By Darby Hoover
For several years, the Natural Resources Defense Council has been working with key sports and entertainment organizations to help them reduce the environmental impact caused by their operations and procurement decisions. In 2007, we began a partnership with The Recording Academy to examine the environmental impact of the GRAMMY telecast and related GRAMMY Week events.
In the first year of the initiative, accomplishments at the 50th Annual GRAMMY Awards included powering the telecast and related events with renewable wind-power energy; incorporating hybrid and other fuel-efficient automobiles into the event's fleet; promoting recycling and reducing waste generated by the annual event; and using recycled materials in paper products, including the GRAMMY program books, invitations and other print materials (click here for more about the initiative and specific achievements). In subsequent years, we have maintained previous achievements while adding new ones — for example, at last year's awards a red carpet made from recycled plastic and not petroleum was purchased (and will be reused this year).
In addition, in 2008 NRDC developed and distributed an online environmental resource guide, which was customized for each of the 12 Recording Academy regional offices. The NRDC Greening Advisor for The Recording Academy is designed to help each Chapter identify what they can do in their specific location to pursue environmentally superior practices in their office operations and maintenance, transportation, energy use, paper use, event planning, recycling, and waste management.
The changes in purchasing and operations made by The Recording Academy are ecologically meaningful in their own right, in terms of the size and environmental footprint of the events and organizations involved. Beyond the important on-the-ground changes, The Academy's greening work is significant because the GRAMMYs are highly visible and culturally influential. When a prestigious event such as the GRAMMYs adopts environmentally preferable practices, it can serve as a model for other industrial sectors, commercial establishments and millions of fans around the country. For NRDC, working with the GRAMMYs is an important way for us to help our advocacy and information reach new audiences.
As one of the most impactful industries on Earth, the music industry has historically taken its obligations to society very seriously. Greening is a journey, not a destination. By continuing to prioritize and expand their greening initiative year after year, The Recording Academy has established itself as an important player in that ongoing journey. We at NRDC have been honored and excited to help support this intelligent and forward-thinking initiative with The Academy and the annual GRAMMY Awards telecast.