Both behind the scenes and in front of the camera, NBCUniversal is integrating sustainability into our TV productions. The work we do to promote awareness about the environment on-air is highly visible. But what our audiences might not realize is that their favorite shows are also working hard behind the camera to green their own production practices.
NBCUniversal developed a Sustainable Production Program which empowers our Universal Television (UTV) and Universal Cable Productions (UCP) divisions to find ways to reduce environmental impact based on their unique operations.
At the foundation of our Sustainable Production Program are easy to use infographics which illustrate sustainable production best practices. These practices span across all production operations and equip filmmakers and crewmembers with the tools to take action and reduce their environmental impact. To view the infographics and learn more about our sustainability program, click here.
Here’s a closer look at some of the ways production crews are integrating sustainable best practices into their everyday work:
Produced in Los Angeles, CA
America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty”) and Ben Feldman (“Mad Men,” “A to Z”) star on the hilarious workplace comedy Superstore about a unique family of employees at Cloud 9, a supersized megastore. Superstore centers around Amy (Ferrera), the store’s most stalwart employee as well as the glue holding the place together, and newly hired Jonah (Feldman), a dreamer determined to prove work doesn’t have to be boring. Their fellow associates include the sardonic Garrett (Colton Dunn, “Key & Peele”), the ambitious Mateo (Nico Santos, “Mulaney”) and the sweet teenager, Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom, “Shameless”). Overseeing the store is Glenn (Mark McKinney, “The Kids in the Hall”), the store’s affable, clueless store manager, and Dina (Lauren Ash, “Super Fun Night”), the aggressive assistant manager who enforces Cloud 9 policy with an iron fist.
After receiving an EMA Green Seal for their sustainable production practices on Season 1, the Season 2 Superstore production team has continued efforts to reduce their environmental impact. The lighting department integrated energy-efficient Mactech LED lights throughout the sets, making up a significant percentage of the production’s lighting package. The construction department used FSC-Certified Meranti plywood to build their elaborate set walls, which ensures that the Meranti lumber is harvested responsibly and sustainably.
The Superstore set dressing department incorporated green messaging on screen by placing recycling bins in the store underneath a large sign that reads “CLOUD 9 CARES ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT.” Their department has also continuously donated large amounts of produce and snacks from set dressing to the non-profit Food Finders, which helps to feed those in need throughout the Los Angeles area. Between their donations and left over catering, this season of Superstore so far has donated over 2,270 lbs. of food, equaling over 1,892 meals for the hungry.
Mr. Robot, USA
Produced in New York, NY
Photo by: Peter Kramer/USA Network
Mr. Robot follows Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek), a young cyber-security engineer who becomes involved in the underground hacker group fsociety, after being recruited by their mysterious leader (Christian Slater). Following the events of fsociety’s five/nine hack on multi-national company Evil Corp, the second season will explore the consequences of that attack as well as the illusion of control. The series also stars Portia Doubleday (“Her”), Carly Chaikin (“Suburgatory”), Martin Wallström (“Simple Simon”), Grace Gummer (“The Newsroom”), Michael Cristofer (“Ray Donovan”) and Stephanie Corneliussen (“Legends of Tomorrow”).
Mr. Robot was awarded an EMA Green Seal for their sustainable production practices on season one and continued to take steps to reduce their environmental impact in season two. To cut energy and carbon emissions, a blend of B20 biodiesel was used to fuel the generators and some trucks. On set, the Lighting Department utilized energy-efficient LED lighting, reducing the energy demand on stage.
In an effort to minimize waste, recycling and composting was set up throughout the stages. This season the composting program was expanded to on location filming as well. The catering department continued its food donation program with Rock and Wrap It Up! This practice not only helps to reduce food waste, but it also gives back to the local community by feeding those who are food insecure throughout the greater New York City area. Diverting food waste from landfills through food donations and composting helps to reduce the amount of methane gas, a harmful greenhouse gas, from being released into the atmosphere.
