Hollywood rolls out the green carpet
The entertainment industry is doing more to make productions and events ecofriendly.
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“Hollywood is taking great effort to go green,” says Zahava Stroud, president and cofounder of iHollywood Forum, which organized an environmental conference this month for networks and movie producers. The impetus, he adds, is “coming from the top CEOs down.”Skip to next paragraph
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Ninety-five percent of the new green practices are not noticed by viewers and audiences, says Allen Hershkowitz, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and ecological adviser to ABC, Sony, Warner, Capitol Records, and others. “The reduced ecological impact happens at the raw material acquisition stage and in processing, refining and transportation stages,” he says.
What may have an impact, however, is when announcers mention the activities on camera – such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Al Gore did at the 79th Oscar telecast in 2007.
“Hollywood is among the most culturally influential institutions on the planet so the impact is twofold,” says Mr. Hershkowitz. “One [impact] is the amount of energy and waste saved, the other is the message it sends to consumers and other industries.”
Key individuals have made a difference in the Hollywood greening movement. Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson broke new ground when he used videoconferencing while filming the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy in New Zealand. It enabled him to remain in a central location while filming all three installments simultaneously. By plugging off-location cameras into the conference system, Jackson could make changes in lighting and camera angles from afar, saving air-travel emissions.
Hurdles remain for Hollywood’s new green agenda. Besides habit, there are technical and economic challenges, not to mention unfamiliarity with new products, materials, and processes.
But more and more studios have assigned “green gurus” known as EVPs or VP of environment, says Meredith Bergmann, spokeswoman for Green Media Solutions, a company that brings together environmental experts and production consultants.
What is helping drive each new advance is the realization that money can be saved, she says.
“If you reduce the number of cases of bottled water bought, reduce the number of locations, use less gas by renting hybrid vehicles, reduce the ... charter flights, you will save money,” says Ms. Bergmann. “It is getting more attention now that we see how costly – both economically and healthwise – neglecting the environment can become.”