Entertainment Companies Invest in Beating Climate Change

This is a mega-month for movies. One of the leading studios, Twentieth Century Fox (TCF), is hoping for success with “The Martian,” “The Peanuts Movie,” “Joy,” and others.

If you buy a ticket to a TCF film, at least some of your money will be going toward the company’s investment in beating climate change. Twentieth Century Fox is among 73 corporations that recently took the American Business Acts on Climate Pledge. Disney is another entertainment company that did so, earlier this year.

Specifically, TCF promised to:

  • Reduce carbon emissions by 25% compared to 2013, normalized by revenue.
  • Reduce carbon emissions from Fox feature film productions by 15% per shoot day.
  • Achieve zero waste to landfill at Fox Studios in Los Angeles.
  • Implement a sustainable lumber use policy for all Fox feature film and scripted television production.
  • Disclose our energy use and greenhouse gas emissions annually. We have reported this data through Climate Disclosure Leadership (CDP) since 2006, and we have been recognized on the S&P500 Disclosure Leadership Index for seven consecutive years for the thoroughness and transparency of our reporting.
  • Continue to invest in clean and renewable sources of energy. Since 2010, we have invested more than $30M in on-site renewable energy and installed 5.5MW of new solar power.
  • Continue to improve the efficiency of our studio operations, including through programs like the U.S. Department of Energy's Commercial Buildings Partnership, which has helped us reduce our carbon footprint by over 1000 tons and save 2.6 million kWh per year in energy use.

The commitment of TCF and other businesses to tackle climate change offers hope that the world will be able to meet this difficult challenge. We are urging business leaders to help convince Congress to be part of the solution, too.

Our nonprofit has suggested a creative compromise, and we have discussed it, face to face, with 175 members of Congress, or their aides: We support enactment of a carbon fee, with half the proceeds going toward a reduction in the corporate tax rate and half to citizens with low or moderate incomes. Those lawmakers who dislike the Clean Power Plan should welcome the opportunity to suspend that regulatory scheme for six to eight years and let the carbon fee prove that it can reach the plan’s goals more quickly and efficiently.

After our extended round of conversations on the Hill, we have concluded that this approach has real promise. The key is lining up business support. The 154 companies—and counting—that have signed on to the American Business Act on Climate Pledge would be natural allies in this effort.  We urge their CEO’s to take the next step by asking the senators and members of Congress who represent them to support a revenue-neutral fee on carbon emissions.

The number of influential voices agreeing that a carbon fee is the best approach to the climate challenge is growing quickly. The list includes ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, and World Fund President Jim Yong Kim.

A carbon fee works. British Columbia has had one since 2008. It has reduced per capita fossil fuel consumption by 16 percent, while use in the rest of that country has risen by 3 percent. Meantime, British Columbia’s GDP growth has outperformed Canada’s.

We need to act now to solve the problems facing our planet. Otherwise, someday we may have to join Matt Damon on Mars.