Products and Packaging
NBCUniversal’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions and lessen our environmental footprint focuses on all parts our business, including the physical products we produce. Our company is working to make supplies purchased for our offices and internal operations more eco-friendly and also to include more eco-offerings in our retail stores. These are either products made of more sustainable materials (which we call Eco-Impact) or products like reusable water bottles and bags that help promote more environmentally sensitive lifestyles (we call these Eco-Easy).
Our Universal Studios Home Entertainment (USHE) division has been active in this effort. In 2007 USHE conducted a carbon footprint analysis of our single-disc products. This helped us identify the areas of our supply chain that have the biggest impact on CO2 emissions and the environment. As a result, many of our products have been redesigned to use more material made from recycled content and less material overall.
We’re proud of the progress toward sustainability we’ve made with our products and packaging. Here are some highlights:
• Universal Studios Home Entertainment switched to a DVD case with 20% less plastic than standard cases. Approximately 74 million DVDs were packaged in these cases in 2009, reducing CO2 emission levels by 1.8 million pounds. Today, nearly all of our DVD cases distributed by USHE and Universal Pictures International Entertainment use this environmentally conscious packaging. Our paper product inserts are also made from recycled and compostable materials.
• Syfy’s Eureka seasons 1, 2 and 3 DVD sets are packaged using trays made from used water bottles. Each tray saves 1.25–1.5 water bottles from landfills. And paperboard material is made from 100% recycled stock, with 55% from post-consumer waste (PCW) and 45% from postindustrial waste. Paper packaging is made from 100% recycled materials and is compostable.
• Since June 2009 all USHE lithos and inserts and have been printed using paper that contains 10–15% less material, resulting in a reduction of CO2 emissions by 4400 lbs per 1 million printed units. The new paper stock consists of 10% post-consumer waste fibers and is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). To date over 130 million lithos have been printed on this lighter stock.
• In September 2009 USHE transitioned all paperboard materials from 18pt to 16pt board. We expect annual CO2 reductions of 4400 lbs per 1 million printed units, in line with emission reductions from the lighter-weight litho stock. To date, we’ve printed 16 million units on this lighter-weight stock.
• More than 10 million O-cards, slipcases, digi-packs and boxes have been printed on recycled-stock paperboard. Most recycled board used contains 40% post-consumer waste stock.
• All USHE point-of-purchase corrugate displays are manufactured with 75% post-consumer waste recycled content material, and most are printed with environmentally friendly, water-soluble inks.
• As part of the DEG Green Packaging task force, USHE helped create a Green Packaging Toolkit, which ranked the different types of sustainable packaging available to the home entertainment packaged goods industry.
• In 2009 USHE transitioned to 100% EPA SmartWay-certified carriers for transportation of product to customers. All EPA SmartWay carriers provide significant, measurable air quality or greenhouse gas improvements while maintaining or improving current levels of other emissions or pollutants. Our freight provider has agreed to limit their carrier network to SmartWay carriers only, with no cost or quality impact to USHE.
• Our Amazon Milk Run program is a multi-studio consolidated customer-pickup effort to maximize transportation efficiency, minimize transportation carbon footprint and shorten lead time for our customers. We also use Milk Runs for weekly catalog orders.
• We’ve implemented a “pool point” bulk-load consolidation program for half-cube deliveries to Walmart stores. This has reduced the need for less-than-truckload freight for these types of shipments.
• We’ve increased minimum order quantities for replenishment orders, which reduces their per unit transportation carbon footprint.