NYC Film Green, the first-of-its-kind environmental sustainability designation program for the City’s burgeoning production industry, found to reduce waste, decrease carbon footprint of participating shows in pilot phase. All episodic television shows and movies filming in New York City are now eligible to enroll and shoot for the NYC Film Green mark of distinction.
Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin announced results of the pilot phase of NYC Film Green, the nation’s first government program encouraging and recognizing sustainable practices in the entertainment industry. Three television productions in New York participated in the six-month trial period of the groundbreaking environmental initiative – Sesame Street, Divorce, (both on HBO) and Madam Secretary (on CBS) – meaningfully reducing their environmental impact. The results include 94,520 fewer single-use plastic water bottles used, 48 trees saved through use of recycled paper, over 7500 meals and over 80 pounds of set dressing and props donated and 1,238 tons of waste diverted from landfills.
Commissioner Menin announced these findings, in addition to launching enrollment for the full NYC Film Green program, at Silvercup Studios in Long Island City, alongside newly-converted recycler Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street, Eric Stoltz and Erich Bergen from Madam Secretary, and Michael Stricks, co-executive producer of HBO’s Divorce.
"New York City’s production industry is busier than ever, and we are committed to helping it be as environmentally friendly as possible," said Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin. "NYC Film Green is an important step, as television and film productions can make small changes that add up to a positive impact on our city and our planet. I thank all three of the productions that participated in the pilot cycle of the program, and look forward to more incredible results as the program grows."
New York City’s production industry is booming, with a record 56 productions filming in the five boroughs during the 2016-17 alone. Along with the economic benefits of the recent explosive growth in the industry, including jobs and increased revenue for many of the city’s small businesses, comes an enhanced responsibility to the City’s communities. Today’s announcement comes on the heels of a new commitment from the de Blasio Administration to pursue the principles and goals set forth in the Paris Agreement, following news of the federal government’s intention to withdraw from the international accord. These goals include reducing the City’s greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050; a directive for city agencies to develop further greenhouse gas reduction plans and actions; and a commitment to acting locally and globally to meet the United States’ 2016 pledge under the Paris Agreement.
"In 2014, New York City set an ambitious goal and became the largest city in the world to commit to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050," said Mark Chambers, Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. "Now, delivering on that goal is more important than ever to address climate change. The NYC Film Green program creates a unique and meaningful pathway for the thriving and far reaching film and television industry to champion sustainable climate action. I applaud Commissioner Menin, her team, and the participating productions for being leaders in their industry and for helping make the City greener and healthier."
"Our film and entertainment industry is such an important part of the City’s public image, and I’m proud that New York City’s production companies have stepped up to help us achieve our Zero Waste goals," said NYC Department of Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. "The Department of Sanitation is excited to support the launch of NYC Film Green."
NYC Film Green was established to create a pathway for productions in New York to become recognized green leaders. The voluntary program is open to any production shooting for at least one day in New York City, and participation is free of charge. In order to receive the NYC Film Green mark of distinction, productions must meet a set of "core" requirements. They must also meet five or more "elective" requirements, which allow flexibility in implementing sustainability measures. Among other requirements, each production seeking the NYC Film Green mark will be required to divert over 30% of their waste output, preventing thousands of tons of garbage from entering landfills.
"The Producers Guild of America applauds the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment for being a leader in this ground-breaking initiative," said Mari Jo Winkler, Chair of PGA Green. "NYC Film Green rewards best practices and carbon calculation, which are at the heart of many of the recommendations put forth in the PGA’s Green Production Guide. We are thrilled to contribute and support this city program, as it has the potential to affect real change in creating a sustainable future for New York and our industry."
"Producers have the power to go green. There is no reason not to anymore," said Lori McCreary, President of the Producers Guild of America and Executive Producer of the CBS hit show Madam Secretary. "On Madam Secretary, we used the PGA’s Green Production Guide, a resource guide detailing the financial and environmental benefits of sustainable production. The ‘NYC Film Green’ designation adds an additional incentive for cast and crew to take pride in our efforts."
"Divorce is excited to partner with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment’s NYC Film Green’s pilot program," said Michael Stricks, Co-Executive Producer, Divorce. "HBO was looking to establish some energy-saving, sustainable practices on our productions and through HBO’s Community Impact Program we were able place an "Eco Production Assistant" on the set of Divorce to implement environmental sustainability one step at a time."
"As we have seen the film industry grow on Staten Island, it’s important to take steps toward sustainability. It’s also reassuring for productions to understand that these are small, attainable steps that make a big difference. I applaud Commissioner Menin on the pilot program and look forward to the expansion of NYC Film Green," said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo.
The program has received tremendous enthusiasm from the industry. Already, Paramount TV’s Maniac, the studio’s first production in New York, has committed to go green, making it the first television series to enroll in NYC Film Green after the pilot phase.
Some projected benefits that widespread enrollment in NYC Film Green offer include: Each production enrolled in NYC Film Green could donate up to 4,500 meals to New Yorkers in need over the course of its run. Ten episodic TV shows enrolled in NYC Film Green could mean 365,000 fewer single-use plastic water bottles used, saving each production close to $20,000 in the cost of water bottles alone. Ten episodic TV shows enrolled in NYC Film Green could save close to 200 trees by using recycled paper. Successful completion of the program entitles the finished film or show to display the official NYC Film Green mark of distinction on marketing and promotional materials and in end credits.
NYC Film Green is the result of robust engagement with film industry stakeholders, including advisory support from Producers Guild of America’s Green Committee and input from the City’s soundstage owners, industry unions and guilds, waste management experts and network and studio executives. NYC Film Green is administered by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, and was created with support from the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and the City’s Department of Sanitation. Its launch coincides with increased awareness of environmental challenges and a growing interest in eco-friendly practices nationwide. With its dual goals of sustainability and economic development, NYC Film Green ties in to OneNYC, the de Blasio Administration’s citywide initiative for growth, sustainability, resiliency and equity.
The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment encompasses the key economic and creative sectors of film, TV, theater, music, advertising, publishing, digital content and real estate as it relates to these industries. In total, these sectors account for over 305,000 jobs, and an economic output of $104 billion. The office promotes New York City as a thriving center of creativity, issuing permits for productions filming on public property, and facilitating production throughout the five boroughs. It also oversees NYC Media, the largest municipal broadcasting entity in the country including five TV Stations and a radio station with a reach of 18 million households in a 50-mile radius.