A recognized industry leader for its environmental initiatives, Warner Music Group - in partnership with leading environmental advocacy organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and NativeEnergy - has dedicated itself to the cause of environmental change since 2004. In 2009, WMG’s U.S. sales and retail marketing company, WEA Corp., won the inaugural Green Award for Environmental Responsibility at the National Association of Recording Merchandisers Convention. WMG is currently engaged in a company-wide campaign to:
- Convert CD/DVD products to environmentally-friendly packaging;
- Practice ecologically superior paper procurement;
- Reduce waste;
- Enhance recycling;
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and offset its carbon footprint ; and
- "Green" its large-scale corporate events .
Waste Reduction, Recycling and Ecologically Superior Paper Practices
WMG has implemented ecologically responsible and efficient paper practices across all of its labels and business units in the United States, including enhanced recycled paper procurement, paper reduction, wastepaper recycling efforts and the conversion of a significant portion of its materials to electronic format, rather than paper.
Over the past year, the company's extensive nationwide waste reduction and recycling program has helped save nearly 4,000,000 pounds of solid waste.
WEA Corp. has converted all CD/DVD products to use a minimum of 30 percent post-consumer paper packaging, saving 9,500 tons of wood. Post-consumer recycled paper is made from wastepaper disposed of by consumers, rather than from virgin timber. WMG uses paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
In addition, the company avoids the use of virgin fibers harvested from any endangered forest, paper manufactured from timber clear-cut off the Cumberland Plateau BioGem or paper manufactured with pulping caustic that contains mercury.
NRDC's senior scientist has said that WMG's CD/DVD paper program is "leading the charge to stop global warming" and that it "is arguably the most progressive set of procurement standards of any music company on Earth."
WEA Corp. President and CEO John Esposito was awarded NRDC's "Forces for Nature" honor in 2006 for his leadership on environmental issues.
Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
WMG conducted an assessment of its greenhouse gas emissions with the goal of developing a program to reduce or offset its "footprint."
WMG is reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and its "carbon footprint" through collaboration with Native Energy; a Native American-owned energy company which helps build Native American, farmer-owned, community-based renewable energy projects; and REVERB. REVERB (founded by Lauren Sullivan and her husband, Guster guitarist/vocalist Adam Gardner) seeks to increase environmental awareness by educating, inspiring and activating music fans while "greening" artists' tours and the music industry at large.
Together with these organizations, WMG is working on a comprehensive corporate offset and carbon dioxide emission reduction program encompassing the company's complete activities - from new album releases to employees' daily commuting habits.
In 2007, WMG's Warner Bros. Records released a double CD and DVD package titled "Live Earth - The Concerts for a Climate in Crisis," donating all of the net proceeds to the Alliance for Climate Protection.
Environmentally Friendly Events and Tours
All large-scale WMG company-sponsored events are conducted in an environmentally friendly manner, including ecological standards for vendor and contractor activities, and WMG also works actively with its artists on greening their concerts and album releases, as noted above.
For example, since 2007, each of the company's Grammy Awards after-parties have been "carbon neutral" events, and, in 2008, WMG was hailed by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for making that year's after-party not only "carbon neutral" but a "Zero Landfill Waste" event as well. "Zero waste" entails the elimination of waste through the efficient use of environmentally friendly resources.
For its large-scale corporate events, WMG tracks the amount of energy expended and purchases an equivalent amount of renewable energy. Renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, does not emit greenhouse gases that are associated with global climate change. By purchasing renewable energy, the company will displace carbon-emitting energy from the electric grid and offset -- or neutralize -- the total amount of greenhouse gases emitted.
These investments have been made under the guidance of Bonneville Environmental Foundation, a non-profit organization supporting the development of new renewable energy sources.
The 2008 Grammy after-party achieved "zero waste" through a variety of green efforts, including: carbon-offsetting the event's energy usage; using energy efficient lighting and bio-diesel generators; recycling paper products; using of local farmers' markets and vendors; using eco-friendly soaps and detergents; printing invitations on 100% recycled paper that was manufactured with wind power; and composting of paper and food waste, among other efforts.