Film Production: 2014 Releases

Filmmaking brings unique opportunities and challenges for making operations more sustainable. NBCUniversal’s film division is committed to becoming a more sustainable business by identifying and integrating innovative ways to reduce our environmental footprint. Universal Pictures and Focus Features developed a detailed Sustainable Production Guide for their casts and crews to give each department production-specific information, resources and best practices. Universal Pictures has also hired an executive to assist productions in implementing these practices and the shows utilize the for additional resources.

Read more about the eco-accomplishments from our 2014 releases:

Unbroken, December 25, 2014

© Universal Pictures

© Universal Pictures

Academy Award® winner Angelina Jolie directs and produces Unbroken, an epic drama that follows the incredible life of Olympian and war hero Louis “Louie” Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) who, along with two other crewmen, survived in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash in WWII – only to be caught by the Japanese navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp.

Filmed in the diverse landscape of Australia, a variety of sustainable production practices were implemented behind-the-scenes of Unbroken. In alignment with NBCUniversal’s Sustainable Production program, sets were designed with reuse in mind. When filming was complete on the Omori POW camp set, it was disassembled and reused for the Naoetsu POW Camp and Yokohama Port sets, thus reducing the amount of lumber and building materials purchased. Building materials acquired secondhand such as roofing, paint and lumber were utilized in the construction of the POW camp sets, breathing new life into the products.

The production implemented water conservation practices while shooting on the outdoor tank at Village Roadshow Studios in Queensland, recycling close to 1,850,000 gallons of water. Leftover lumber was donated to the annual Woodford Folk Festival located in Brisbane, keeping the precious natural resource out of a landfill while giving back to the local community. Remaining plants used to decorate sets were donated to the Fort Lytton National Park and Sydney Harbour Trust.

The Theory of Everything, November 7, 2014

© Focus Features

© Focus Features

The extraordinary story of one of the world’s greatest living minds, the renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who falls deeply in love with fellow Cambridge student Jane Wilde. Once a healthy, active young man, Hawking received an earth-shattering diagnosis at 21. With Jane fighting tirelessly by his side, Stephen embarks on his most ambitious scientific work.

While creating this story for the silver screen, the crew on The Theory of Everything also worked actively behind the scenes to reduce their overall impact on the environment. The lumber purchased for set construction carried the Forest Stewardship Council certification, which ensures that it came from responsibly managed forests. Several water refilling stations were set up throughout sound stages and on location to reduce dependency on single-use plastic bottles. Items like canned and unopened non-perishable food were donated when filming wrapped, to local charities and food banks; and a robust recycling and compost program was always at the ready for cast and crew. In addition, the Assistant Directors included a “Green Fact of the Day” on the daily call sheets to engage the entire production.

The Theory of Everything was a recipient of a 2014 Green Seal Award, recognizing the production’s efforts in successfully implementing sustainable production practices.

 Dracula Untold, October 10, 2014

© Universal Pictures

© Universal Pictures

Filmed in Northern Ireland, the production crew on Dracula Untold made a great effort to reduce their impact on the environment. During production, a comprehensive recycling plan was implemented throughout the filming locations. Dracula Untold’s impressive sets were built with sustainably certified lumber and previously used wood materials. In wrap, set materials were donated to a youth club, community projects and to another local production for reuse. Plants, trees and leftover costume fabrics were given to local schools. Valuable home goods were donated to a homeless shelter. These efforts, and more, resulted in Dracula Untold achieving a 2014 EMA Green Seal Award.

Get On Up, August 1, 2014

© Universal Pictures

© Universal Pictures

In his follow-up to the four-time Academy Award®-nominated blockbuster The Help, Tate Taylor directs 42’s Chadwick Boseman as James Brown in Get On Up. Based on the incredible life story of the Godfather of Soul, the production made several efforts to reduce their total environmental impact. The construction department worked to reuse materials and source domestic, sustainable woods when possible. To divert leftover catering from ending up in landfills, the production partnered with The Stewpot, a local non-profit organization, and donated food. In addition, extra set materials were given to a local theater. These practices and more were communicated to the crew through detailed “Green Memos.” The memos listed the green practices in place, offered additional suggestions and resources, and motivated the crew to do their part for the Get On Up green initiative.

