Universal Pictures and Focus Features are committed to reducing the environmental impact from filmmaking activities. To assist in this effort, NBCUniversal developed a Sustainable Production Program which empowers our film divisions to integrate sustainable best practices across their productions.
At the foundation of the 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 impact. To view the infographics and learn more about our sustainability program, click here.
Read on for examples of how our film crews have integrated environmental action into their everyday work:
Fifty Shades Darker, February 10, 2017
© Universal Pictures
Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson return as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades Darker, the second chapter based on the worldwide bestselling “Fifty Shades” phenomenon. Expanding upon events set in motion in 2015’s blockbuster film that grossed more than $560 million globally, Fifty Shades Darker is directed by James Foley (Fear, House of Cards) and once again produced by Michael De Luca, Dana Brunetti and Marcus Viscidi, alongside E L James, the creator of the culture-spanning blockbuster series. The screenplay is by Niall Leonard, based on the novel by James.
Shot primarily in Vancouver, BC, the production took steps to reduce their overall environmental impact. Fifty Shades Darker and its sequel, Fifty Shades Freed, were shot consecutively which helped the production combine and reuse materials. Crew reduced and often eliminated single plastic water bottle use, which prevented the use of more than 80,000 individual plastic water bottles. A comprehensive recycling and composting program was implemented throughout the offices and on set, with a dedicated Sustainability PA on hand to ensure that the recycling program was set up and successful at each location. This resulted in an estimated 75% diversion rate of set waste.
The production was able to reuse sets from their first film, Fifty Shades of Grey, and new sets were built with FSC certified plywood. Additionally, the construction department worked with the local sustainability service company, Green Spark Group, to donate construction materials and sets that did not need to be kept. Non-profit recipients included Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Great Northern Way Scene Shop, MakerLabs, and Squamish Arts Council. Fifty Shades Darker is a recipient of a 2016 EMA Green Seal Award.
Almost Christmas, November 11, 2016
A new comedy from writer/director David E. Talbert (Baggage Claim) and producer Will Packer (Ride Along, Think Like a Man series, This Christmas), Almost Christmas tells the festive story of a beloved patriarch who asks his family for one gift this holiday season: to get along. If they can honor that wish and spend five days under the same roof without killing one another, it will be a Christmas miracle.
Filmed in Atlanta, GA, Almost Christmas made an effort to reduce its carbon footprint. For the majority of shooting, the production tied directly into the electric grid both on location and at their basecamp, replacing generator use. This effort avoided an estimated 3,220 gallons of fuel and resulted in a net savings of 28.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of driving a car more than 68,000 miles.
The production also looked for opportunities to give back to the community. Crews donated nearly 500 lbs. of excess food to SafeHouse Outreach of Atlanta, and at the end of production donated plywood and dimensional lumber to Life Cycle Building Center. Almost Christmas is a recipient of a 2016 EMA Green Seal Award.
Bridget Jones’s Baby, September 16, 2016
Oscar® winners Renée Zellweger and Colin Firth are joined by Patrick Dempsey for the next chapter of the world’s favorite singleton in Bridget Jones’s Baby. Directed by Sharon Maguire (Bridget Jones’s Diary), the new film in the beloved comedy series based on creator Helen Fielding’s heroine finds Bridget unexpectedly expecting.
The crew of Bridget Jones’s Baby implemented a variety of sustainable practices which reduced the film’s environmental impact while filming in the UK. From the beginning, the production was committed to reducing disposable plastics and avoiding the use of individual plastic water bottles. They were incredibly successful, reducing their water bottle use by over 75%, compared to similar sized productions. This was achieved by providing crew with reusable bottles, offering water filters in offices, and supplying water dispensers on set.
Upon wrap, the production donated a variety of props, clothing, and set decorations to non-profits in the local community. Baby items were donated to the Winnicott Foundation, an organization that improves care for premature infants. Clothing and home goods from set were given to CALAID, which provides aid to refugees, and Shelter, a non-profit that assists people experiencing homelessness. Packaged food used for props was donated to Brent Food Bank. Construction materials were also donated to be re-purposed for other events and furniture fabrication.
In addition to reducing disposables and donating materials to minimize waste, recycling and composting bins were set up in the production office. 100% of waste generated by the Construction and Props Departments was diverted through a combination of recycling and waste-to-energy.
Jason Bourne, July 29, 2016
Matt Damon returns to his most iconic role in Jason Bourne. Paul Greengrass, the director of The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, once again joins Damon for the next chapter of the Universal Pictures franchise, which finds the CIA’s most lethal former operative drawn out of the shadows.
The filming of Jason Bourne took place around the globe, and crew remained dedicated to taking environmental action in each city. While filming on the island of Tenerife, organics were collected and composted, preventing harmful methane gas from being released in the atmosphere.
