5 Sustainable Initiatives in Entertainment

This blog is written by Matt Artigues, Vectorworks entertainment industry specialist.

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Matt Artigues 2023 Headshot

In my 10-plus years in the industry, I’ve found that great design and sustainability can go hand-in-hand. I’ve also found that — if you take a look around — you can learn a ton about putting on green productions.

From my work on various-sized tours, theaters, and arenas to my work with corporations putting on big conferences, I’m constantly looking to see what I can learn from other production companies, resources, designers, and more on how we can be greener.

In this post, you’ll learn about five initiatives that I find inspirational and helpful when designing for a more sustainable future.

1. Sustainable Production Forum

The first green program we’ll highlight is the Sustainable Production Forum, “the world’s leading global hybrid conference focused on accelerating sustainability in the motion picture industry.”

The Forum offers annual conferences, work groups, and even a “Green Marketplace” where you can browse sustainable vendors and suppliers to use on your next project!

Netflix, Telefilm Canada, Creative BC, and more are all partners of the Sustainable Production Forum.

2. Live Nation Environmental Sustainability Charter

Another leader in the entertainment industry’s green efforts is Live Nation. The world’s leading live entertainment company realizes how concerts and other shows can “uplift, inspire, and create a memory that lasts a lifetime.”

With their Sustainability Charter, Live Nation aims to do the following:

  • Reduce scope 1 and scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030.
  • Operate with certified energy efficiency standards and 100% renewable energy.
  • Establish zero waste to landfills and achieve a 50% material recovery in offices, venues, and events by 2030.
  • Eliminate the use of single-use plastics in place of reusable, renewable, certified compostable, or at least 30% recycled materials.
  • Explore reusing grey water.
  • Minimize the amount of food that goes to waste and use available composting systems.
  • And more!

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3. Breda Barst Music Festival

Taking place in the Netherlands, the Breda Barst music festival is the perfect example of an event that puts environmental responsibility front and center.

The festival, according to Urban Innovative Actions (UIA), organizes its efforts around four pillars: emissions, recycling, caterers, and transportation.

The festival’s technical manager, Remco Teunissen, is a Vectorworks Spotlight expert, and, as he told UIA, he uses the software to be “pragmatic” about the planning of the event.

On many occasions, people say: ‘Well, we have to go carbon neutral, we want to go green, we must be sustainable . . . ‘; but most of the time, there is a lot of ‘green washing’ behind that. In our case, we had discussions and ideas on this, but carefully looking at the site where the event takes place, how the different stages are placed within the park . . .” he said. 

Teunissen also told UIA about one of the festival’s main environmental considerations: transitioning away from diesel generators in favor of more efficient electric generators.

The transition has posed challenges and conversations of its own, of course. Teunissen has continued to be a vocal supporter of moving away from diesel generators, even if it means using smaller generators when your production doesn’t have access to a fixed grid power supply point to charge batteries. 

Such growing pains and dialogues are an essential part of moving forward, says Teunissen. “An event in some form or other will always be non-sustainable, and an impact to the local or global environment will always be there. To change the long-time thinking of "this is how we have always done this, then, in that case, a push is sometimes needed."

4. Green Production Guide

If you want to put on green productions of your own, you can look to the Green Production Guide to help with tools such as a carbon footprint calculator, best-practice infographics, and an index of green resource vendors.

Per the organization’s website: “The Green Production Guide (GPG) is the premier industry online toolkit designed to reduce the film, television, and streaming industry’s carbon footprint and environmental impact . . . The site features a worldwide database of vendors that provide sustainable goods and services for film, television, and streaming production.”

The GPG is partners with Amazon Studios, FOX, Paramount, Warner Bros. Discovery, and more.

5. Disney Productions

The final company we’ll discuss in this post is one of the biggest in the world, The Walt Disney Company.

Disney has won awards from the EMA for both their environmental storylines as well as their production processes.

They’ve reduced greenhouse emissions by maximizing LED lighting on set and in facilities to reduce electricity. They’ve also worked to reduce waste by reusing or donating set materials and protect biodiversity by using Forest Stewardship Council-certified plywood.

Click here to learn more about Disney production’s sustainable production practices.

Tips for Designing Sustainable Live Events with Vectorworks Spotlight

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Alongside sustainable programs, Vectorworks’ suite of entertainment products provides you with the tools to put on green events of your own.

In “5 Tips for More Sustainable Live Events,” you’ll learn how things like modular design elements and gear weight considerations can help you and your team put on green shows easier than ever before. 

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Topics: Entertainment


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