NBC Turns Green Talk Into Action

Nov 9, 2008  •  Post A Comment

With its third Green Week, NBC is not just talking about being green on its shows—its shows are being produced in a more environmentally conscious way.
As part of NBC Universal’s Green Is Universal initiative, steps are being taken to change the way “Lipstick Jungle,” “NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams” and “Saturday Night Live” are produced in order to reduce their carbon footprints. Those steps range from recycling catering material to changing lighting and reducing paper use.
A number of NBC prime-time shows, including “Kath & Kim,” “Lipstick Jungle,” “Life,” “My Own Worst Enemy” and “Knight Rider,” will integrate environmental messages into their plot lines during Green Week, which starts Nov. 16.
Subaru will be lead sponsor of Green Week on NBC. The automaker has worked with actors from the cast of “Heroes” to create vignettes that highlight Subaru’s and NBC’s commitment to sustainability. Other advertisers also will have green messages for the week.
“The sponsorship and advertising market was really receptive to Green Week this year,” said Beth Colleton, vice president of Green, at NBC Universal.
NBC said it couldn’t say its green revenue and the cost savings from sustainability efforts were greater than the costs of greening its operations.
NBC will be launching a new public service campaign using the slogan “Green Your Routine.” The campaign asks viewers to take small steps—walking to work, taking shorter showers, shopping with reusable bags—to contribute to helping the environment.
The company is launching a line of eco-friendly products, such as “Today” shopping bags and “Heroes” T-shirts, that will be available online and at the NBC Experience Store in New York. Items are shipped in eco-friendly packaging, NBC said.
As in the past, all of the NBC Universal channel logos and Web sites will turn green as part of Green Week, in which 42 NBC Universal networks, Web sites and other brands will run more than 150 hours of green-themed programming. They include the Weather Channel, recently acquired by NBC Universal, which will be offering hourly green tips—a feature that might continue after Green Week is over.
NBC Universal believes that being green is good business.
“NBC has invested substantial dollars to make this work,” Ms. Colleton said. “Greening productions doesn’t just happen, and it requires cost outlays. But we as an organization really feel like it’s worth it, and it is part of our brand identity and something we want to be known for, caring about the environment and the communities in which we operate.”
With its Green Week, NBC Universal is one of the more visible of Hollywood companies both sending environmental messages and taking steps to clean up their own acts, according to Zahava Stroud, president of iHollywood Forum, which will be running its second Hollywood Goes Green conference in Los Angeles Dec. 8-9.
“There is a real genuine interest to use the power and influence of Hollywood to promote social change,” Ms. Stroud said. “They are initiating recycling policies; there are initiatives to reduce reliance on plastic [water] bottles.” One network plans to shift to hybrid and electric cars over the next two years.
The investment pays off in the long run, she said.
“Going sustainable leads toward greater profitability, and I think that’s something the studios understand,” Ms. Stroud said. “While there may be an initial cost in implementing new measures, ultimately they’ll reduce costs and save money.”


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