Greening Hollywood: Sony’s Sustainable Culture


Sony Pictures Studios believes in creating a culture on their Culver City campus. For CEO Michael Lynton and Co-Chairman Amy Pascal this includes a culture of environmental responsibility and sustainable stewardship, according to Jon Corcoran, VP, Corporate Safety and Environmental Affairs and John Rego, Director, Environmental Sustainability for the movie studio.

During a recent tour of the facilities, they each pointed out that education and employee awareness were key to behavior changes when it comes to environmental stewardship. This philosophy is in keeping with the Japanese tradition of creating an employee culture, a loyalty that reaches beyond the standard employee-employer structure, and one that gives and takes both ways. [Pictured: John Rego, Sony Studios; Paige Donner, Greening Hollywood; and Jon Corcoran, Sony Studios; photo by Ann Burkart]

Case in point: On June 29th, as part of Sony Studios “Links Green Series” they hosted a lunch time “Residential Solar and Hybrid Car Program,” presentation. This is an incentive program, offered through the studio, that gives employees a check for up to $5000 when they either buy a hybrid electric vehicle or install solar voltaic panels on their residence. This incentive “payback” is above and beyond the State and Federal tax incentives. Believe me, I asked. Don’t everyone blast your resume off to Sony Pictures Entertainment now!

Sony Studios LEED Building due to open Octover

[Pictured: New LEED building being built at Sony Picture Studios, Culver City; photo by Paige Donner]

Keeping on the topic of “culture through education” on this recent Summer afternoon, after enjoying a healthy Mahi Mahi Lunch Special offered by on-site caterer Wolfgang Puck as part of the daily $5.99 “healthy alternative special” (delicious, of course, it’s Puck, after all!) designed to promote physical (human) energy and productivity, we strolled past an outdoor “composting with worms” workshop. All the chairs assembled underneath the tree, approximately 40, were filled by employees seeking to learn more about how to compost – at home! – on this weekday afternoon. It seems we’re all eager to learn how to do what we know we need to be doing. The savvy companies are willing to give us nudges in the right direction.

Composting is actually a popular subject these days at Sony Pictures Studios. On June 8th the movie studio became the first partner in an organic waste program piloted by Culver City. This partnership alone stands to reduce waste by up to 1,000 tons per year. This re-purposed waste, now compost material, will be sold to local farms. It keeps the studio on track towards its goal of becoming a zero-waste facility.

Lunch time composting class, Sony Picture Studios.

[Pictured: Lunch time composting class on Sony Studio Lot; photo by Paige Donner]

Other things they’re doing: they’re building two LEED certified buildings for their TV production facilities that incorporates significant usage of daylight. These will be opened in October. They re-purpose set pieces and also have a re-purposing program set up with Habitat for Humanity. They’re swapping out the 400 Watt lights for T5 fluorescents which also have an “instant on,” and motion sensors which allow for half a sound stage to be lit when only half is in use. This decreases energy consumption by half.

Backyard Composting on Sony Lot, Culver City

Their Paul Blart: Mall Cop DVD release is particularly exciting for Sony’s Sustainability execs and environmentalists alike because it featured their new eco-friendly ultralight DVD case. Even NRDC is on board with this one, “This is a valuable step in the right direction and should encourage all DVD manufacturers to take action against global warming, to protect intact forests and conserve resources. NRDC supports SPHE’s initiative,” said Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, Sr. Scientist at NRDC. The Mall Cop Blu-ray disc also includes a digital copy of the film. This new packaging will use 20% less packaging than a standard weight DVD case which means a lot of material waste reduction for this $137 million box office hit. [Photo by Paige Donner]

“When we keep getting quick wins under our belt, it allows us to keep advancing our programs of sustainability,” says Corcoran. Most executives agree that
.programs with less than a two-year ROI are the easiest ones to push through.
Sony also supports the messaging through their media. Rego pointed out that not only is Roland Emmerich credited with bringing out one of the first “global warming” films – The Day After Tomorrow – several years ago but is doing it again with Sony Pictures Studio when his new film 2012 comes out in November.

One comment
  1. Linda

    Great article! I want to work for Sony. It is awesome to see yet another industry doing its part and getting involved in the whole green movement. Even banking is beginning to think of the environment, with banks like e3bank (a client of mine) offering a triple-bottom-line… incentivizing people to install eco-friendly features to their homes for better interest rates.

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