Ride Along, January 17, 2014

Ride Along

© Universal Pictures

While filming the action-comedy Ride Along, the production took steps to minimize its impact on the environment. To reduce plastic waste, crew refilled reusable bottles, saving thousands of individual plastic water bottles throughout the course of production. Catering sourced local and organic food and encouraged the use of washable dishes over disposables. The construction department used a 100% recycled content paper material to create faux bricks and cinderblocks, replacing commonly used petroleum-based products. Upon wrap, they donated lumber and paint to Habitat for Humanity. Finally, to contribute to the community in which they filmed, Ride Along sponsored the planting of 35 trees in Atlanta, Georgia: One tree for each shoot day.

Endless Love, February 14, 2014

Endless Love

© Universal Pictures

Sustainable practices could be found throughout the production of the romantic drama Endless Love. The set lighting department used MacTech LEDs, which uses up to 70% less energy than conventional set lighting. The construction department reduced their need for natural resources by obtaining used building materials. After filming, sets were donated for reuse on another film and remaining paint was donated to local schools. At least half of the clothing for costumes was previously used, and the department utilized an environmentally responsible drycleaner. Throughout production, crew were given “Green Memos” that listed the sustainable practices in place, offered additional suggestions and resources, and encouraged the crew to participate in Endless Love’s green initiative.

2013 Releases

2012 Releases

2011 Releases

2010 Releases

The Green Production Guide features an interactive searchable database of environmentally-sensitive products and services, listed by state in the U.S. and select international locations. The Guide also features best practices and tools like the Carbon Calculator to help producers determine their production’s carbon footprint on a comprehensive level.

You can help grow the Green Production Guide by adding your favorite green vendors. Suggest a vendor here and we’ll contact them to get listed. Or point your production’s green steward here to register for an account to add vendors.

Film Production
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Sustainability @ NBCUniversal

NBCUniversal is making a commitment to sustainability across the entire company. Our Green is Universal initiative is focused on bringing an environmental perspective to everything we do, informing and entertaining our audiences while driving more sustainable practices into our own operations. As one of the world’s largest media and entertainment companies, we want to participate in and help lead one of the most important dialogues of our time—and build a stronger business and a more sustainable world in the process.

Our Green is Universal initiative translates our environmental commitment into action. It identifies ways to integrate sustainability across our businesses, in front of the camera as well as behind it. Whether identifying opportunities for energy savings and innovation in production and distribution, educating our consumers via environmentally themed programming on our airwaves, reducing the carbon footprint of our products, or activating and engaging our workforce, NBCUniversal is hard at work mobilizing our assets to protect the planet.

About NBCUniversal

NBCUniversal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks, and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. With more than 40 TV, digital and out-of-home platforms reaching over 100 million consumers each month, NBCUniversal can harness the power of these communications and experiential platforms to help our audiences learn about the environment and the ways they can live greener.


Sustainable Filmmaking: Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey, September 20, 2019

The worldwide phenomenon Downton Abbey, becomes a grand motion picture event, as the beloved Crawleys and their intrepid staff prepare for the most important moment of their lives. A royal visit from the King and Queen of England will unleash scandal, romance and intrigue that will leave the future of Downton hanging in the balance. Written by series creator Julian Fellowes and starring the original cast. 

While filming in the UK, the Downton Abbey production team implemented sustainable production practices to reduce their environmental impact. Offices included recycling and composting, plumbed in water coolers, glasses, crockery and cutlery, with no disposable food service products available for office use.  Paperwork such as call sheets, scripts, and production documentation were delivered electronically, with hard copies only issued on request. White office paper was made from 100% recycled content. 

Downton Abbey successfully reduced the amount of new materials used throughout filming. Carnival Films had stored sets from six seasons of Downton Abbey and the production was able to re-use and/or re-purpose most of them, which let to very minimal new set builds. The production issued reusable water bottles to crew upon request, and added a daily reminder on the call sheet for crew to bring them, leading to the elimination of plastic water bottles on set. The sound department used rechargeable batteries throughout production to reduce the need for disposables.

At wrap, the costume department donated $800 worth of fabric and materials to the Wimbledon College of Arts. Storage boxes and hangers were donated to Sewn Right and Freddie’s Flowers, and set decoration donated produce to The Hounslow Urban Farm to be used for animal feed. These practices and more led to Downton Abbey receiving a 2019 EMA Green Seal.

NBCUniversal Awarded Green Seals at 29th Annual Environmental Media Awards

Sustainable Filmmaking: Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw


Sustainable Production: Us, March 22, 2019

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