofits dedicated to climate change to setting carbon reduction goals to exploring new standards for sustainability progress, cable TV networks are proving to be leaders in sustainable production. 

A few of the key best practices in sustainability that are actively supported include:

  • the use of energy efficient set lighting
  • investing in LED technology
  • renting solar-powered trailers and fuel-efficient vehicles
  • extensive reuse and donation programs (such as for production assets like set walls, props, and wardrobe)
  • sustainable purchasing of plywood and recycled content paper
  • waste reduction and recycling programs to phase out single-use plastics on set

Green Partnerships

Disney, Fox Corporation, NBCUniversal, Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery are active members of the Sustainable Production Alliance, a consortium of film, television and streaming companies dedicated to sustainability initiatives. These networks all collaborate with peers to accelerate the adoption of these practices in the film and TV industry. They have also each won accolades for their work in advancing sustainability initiatives in media, with a number of their productions receiving EMA Green Seals from the Environmental Media Association over the past several years. 

One important green resource in the industry, the Green Production Guide, was developed by the Sustainable Production Alliance, in conjunction with the PGA (Producers Guild of America) Green Committee, and by film leaders with environmental expertise. The Green Production Guide offers tools, resources, and vendors for TV networks and production studios that aim to reduce the environmental impact of creative productions. 

Carbon Reduction Commitments

Cable programmers, just like cable ISPs, are also working towards carbon reductions between 2030 and 2035. These goals involve three scopes: direct emissions from sources owned or controlled by a company, indirect emissions from purchased electricity, steam, heat, and cooling, and all other emissions associated with a company's activities.

Warner Bros. Discovery (even prior to the merger) has prioritized offsetting its emissions, and pledged to minimize its carbon footprint and overall environmental impact. In 2021, the company set new goals to achieve net zero by 2030 with 100% renewable energy. To make this possible, Discovery became a member of RE100, a global initiative that brings togethers hundreds of large and influential businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity. The company has also pursued LEED & WELL certifications for its buildings, installed car charging stations in select offices, and implemented composting programs in select offices.

Disney has also committed to being carbon neutral by 2030, using guidance from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Likewise, Paramount committed to setting a net zero target goal as defined by the Science Based Targets initiative, a partnership that promotes best practices in emissions reductions and net zero targets in line with climate science. And in early 2021, Paramount signed the United Nations Sports for Climate Action Declaration, committing them to a set of ambitious actions to promote greater environmental responsibility and advocacy for climate action to viewers. 

Cable TV networks are dedicated to not only curbing the impact that their businesses have on the planet, but to sharing and advancing best practices for protecting the environment so that other industries, companies, and consumers can become stewards as well. 

Happy Earth Day, and be sure to check back soon for more stories on sustainability practices within the cable industry.