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Oscar Goes Green

Academy Awards show organizers offset emissions and reduce environmental impact


The backdrop of the stage with the Oscar Award is seen onstage during the 84th Academy Awards
Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
In 2007, the annual Academy Awards ceremony turned green for the first time.

Not only did An Inconvenient Truth, a documentary film about global warming, win two Oscars, but the telecast itself was designed to be carbon-neutral and environmentally friendly.

Led by producer Laura Ziskin, and with the help of the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), show organizers took several steps to neutralize the environmental impact of the 79th Academy Awards.

Academy Awards Organizers Offset Carbon Emissions
To start, the Academy purchased renewable energy credits from the nonprofit Bonneville Environmental Foundation to offset approximately 250,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions associated with the Oscar telecast, the Governor’s Ball, the Road to the Oscars Pre-Show, and the Red Carpet Event.

The 250,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions offset by the Academy Awards this year is equivalent to the emissions created by driving a car approximately 255,000 miles (more than 10 times around the Earth) or by generating the electricity needed to power 16 average U.S. homes annually.

"There is no longer any serious debate about the human contribution to global warming," said Allen Hershkowitz, senior scientist at the NRDC, who coordinated the greening of this year’s Academy Awards. "Now it's time to take action. The Academy's purchase of Green Tags for Oscar-related events increases public awareness of the opportunity to reduce the environmental impacts of our energy usage, particularly with respect to carbon dioxide, the leading source of global warming pollution."

Academy Awards Show Takes Key Steps to Reduce Environmental Impact
Other green initiatives for the Academy Awards telecast included:

  • An energy audit of the Kodak Theatre, which led to an energy-efficiency plan and recommendations for upgrades to the theater.
  • Hybrid vehicle transportation for presenters and staff.
  • A comprehensive recycling system for event waste. For example, crew meals and craft services included reusable materials and accessories, post-consumer tissue products, and biodegradable dishware.
  • High-quality eco-friendly paper for many event materials, such as nomination ballots, envelopes, press packets, programs, invitations, and certificates.
Academy Awards Boasts Green Menu
The menu for the Governors' Ball featured organic and environmentally friendly food, with leftovers donated to Angel Harvest, a nonprofit organization that delivers perishable food to emergency feeding programs throughout Los Angeles.

"We hope viewers will come away with an understanding that environmental change can be achieved through a series of deliberate, but relatively simple first steps," Hershkowitz said in a statement.

Oscar Reduces Environmental Footprint
"This effort embodies our industry's collective interest in taking responsibility for reducing our environmental footprint," said Academy President Sid Ganis in a press release. "We thank our telecast producer Laura Ziskin for encouraging us in this direction."

"In planning and producing the Oscars, we decided to choose supplies, resources and services that would reduce Oscar's ecological footprint," Ziskin said in a statement. "I am honored to have collaborated with the Academy and the NRDC to lay the groundwork for a more extensive, long-term program in the years to come."

The nonprofit Bonneville Environmental Foundation, a pioneer in the market for renewable energy certificates to offset greenhouse gas emissions, was established in 1998. The organization reinvests all of the net revenues from its sales of renewable energy certificates, which it calls Green Tags, to finance its mission, which includes solar power systems for schools and businesses, wind power systems for farms and ranches, and restoration efforts for salmon-bearing streams.

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