Reducing Entertainment Industry Emissions
Did you know the entertainment industry significantly contributes to the world’s largest footprint? Entertainment industry emissions are not something we typically hear talked about, but that doesn’t mean things aren’t happening behind the scenes. Studies have found that big-budget feature films have a carbon footprint of over 3000 metric tons each. That equals more than 7 million miles driven by a regular car. Small films have been found to have a carbon footprint of nearly 400 metric tons, which is the equivalent of about 1 million miles driven.
Entertainment industry emissions are attributed to housing, air travel, fuel and utilities. For all sizes of films, the biggest contributor to emissions was the fuel used for vehicles and generators. The same goes for TV series as well. A one-hour scripted drama measured 77 metric tons of CO2 emissions per episode, and half-hour shows had a carbon footprint of 26 metric tons.
There are a number of ways that the industry can reduce its emissions, including:
- Reducing energy use: The entertainment industry consumes a lot of energy, from producing films and TV shows to transporting equipment and people. The industry can reduce energy consumption by using more energy-efficient technologies, such as LED lighting and other energy-efficient appliances.
- Using sustainable materials: The entertainment industry uses many materials, from paper and plastic to wood and metal. The industry can reduce its environmental impact by using more sustainable materials, such as recycled materials and materials produced from renewable resources.
- Offsetting emissions: The entertainment industry can offset emissions by investing in projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as planting trees or investing in renewable energy projects.
Companies such as Netflix and Disney are working to reduce fuel use emissions across the entertainment industry. The two companies have teamed up with Third Derivative (D3), a climate tech company that rapidly finds, funds and scales climate tech globally. D3’s innovative ecosystem includes corporate partners, investor partners (across five continents) and over 100 startups addressing climate challenges across all major emissions sectors, and now they are focussed on entertainment industry emissions.
D3 recently launched the Clean Mobile Power Initiative, which aims to identify and deliver cost-competitive zero-emissions mobile power at scale to reduce entertainment industry emissions. One main problem they wish to solve is to develop alternatives to diesel generators which account for over 700 000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually from the entertainment industry. They are looking for clean power-generating technologies, including battery energy storage systems, hydrogen power units and hybridized systems.
Netflix and Disney are funding the 18-month-long program and will be involved in selecting and working with the Clean Mobile Power Initiative participants to test the approaches. Some of the technologies considered by this initiative include energy storage devices that can be powered on-site with renewables or recharged with electricity from a zero-emissions grid.
Netflix announced plans to cut its entertainment industry emissions by half (which were approximately 1.5 million metric tons in 2021) by 2030. The company’s transition plan includes identifying cost-effective efficiency solutions in studios and offices, electrifying their vehicles, and using clean mobile power and renewable electricity.
Disney plans to reduce absolute emissions from direct operations by 46.2% by 2030. They also plan to purchase or produce 100% zero-carbon electricity by 2030. These goals will help reduce entertainment industry emissions across their amusement parks, cruise lines, and general operations. Within their film and TV productions, the company is focused on reducing waste, switching to low-emission energy sources and educating their casts and crews about environmental best practices.
These initiatives will help reduce the carbon intensity of production and help reach the 2030 carbon emissions reduction targets. The collaboration among big industry names like Netflix and Disney might encourage other companies within the entertainment industry to follow suit.