Showbiz Sustainability Scorecard: Germany No. 1

Bertlesmann music offices photo

Bertelsmann shares office space in London. Photo via Flickr by Ian Mutoo

BMG hits the top over Sony and other entertainment entities. An eco-report card released last week from Claremont McKenna College rates big showbiz corps on their greening efforts. The Roberts Environmental Center used the Pacific Sustainability Index to evaluate the environmental performance and social responsibility reporting of 14 entertainment companies from the Fortune Global 500 and 1000 lists. And US outfits came in as runners up.
The analysis of company websites revealed the top performer was from Germany with the Bertelsmann Group and its green policies. Research showed the US entertainment giants, CBS, Viacom, and Walt Disney scored over Fox News Corp and Time Warner.

Here’s the Report Card:

Highest Overall Scores:
• Bertelsmann
• Walt Disney

Highest Environmental Reporting Scores:
• Walt Disney
• Bertelsmann
• News Corp.
• Warner Music Group

Lowest Overall Scores:
• Warner Music Group
• Univision Communications Inc
• Live Nation, Inc. (division of Clear Channel)

According to J. Emil Morhardt, director of the Roberts Environmental Center and professor of Environmental Biology at Claremont McKenna College stated:

In the current business climate, a demonstration of corporate social responsibility is more important than ever. What we are analyzing is the quality of that demonstration—how transparent the companies are with respect to their environmental and social issues, and how good a job they are doing resolving any problems they currently have and avoiding future ones.

The analysis covered 1,800 documents from 2002-’08 and based scores on most frequently mentioned topics and social/environmental issues the companies deemed important. Those with achievements tended to brag about their energy efficiency efforts while businesses focused on social responsibility reporting highlighted their support of human rights. t The professor concluded:

The Entertainment sector is not very active yet in sustainability reporting, but its largest potential influence on public and corporate sustainability behavior could be through its commercial products. Addressing issues such as climate change and ecological damage in TV and radio programming, in movies, or in Web sites (such as Viacom's MTV Switch) is likely to be far more influential than publicizing anything done in the course of company operations. [But] there isn't a good way yet to quantify, or even identify such activities.

From Disney greening its parks and NBC’s Green Week to the New Corp’s carbon neutral efforts, countless green celebrity causes have been reported here. It’s easy to bash them for giant carbon footprints, but does their influence on millions make up for the 8,000 tons of CO2 in the air with each private jet flight? Do the environmental efforts of the entertainment biz do more to raise public awareness than most other industries?

More on showbiz going green:
Disney Unveils its Green Strategy
Fox TV's "24" Reaches Its Carbon Neutral Goal
Away We Go Green: Focus Features Production Embraces More Sustainable Filmmaking

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