Shades of Blue, NBC
Produced in New York, NY
Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC
Harlee Santos (Jennifer Lopez) is a charismatic single mother and resourceful detective at the heart of a tight-knit crew of Brooklyn detectives, led by enigmatic Lt. Matt Wozniak (Ray Liotta) who often steps outside the limitations of the law in order to effectively protect their precinct and their own. As a big illegal job looms on the horizon, the FBI catches Harlee in the act and pits her against her own unit. As newly turned informant, Harlee struggles to safeguard her work “family” and avoid arrest in order to stay with her daughter as she engages in a perilous dance with the FBI. Meanwhile, Wozniak, acting as the unit’s patriarch, begins an all-consuming hunt for the informant.
While filming in New York, the crew worked to incorporate sustainable production practices into daily operations. To help reduce the production’s dependency on conventional diesel, the Transportation Department sourced a B20 blend of biodiesel from Tri-State Biodiesel for use in the basecamp generator and several trucks. The Construction Department built set walls using FSC-Certified Meranti plywood from LeNoble Lumber. FSC certification ensures that the Meranti lumber is harvested responsibly and sustainably. The office crew actively recycled and composted their excess food waste through Kaufman Astoria’s recycling and composting program.
Shades of Blue has incorporated LED set lighting, both on stage and when shooting on location. The energy-efficient technology of LEDs also helps to reduce the energy demand required by the production. The caterers worked with the non-profit Rock and Wrap It Up! to donate leftover set catering. These donations not only helped reduce excess food waste, but also fed the food insecure community of New York City.
Produced in Toronto, Ontario
Photo by: Shane Mahood/USA Network
On USA’s hit legal drama Suits, the crew is working behind the scenes to ensure they are doing all that they can to reduce their overall environmental impact. These practices include a comprehensive waste diversion plan, which is implemented and observed throughout the offices and on all sets, where as many items as possible are recycled or composted. But before hitting the compost bin, leftover edible food from catering is donated to Second Harvest Toronto who distributes it to local nonprofit organizations to feed those in need. In Season 4, over 2,700 meals were recovered for the hungry. In 2014, Suits was recognized with an EMA Green Seal Award honoring its outstanding sustainable production practices.
Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce, Bravo
Produced in Vancouver, BC
Photo by: Katie Yu/Bravo
Behind the scenes of Bravo’s first scripted series, Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce, the crew makes concerted efforts to lessen its environmental impact through the guidance of the NBCUniversal Sustainable Production Program. Recycling and compost bins are set up throughout the production offices, stages and when shooting on location. This important practice recovers recyclables that can be transformed into new material, and prevents organic waste from entering landfills where it can release methane, a potent greenhouse gas. On set, single-use water bottles are kept to a minimum through the use of bulk water dispensers, creating an environment where crew can easily refill reusable water bottles. In addition, the crew of Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce works diligently to invest in the surrounding Vancouver community through the donation of surplus props and wardrobe to local nonprofit organizations.
Produced in Portland, OR
Grimm is a drama series inspired by the classic Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tales. After Portland homicide detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) discovers he’s descended from an elite line of criminal profilers known as “Grimms,” he increasingly finds his responsibilities as a detective at odds with his new responsibilities as a Grimm.
The unique look and feel of Grimm’s sets can be partially attributed to sourcing reclaimed lumber from Aurora Mills, a local architectural salvage. By doing this, the demand for virgin lumber is reduced and a second life is given to lumber from old barns and buildings. The catering department sources produce from local farmer’s markets to serve at crew meals, and production trucks are fueled with B20 biodiesel when possible. From comprehensive composting and recycling to eliminating bottled water, the crew of Grimm implements sustainable production practices day in and day out.
Grimm received the EMA Green Seal Award for seasons 1-4, which honors their progress in sustainable production practices. In addition, Grimm was also the recipient of a Travel Portland Green Award during their 1st season.