TV Production

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:

Superstore, NBC
Produced in Los Angeles, CA

Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC

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

Peter Kramer/USA Network

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
Produced in New York, NY

SHADES OF BLUE -- Episode 101 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jennifer Lopez as Detective Harlee Santos, Dayo Okeniyi as Michael Loman -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank)

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.

Suits, USA
Produced in Toronto, Ontario

Suits - Season 4

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

Girlfriends' Guide To Divorce - Season 1

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.

Grimm, NBC
Produced in Portland, OR

Grimm - Season 4


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.

Film Production
Theme Parks
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: Last Christmas

Last Christmas, November 8, 2019

Emilia Clarke (HBO’s Game of Thrones), Henry Golding (A Simple Favor, Crazy Rich Asians), Michelle Yeoh and Emma Thompson star for director Paul Feig (A Simple Favor, Spy, Bridesmaids) in Last Christmas, a romantic comedy inspired by a George Michael beat, from a screenplay by Academy Award® winner Thompson (Sense and Sensibility, Bridget Jones’s Baby) and playwright Bryony Kimmings.

Kate (Emilia Clarke) harumphs around London, a bundle of bad decisions accompanied by the jangle of bells on her shoes, another irritating consequence from her job as an elf in a year-round Christmas shop. Tom (Henry Golding) seems too good to be true when he walks into her life and starts to see through so many of Kate’s barriers. As London transforms into the most wonderful time of the year, nothing should work for these two. But sometimes, you gotta let the snow fall where it may, you gotta listen to your heart … and you gotta have faith.

While filming in London, the Last Christmas cast and crew took their sustainability efforts to the next level. They set a goal from the beginning to be as plastic-free as possible. They distributed thermal cups to everyone on set, which could be used for cold water on warm days, or hot tea on cold nights. Offices included recycling and composting, plumbed in water coolers, glasses, crockery and cutlery.  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. Green tips and facts were put onto call sheets to educate and inspire crew.

There were many efforts to reduce the carbon emissions on the production. They used over 60% LED set lighting which uses significantly less energy than standard set lights. In lieu of trailers, the production rented hotel rooms while filming in the London City Center. Cast also made efforts to carpool rather than taking individual vehicles to set. When unit drivers were waiting for their next trip, they were given a warm place indoors to avoid vehicle idling. And when heating their stages, they used renewable diesel made from 100% used cooking oil.

The Last Christmas team also gave back to the local community. They donated over 1,800 lbs of excess food from catering and set decoration to City Harvest London, equaling approximately 1,500 meals fed to those in need. Props, Set Dec, and Wardrobe donated over $11,000 worth of items such as toys, clothing, drums, and furniture to organizations including Suited & Booted, Smart Works, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, First Days, The Children’s Society, Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy, and Smile for a Child. There was also a voluntary cast and crew clothing and toiletry drive, with items being donated to Whitechapel Mission and the Helen Bamber Foundation. These practices and more led to Last Christmas receiving a 2019 EMA Green Seal.

Sustainable Filmmaking: Last Christmas

Sustainable Filmmaking: Harriet

Sustainable Filmmaking: Downton Abbey

NBCUniversal Awarded Green Seals at 29th Annual Environmental Media Awards

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