In Las Vegas, fuel consumption for generators was reduced by tying into the electric grid. Lighting incorporated energy-saving LEDs in hotel and airport scenes. Before it was torn down, scenes were shot in the Riviera Casino, which prevented new materials from being used to construct stunt sets. Furthermore, crew supported the existing sustainability policies at the working hotels in which filming took place.
In the UK, the construction department’s innovative use of a CNC milling machine provided more accurate cutting which reduced scrap waste from plywood. 100% recycled paper was purchased for all offices. The costume department donated background clothing to The Upper Room and Traid, both UK-based organizations dedicated to alleviating poverty.
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, June 3, 2016
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is headlined by musical digital-shorts superstars Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, collectively known as The Lonely Island. The comedy goes behind the scenes as singer/rapper Conner4Real (Samberg) faces a crisis of popularity after his sophomore album flops, leaving his fans, sycophants and rivals all wondering what to do when he’s no longer the dopest star of all.
Filmed in Los Angeles, Popstar implemented multiple practices that reduced its carbon footprint. Through the elimination of single room trailers and by replacing tractor trailers with less fuel-intensive 10-ton trucks, the film used significantly less fuel than a similar sized production. The transportation department used B20 biodiesel in generators at the Long Beach Convention Center and reduced generators by tying into the electric grid while shooting the concert scenes at The Forum.
Construction built sets with FSC-certified plywood, and many sets were donated for reuse at the end of the film. Crew recycled on set and composted food waste while shooting at The Forum. With the help of Rock and Wrap It Up!, Catering donated excess food to local organizations throughout the Los Angeles area, amounting to nearly 1,700 meals.
Popstar was the first production to implement the EP SmartStart system which digitally on-boards crew members and helps reduce paper use. These practices helped Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping earn a 2015 EMA Green Seal, recognizing progress in sustainable production practices.
The Huntsman: Winter’s War, April 22, 2016
Discover the story that came before Snow White in The Huntsman: Winter’s War. Chris Hemsworth and Oscar® winner Charlize Theron return to their roles from Snow White and the Huntsman, joined by Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain. Producer Joe Roth (Maleficent, Alice in Wonderland) once again leads the team in this breathtaking prequel in the legendary saga that is directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan.
In front of the camera, the construction department used reclaimed lumber to create the look and feel for some of the sets. The lighting department incorporated LEDs into set lighting, which use up to 70% less energy than standard film set lights.
Behind the scenes, 96% of waste was diverted from landfill. This was achieved through implementing a comprehensive recycling and composting program throughout the offices and stages. In the production offices, scripts and schedules were printed on 100% recycled content paper, and through digital distribution and print reduction methods, the show used 40% less paper than a production of a similar size. The Huntsman: Winter’s War received an EMA Green Seal, which recognizes a production’s commitment to implementing sustainable practices.
The Boss, April 8, 2016
Academy Award®-nominated star Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids, The Heat, Tammy, Spy) headlines The Boss as a titan of industry who is sent to prison after she’s caught for insider trading. When she emerges ready to rebrand herself as America’s latest sweetheart, not everyone she screwed over is so quick to forgive and forget.
Filmed in Atlanta, Georgia, the crew on The Boss worked to implement the NBCUniversal Sustainable Production Program. Wherever possible the Construction department incorporated previously used materials into set builds. Reusable water bottles were distributed to the crew and water refilling stations were available on-set, preventing more than 38,000 individual plastic water bottles from being used. This waste-saving measure was even implemented on their largest filming day at the Gwinnet Center, where hundreds of background actors had access to water refilling stations hidden from the camera in each section.
Throughout the production, Catering sourced recycled content paper products that use less natural resources and help support the recycling market. Finally, 590 pounds of excess food, equating to 450 meals, was donated to City of Refuge. These practices and more earned The Boss an EMA Green Seal, recognizing efforts in sustainable production practices.
Ride Along 2, January 15, 2016
Kevin Hart and Ice Cube lead the returning lineup of Ride Along 2, the sequel to the blockbuster action-comedy that gave us the year’s most popular comedy duo. They are joined in the film by Ride Along co-stars Bruce McGill and Tika Sumpter, as well as those new to the series, including Ken Jeong, Benjamin Bratt and Olivia Munn.
Behind the scenes, the crew worked to keep the NBCUniversal sustainability program in mind throughout production. While building the sets, the construction department made use of sustainable building materials such as pulp art, a wall skin made from 100% recycled paper. During filming in Atlanta, the crew donated leftover catering to Atlanta’s Table, a non-profit working to redistribute food to those in need all throughout the city. This not only fed the local population experiencing food insecurity, but also reduced the amount of food waste sent to landfill by the production. When it came to printing, the production office sourced a tree-free paper, called Treefrog Paper, and reduced the need to print by instituting a print on-demand policy for all crew.
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.