Smarter Business: Greening Advisor
Successful business greening initiatives
In 2004, the owners of the Philadelphia Eagles football team approached the Natural Resources Defense Council for help in improving the environmental profile of their team’s stadium, training facilities, and offices. NRDC worked with the Eagles’ consultants, staff and vendors to implement a number of improvements:
- Twenty-five percent of the team’s energy is now supplied by renewable sources such as wind.
- The team uses less-polluting cleaning and maintenance products.
- The team has increased its use of recycled content, processed chlorine-free paper in its offices and publications.
- Cooking fat is being recycled for conversion to biodiesel.
- The stadium scoreboard is now powered by solar energy panels.
Through these initiatives, the Eagles avoided the emission of more than 65 tons of greenhouse gases and 2 billion BTUs of dirty energy generation. They saved some 90 tons of wood, equivalent to more than 100,000 trees, many of which would have been harvested from eagle habitat. The Eagles were able to accomplish all of this at almost no additional cost to their organization.
The Academy Awards
The 79th Annual Academy Awards, in 2007, was the first major awards show to incorporate environmentally intelligent considerations into all aspects of its planning and implementation. The Academy Awards is much more than just one famous night of television. Rather, it is a multi-event affair in which satellite celebrations and ceremonies take place throughout the month leading up to the Oscar telecast.
To implement this ambitious effort, the producers of the Oscars assigned a point person on their team to coordinate the greening of all the events surrounding the Academy Awards. This person worked closely with NRDC and the producers and technicians of each event to help determine potential environmentally preferable alternatives to current practices, locate suppliers of environmentally preferable products and services, and keep track of all efforts and initiatives. This approach yielded meaningful benefits, including the following:
- Carbon emissions were offset for the Oscar telecast, the pre-show red carpet event, and the Governor’s Ball, by investments into renewable wind and solar energy projects.
- During the Academy Awards, former Vice President Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio made an on-air announcement about global warming and the carbon-neutral telecast, alerting hundreds of millions of people around the world to the importance of environmental issues.
- The Green Room backstage at the Oscars incorporated a number of environment-friendly features, including reusable dishes and silverware, less-toxic paints and adhesives, carpets made from 100 percent postconsumer recycled plastic, and furniture made from wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
- A comprehensive recycling program collected plastics, glass, metals, and paper.
- Several events offered organic food options.
These initiatives are only a small sample from the many great successes at the 79th Annual Academy Awards. See NRDC’s full list [pdf] of Oscar successes for more details.
Warner Music Group
Warner Music Group has been a pioneer of environmentally preferable business practices in the music industry. Warner has been working with NRDC for several years, initially approaching the organization for advice about improving the environmental profile of its CD inserts. As a result, Warner Music Group worked with its printer, Ivy Hill, to switch to paper containing 30 percent postconsumer recycled content (with remaining fiber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council) for all standard CD and DVD packaging.
The company has also implemented a number of environmental improvements in its day-to-day business operations. These improvements include an ongoing effort to reduce office paper use and increase wastepaper recycling by making double-sided printing the default setting on its printers, centralizing print jobs and reducing the number of printers, and clearly labeling recycling bins, among other steps. Warner has also begun a program to track its greenhouse gas emissions in an attempt to reduce its carbon footprint, and in 2007 the company sponsored a carbon-neutral party following the Grammy Awards.