PPC Webinar | Greening Hollywood Sets to Flip the Script on Plastics

July 20, 2023 , 5:00 pm 6:00 pm EDT

The average film production uses as many as 39,000 single-use plastic bottles over a 60-day period. Removing single-use plastics from sets not only saves money, it can also help influence what is shown on screen and help transform our culture from viewing single-use plastics as “normal”— because they’re not. Through the power of collaboration, entertainment unions, advocacy organizations, and stars use their influence to divest from single use-plastic, both behind and in front of the camera.

During this thought-provoking discussion, we will explore the power of the entertainment industry to drive positive change to measurably reduce plastic pollution by eliminating single-use plastic in production. Joining the conversation will be Ellen Crawford, Actor and Union Activist; Asher Levin, Creative Director of the Environmental Media Association (EMA); and Emellie O’Brien, CEO & Co-founder of Earth Angel. The panel will be moderated by Jordan Howard, Founder of ShftSpace.

Please note: While this webinar may touch on the ongoing union strikes in Hollywood, these topics will not be central to the discussion. We will focus on elimination and reduction of plastics on set and in production.

Date: Thurs., July 20
Time: 2-3 pm PT | 5-6 pm ET
Click here to convert to your timezone.


PANELISTS

Ellen Crawford

Ellen Crawford has been a working actor all her life, on stage, television and film. Ellen is probably best known as Nurse Lydia Wright on the iconic series ER, and was happily reunited with George Clooney as her director on the film Suburbicon. Other films include the cult hit, The Man From Earth, the sequel MFE:Holocene, and Angel’s Perch. If you like playing “Where’s Waldo” you can spot Ellen and her husband multiple times in the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car, as she was part of the cohort leasing EVs that were fighting their demise. She starred in the comedy series Boomers and recently appeared on The Rookie. Ellen has worked on Broadway and Off-Broadway stages, as well as national tours and regional theater across the country.

Ellen is a passionate union activist, having focused these many years of service on organizing and education, serving as chair of the SAG-AFTRA National Organizing Committee and as a vice president of the California Labor Federation.


Asher Levin

Asher Levin has over 20 years of experience in entertainment and NGOs. Asher has steered multiple films as a director, writer, and producer; co-founded powerhouse digital media content studio, BRAT; created hit shows for Snap, Facebook Watch, and Studio71’s hit podcast “The Shadow Diaries”; and worked on campaigns and branded content for Toyota, H&M, YouTube, and many more.

Along with production, Asher has worked in the non-profit space for two decades creating campaigns and branded content for Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund, The Wilderness Society, BOLD Nebraska, League of Conservation Voters, and many more. As Creative Director at the Environmental Media Association, Asher has helped steer all content and marketing as well as produce annual events: IMPACT (a two-day business summit) and the 30 year-old iconic Environmental Media Awards. Asher prides his success on diverse projects, strong relationships, and creative collaborations with well known on-screen talent.


Emellie O’Brien

Emellie O’Brien (EOB) is the Founder & CEO of Earth Angel. A pioneer of the sustainable filmmaking movement, she has worked with over 100 major motion pictures and television series to reduce their environmental impact since 2011. Recent clients include the Emmy and Golden Globe–winning series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Aronofsky’s Oscar-winning film The Whale. Her sustainability leadership on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 contributed to it being acclaimed as “the most eco-friendly blockbuster in Sony Pictures’ history.” EOB holds a BFA in Film & Television from NYU, is a Climate Reality Corps Leader, an inaugural Tory Burch Foundation Fellow, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses alum, and 2018 Inc. Magazine 30 Under 30 Rising Star. She also sits on the board of the Hollywood Climate Summit and the Production Initiatives Association.


MODERATOR

Jordan Howard

Jordan Simone Howard is a storyweaver and entrepreneur. Founder of ShftSpace, she has advised brand leaders, foundation officers, and politicians and is now cementing her legacy in story, art, education, and real estate development. Over the years, she’s led strategies and advised on cultural properties that continue to enable engagement verticals and policy + supply chain shifts for Fortune 500 brands, d2c models, grassroots nonprofits, and government entities.

