First Entertainment Sustainability Certification for Workers Launches from USGBC-CA


New ‘Sustainable Production for Entertainment Certification’ (SPEC) to Launch as First Sustainability Standard for Workers Across Film/TV, Music, and Live Sports Events

Los Angeles, CA (June 27, 2024)—The entertainment industry is about to receive a first-of-its-kind environmental certification for professionals. The U.S. Green Building Council California (USGBC-CA) – along with the film and TV, music, and live sports segments of entertainment – is excited to announce the Sustainable Production for Entertainment Certification (SPEC), a workforce-centered certification uplifting individuals through cutting-edge professional development, with application across the industry – from executives to operations crew, tentpole producers to music engineers and art directors to live event personnel.

Widely regarded for high impact professional development training, USGBC-CA, in partnership with industry and technical experts Green Spark Group and Ereth Environmental, spent the past ten months leveraging their collective regional and national reach across the entertainment industry through the development of this professional certification. The training – which will pilot late this Summer and launch in the Fall – will apply cross-functionally as an industry standard, allowing learners to recognize the sustainable opportunities in their job function and in connection with other roles and responsibilities.

The SPEC applies to all major segments of the entertainment industry, emphasizing key areas for learners, including: waste reduction/circularity, value/supply chain, risk management, climate storytelling, budgeting, carbon calculation, communications, energy management and sustainable production definition. The certification will begin with a foundational track and follow with additional specific, functionally focused tracks.

“The entertainment industry has a huge impact on our environment and much of that happens through the built environment, especially here in California. We felt like there was a bigger opportunity for us to meet industry demand for standardized training, so we engaged with stakeholders in the entertainment industry to develop training that fits with the goals of a range of organizations and provides a pathway for upward mobility around sustainability that appears absent in the industry,” says USGBC-CA Executive Director Ben Stapleton. “It’s clear the entertainment industry is keen on accelerating action to address climate change, and our industry survey has overwhelmingly shown that the industry wants sustainability training that leverages successful best practices. We want entertainment workers along all points of the value chain, across multiple environments, to be empowered with training, well-equipped with the information and practical knowledge to take broad action.” 

Green Spark Group President Zena Harris and Ereth Environmental owner Adam Ereth teamed up with USGBC-CA at the start given their professional backgrounds and technical knowledge of the industry. Both stated, “As we have engaged with the entertainment industry – film/tv, sports and music – we have learned there are similar challenges with integrating sustainability. The SPEC has been developed with significant input from the industry workforce. We wanted to build a certification where everyone was speaking the same language and applying a sustainability lens to their work, pre- to post-production and at all places in between. We produced this certification to connect the dots and not just teach people prescriptively what to think, but how to think and solve problems that often arise in this work.”

To understand all the issues and help refine the curriculum, USGBC-CA is collaborating with a range of stakeholders through a multi-disciplinary Advisory Group consisting of entertainment industry studios, executives, trade unions, venues, vendors/businesses, producers, non-profits and academia. Select representatives from each sector shared their views:

“This is a truly exciting endeavor, something the entertainment industry has needed for a long time at every level.” – Mari Jo Winkler, Film and TV producer

“USGBC California, Zena Harris and Adam Ereth have created a foundational sustainability certification for the entertainment industry with SPEC. This is a great resource for entertainment professionals who want to be more green in their roles in sports, broadcasting, music, film and TV production. Sports venues broadcast our favorite games and host our favorite concerts and shows. To create more industry experts, SPEC encourages sharing best practices across sectors through this curated training. By implementing these innovations, less waste ends up in the landfill and more water and energy are conserved.” – Matt Adler, Director of Corporate & Sports Partnerships, Green Sports Alliance

“This is a win for the planet. Workforce education at all levels is a crucial step towards the systemic change needed to tackle the climate crisis. The Music Sustainability Alliance is thrilled to join forces across the entertainment industry, to bring SPEC to life. By working together, we amplify the entertainment industry’s voice to inspire audiences worldwide.” – Amy Morrison, President and Co-Founder, Music Sustainability Alliance

“One of the primary requests from Art Directors Guild membership has been for sustainability training and education specifically tailored to the entertainment industry, both in general and also specific to the Art Department. The rapid timelines, vendor requirements and creative concepts we work with provide unique challenges and opportunities when crafting stories and media with green practices in mind. We are honored to be a part of developing this groundbreaking sustainability certification opportunity along with our sister Locals, USGBC-CA and partners. We look forward to strengthening the knowledge of our workforce in the entertainment industry.” – Jake Tremblay, Co-Chair, Art Directors Guild Green Committee

“It is exciting to see a sustainability certification for an industry that so desperately needs it. It takes a village to make stories, music, and events come to life, but that village should not leave a trace. To me, movie magic is when our specialization and collaboration adapts to solve a new set of puzzles every day. The content of our work is never the same, but our skill sets let us move from gig to gig and get the job done efficiently. This approach should be no different when considering the environmental impact of our work. We create moments of excitement and inspiration for others to discuss. The product of our work should not yield discussions of our carbon footprint and how wasteful it was. It is my hope that by educating our crews and leaders that we can become stewards of storytelling who give the utmost care to the resources, communities and laborers we work with.” – Alex Coyle, Local 600 Sustainability Committee Western Region Rep  

For more information or to support the Sustainable Production for Entertainment Certification as a sponsor or advisor, please visit USGBC-CA or contact Ben Stapleton at ben@usgbc-ca.org.

Media Contact: Julie Du Brow, julie@usgbc-ca.org

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About USGBC California

USGBC California is a 501(c)3 non-profit and member-based organization whose vision is to transform California’s built environment into a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable region for all. USGBC California is comprised of green building communities across the state. We lead by inspiring leaders throughout our communities to take action on climate change, public health, and environmental justice while educating, developing, and empowering a diverse talent pipeline through our training, mentorship, and direct-to-community programs. We connect by merging interdisciplinary perspectives and collaborations to create positive systemic change. We advocate through promoting innovative, impactful policy solutions addressing the most urgent environmental and social challenges of our time.(www.usgbc-ca.org)

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