Green Is Universal

NBCUniversal is making a commitment to sustainability across the entire company. Its Green Is Universal initiative is focused on bringing an environmental perspective to everything it does, from informing and entertaining audiences to driving more sustainable practices into its own operations. As one of the world’s largest media and entertainment companies, NBCUniversal wants 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.

Sustainability at NBCUniversal

With more than 50 on air, online and mobile platforms reaching over 120 million consumers each month, NBCUniversal can harness the power of these communications and experiential platforms to help audiences learn about the environment and ways they can live greener. The Green Is Universal initiative translates NBCUniversal’s environmental commitment into action. It identifies ways to "walk the talk" and integrate sustainability across its span of businesses, in front of the camera as well as behind it. Whether identifying opportunities for energy savings and innovation in production and distribution, educating consumers via environmentally themed programming on its airwaves, reducing the carbon footprint of its DVDs and other products, or activating and engaging its workforce, NBCUniversal is hard at work mobilizing its assets to protect the planet. 

Programming

With a diverse portfolio that includes news, entertainment, sports and lifestyle brands, environmental programming takes on many shades of green throughout the year. To celebrate Earth Week, NBCUniversal dedicates programming across all of its brands to inform and educate audiences about the environment. 

TV Production

Both behind the scenes and in front of the camera, NBCUniversal is integrating sustainability into its TV productions. The work it does on air to promote awareness about the environment is highly visible. But what audiences might not realize is that their favorite shows are also working hard behind the camera to green their own production practices. The Universal Television (UTV) division along with Universal Cable Productions (UCP) has implemented a comprehensive set of green best practices. Here are some highlights of these sustainable practices, along with other green initiatives from across NBCUniversal’s television operations: 

  • The development of a green Television Production Guide for UTV and UCP shows to share information, resources and best practices among departments to achieve more sustainable productions.

  • The establishment of green committees specific to each show for UTV and UCP productions. The teams work on incorporating opportunities to help lessen waste, water and energy impact.

  • The use of reusable water bottles and water-filtration units on productions wherever practicable.

  • The re-use of set materials within shows and between shows when possible.

Film Production

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 its environmental footprint. Universal Pictures and Focus Features developed a detailed green Film 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. The  Green Production Guide provides NBCUniversal's film division with additional green resources.

Theme Parks

Whether through conservation, recycling, education or designing theme park attractions, Universal Orlando Resort is minimizing its impact on the environment. It has more than 2,300 recycling bins and in 2011 recycled 255 tons of plastic and glass bottles, 23 tons of aluminum cans, 1,188 tons of cardboard, 745 tons of yard waste and 3,300 wood pallets. It also saved approximately 491,000 kWh of electricity as a result of increased energy-conservation efforts, including more efficient lighting, such as new LED fixtures inside the "E.T. Adventure" attraction at Universal Studios Florida, and a new, more efficient air compressor to power special effects for "The Cat in the Hat" attraction at Islands of Adventure. "The Simpsons Ride" also conserves energy by incorporating an "on demand" hydraulic power system. Total energy savings across the entire resort during 2011 was enough to power approximately 40 average-sized homes in the Orlando area for an entire year. Universal Orlando Resort uses cleaner-burning biodiesel fuel in all its mobile diesel equipment and water taxis, as well as environmentally friendly horticultural practices, such as supplementing nutrients in potting soil with coffee grounds. All three Loews Hotels at Universal Orlando Resort are certified members of the Florida Green Lodging program. Similar sustainability efforts are under way at Universal Studios Hollywood, where more than 400 tons of plastic bottles were recycled in 2011 and 93 percent of waste was diverted from local landfills. 

Products and Packaging

NBCUniversal’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and lessening the company’s environmental footprint focuses on all parts of its business, including the physical products it produces. The company is working to make supplies purchased for its offices and internal operations more eco-friendly and also to include more eco-offerings in its retail stores. These products are either made of more sustainable materials (which it calls Eco-Impact) or products, like reusable water bottles and bags, which help promote a more environmentally sensitive lifestyle (it calls these Eco-Easy). 

The Universal Studios Home Entertainment (USHE) division has been active in this effort. In 2007 USHE conducted a carbon footprint analysis of its single-disc products, which helped identify the areas in the division’s supply chain that have the biggest impact on CO2 emissions and the environment. As a result, many of USHE’s products have been redesigned to use more material made from recycled content and less material overall. 

Facilities

The buildings where employees work every day offer great opportunities to make operations more sustainable, and NBCUniversal is committed to that effort. The company works to reduce the footprint of its facilities by identifying ways to save energy and water, improve efficiencies, reduce waste and implement innovative design elements — all to lessen the collective impact of its workplaces on the environment. 

NBCUniversal’s data center refurbishing project "virtualized" 60 percent of the center’s physical servers and shut down 2,000 physical machines. The new center uses cold containment aisles and a fiber topology that replaced 300,000 feet of copper cable, as well as power-metering sensors. In total, the company retired and recycled 47 tons of hardware and cut power consumption by 11 percent. As a result, NBCUniversal achieved the No. 5 ranking in Computer World’s Green IT Awards. 

Employee Engagement

NBCUniversal has a deep commitment to bettering the environment, and this commitment starts in its own workplace. Its employees know that to improve their communities and the world around us, they must begin by understanding the impact their business has on the environment, and then contribute their expertise to reduce that impact. NBCUniversal strongly believes that sustainable solutions can be found within its own workforce. It is committed to educating employees about environmental sustainability, engaging their talents to lessen the business’s footprint and formally recognizing employees for their contributions toward those goals. Through active engagements both domestically and internationally, NBCUniversal employees are moving the company in a more sustainable direction. 

NBCUniversal recognizes employees from around the world who are driving innovation and smarter business practices through more sustainable operations. In 2011, 31 Eco Awards were given to individual employees and teams for driving measurable sustainability advances in their core business. Winning initiatives included the use of LED lighting, innovative studio design and water conservation.

Consumer Engagement

In 2007, for the first time, NBCUniversal launched an initiative that brought together all of its resources behind a single, global cause. Today, Green Is Universal works throughout the year to inform, entertain and engage the company’s consumers around environmental issues. NBCUniversal reaches millions of consumers with the message that even small changes can have a big impact.