Jordan’s partners have included Dell, Warner Bros., Hulu, Planned Parenthood, Microsoft, the U.S. State Dept, UN Foundation, the Binary Fountain, and many more. Jordan activates her intuitive abilities as a spiritual medium with her unique experience as an elite strategist and storyteller for connectivity, healing, and innovation. Her magic lies in interconnecting the language and learnings of generations with the cosmic possibilities of imagination and ancestry. Her work focuses on enabling verticals to invest, equip, and activate people and communities to solve problems for people and the planet.


RESOURCES

o Flip the Script on Plastics
o Environmental Media Association (EMA)
o Earth Angel
o ShftSpace
o SAG-AFTRA & Other Groups Launch Green Council Initiative To Promote Eco-Friendly Entertainment (Deadline)

UPDATE: On April 28, 2023, policymakers, Hollywood stars, members of the press, NGO advisors, and more gathered in Washington, DC at the Motion Picture Association for the official launch of the Green Council signaling Hollywood’s commitment to eliminating single-use plastics both on and off screen.

The star-studded event included notables from the entertainment industry, including Jennifer Beals, Sophia Bush, Chris Colfer, Rosario Dawson, Alysia Reiner, Kyra Sedgwick, Bradley Whitford, and Sara Yarkin, alongside NGO advisors Plastic Pollution Coalition, Habits of Waste, the Environment Media Association, Plastic Oceans, and the Cancer Schmancer Movement. The event included video statements in support from Ed Begley Jr., Jeff Bridges, Frances Fisher, Mark Ruffalo, and Alfre Woodard.

A Green Revolution in Hollywood

The recent Screen Actors Guild Awards held on February 26, 2023, were not just about recognizing outstanding performances in the entertainment industry. During the ceremony, Screen Actors Guild–American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) president Fran Drescher made an announcement that signaled the beginning of a new green revolution in Hollywood.

Drescher revealed that SAG-AFTRA and the Motion Picture Association (MPA) have officially forged the Green Council, a new initiative that aims to promote environmentally conscious and sustainable practices in the entertainment industry. The Council’s first official mission is to eliminate single-use plastic both on and off-screen, and to use the wide-reaching influence of Hollywood actors and productions to challenge audiences around the world to do the same.

I am very proud to say that SAG-AFTRA and MPA has forged Green Council. The biggest joint effort of stars and studios to save the planet since WWII. Mission #1: an honor system to eliminate single-use plastic, on camera, behind the scenes, and leverage star power to challenge audiences around the world to do the same. You may notice this year, on your tables, they’re all glass bottles.

–Fran Drescher, SAG-AFTRA President

The Green Council’s newly established honors system will encourage and motivate the industry to adopt more sustainable practices in their day-to-day operations. With the entertainment industry being one of the largest contributors to environmental waste, this initiative is a much-needed step in the right direction. The Green Council will undoubtedly create a ripple effect that will inspire other industries and individuals to follow suit and take action towards a more sustainable future.

According to a 2019 Producers Guild Green Report, a 60-day film shoot uses approximately 39,000 single-use water bottles. While productions have traditionally assumed that water bottles are a money-saving way to hydrate the cast and crew, recent productions such as Top Gun: Maverick are proving that sustainable practices are also huge money-savers, and the traditional habits of tinsel town waste money, in addition to generating unnecessary plastic pollution.

There’s that fallacy of, ‘Oh, these single-use plastic water bottles are cheaper so you’re going to save money,’ but they’re really not. On Top Gun: Maverick, we moved more than 30,000 single-use plastic water bottles out of the waste stream in order to make sure that we were using water filtration systems and people were using refillable canteens. That saved us thousands of dollars according to the sustainability report. So I think that the fallacy that having a sustainable set is going to be a more expensive set, that mindset in and of itself is problematic.

–Jennifer Lynch, Senior VP, Corporate Social Responsibility and Internal Communications at Paramount Pictures, The Hollywood Reporter, June 2, 2022

The formation of the Green Council also highlights the importance of industry-wide collaboration and partnerships to achieve significant change. With SAG-AFTRA and MPA joining forces, it is clear that the entertainment industry is committed to making a positive impact on the environment and taking responsibility for its carbon footprint, which includes its plastic footprint. Plastic Pollution Coalition is proud to be a partner of the Green Council and to support their efforts in eliminating single-use plastic on and off-screen to Flip the Script on Plastics!

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