Q/A – Green Certification Comes to Entertainment

Rheaply is continuing our guest blog series!

This article comes from our friends Adam Ereth of Ereth Environmental and Zena Harris at Green Spark Group, both of whom are leading the sustainability movement across the entire entertainment value chain – Sports, Music, Film and TV production.

Q: Can you tell us about the genesis of the new Sustainable Production for Entertainment Certification (SPEC)? What problem facing the industry will this new training certificate seek to solve?

A: Well, like all great ideas, it starts with a couple lagers at a microbrewery with your colleague in downtown Tacoma, Washington…or so I’m told. Zena and I had just wrapped on some long-term work in L.A. and we started asking ourselves the question, “What has been missing in entertainment and what can we do to improve the system of incorporating cohesion among the workforce?” It didn’t take very long to reach the same conclusion: training and professional certifications tailored to the industry!

We wanted to do something that had been talked about for years, but just couldn’t seem to land in the entertainment space. Never ones to turn down a good challenge, we sketched out an idea, used our professional training backgrounds as reference, and went to work creating the pitch and framework for what we wanted to accomplish and impart. The U.S. Green Building Council California (USGBC-CA) was a perfect match, as they were looking to take bold action, too. Once our team was built we all strongly agreed we wanted to work with dedicated partners on this project, and Rheaply is definitely one! We needed strong, visionary leaders who wanted to climb the branches to pluck high-hanging professional fruit, so Rheaply was a natural fit.

We imagined building an industry-wide curriculum and training standard accessible to everyone in the value chain, and disrupting the analog practices that have plagued the industry for too long. That requires a certain type of partnership and we got that in spades with Rheaply! They were just the type of partners needed to make meaningful and positive change.

Q: Who is this training for?

A: We created this foundational training for those across the film/TV, sports, and music industries, allowing for everyone to speak the same language and feel confident talking about sustainability with peers up and down the value chain.  We’re seeing demand for training and for the integration of sustainable practices from various corners of the entertainment industry, and the SPEC is the standard to elevate the entertainment workforce.

For example, venue managers in sports and music are seeking LEED certification for their facilities, while their staff could benefit from sustainability training specific to the entertainment industry they are serving. Employers in film and TV are increasingly asking for sustainable practices to be integrated in their productions; this allows everyone involved in the making of that product to have the opportunity to be trained and certified, and take that knowledge to any production.  Spanning all of entertainment, we are seeing increased attention on storytelling and the ability to communicate on actions. Those professionals who market and promote music festivals, sports or film/tv production will have a common language to use with peers and be equipped to articulate the sustainable practices taking place behind the scenes and on screen.

Q: How might some of Rheaply’s users in this industry who care about materials management and circularity benefit from SPEC while advancing their careers?

The Sustainability for Production in Entertainment Certification (SPEC) produced in partnership with the USGBC-CA centers on several major themes: 1) Climate, Systems and Planning, 2) Energy and Environmental Management, 3) Storytelling, and 4) Circularity. For the last, we wanted to flip the assumption that recycling is the answer to waste issues and focus on design and reuse. We’ve dedicated a substantial portion of the training to material use, which is why we have fun segments for learners in that section, including: material sourcing, food impacts, waste diversion, use and best practices, more.  We built a curriculum that allows waste enthusiasts – who we might call our “trash talkers” – a comprehensive look into the entertainment industry’s waste practices and what can be done to make progress. What’s fun for us is that SPEC fleshes out a variety of best environmental practices like design thinking, material reuse and waste diversion, and all in the context of entertainment. So, whether someone is already a seasoned professional in entertainment or a first-day-on-the-job production assistant, taking the SPEC allows them to see the sustainable opportunities in the entertainment ecosystem and take charge. Bold equity is exciting and we can’t wait to share that with others and empower the workforce and the businesses that support them!

Q: What are the best ways to get started with SPEC now that it’s launched?

The USGBC-CA will be hosting the SPEC on its learning management system and administering the certification to learners who take the course, beginning in Fall.  Those individuals who work in entertainment and want to take the course may look at the USGBC-CA website for more information and to sign up. We also encourage people to sign up for the USGBC-CA newsletter to get updates on course offerings and dates.

Read the full press release here


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