'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' Honored for Environmental Efforts

10:09 AM PST 04/04/2014 by Alexa Girkout
Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

The superhero epic found ways to be green during production, including saving 193,000 disposable plastic water bottles and achieving a 52 percent diversion rate from landfills.

The Green Goblin isn't the only thing that's green about the upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man 2, as Sony Pictures also took part in a green initiative throughout the course of the film's production.

The sequel in the revamped superhero franchise, which stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Jamie Foxx, has earned the Green Seal award for environmental efforts and sustainable practices during production from the Environmental Media Association.

"They had so many great, cost-effective ways to be greener during Spider-Man," EMA president Debbie Levin tells The Hollywood Reporter. "That's such an unbelievably huge task because of the scope of the film that it's amazing."

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EMA, an organization approaching its 25th anniversary, was created to educate and motivate the public about environmental issues in the context of the entertainment industry, Levin says. In 2003, EMA created the Green Seal award to prove that it was possible to maintain the same sustainable principles off-camera that they were promoting on it.

Studios submit applications to EMA, which are then evaluated according to a 150-point scale based on how well the studio complies with program guidelines. Levin says her organization receives between five and 20 applications from each studio per year, but that there are likely more that qualify.

"It's all a matter of how much they can implement and for Spider-Man, it's above and beyond," Levin says. "Sony has a terrific team, and the studio is such a great example for corporate America."

The team from Spider-Man, which Levin calls one of their highest-ranked films in sustainable efforts, secured 49.7 tons of materials for donation or for reuse on future productions, saved 193,000 disposable plastic water bottles and achieved a 52 percent diversion rate from landfills. The production not only reduced their waste, but also gave back to the community by donating 5,862 meals to local shelters and helping with restoration and tree planting in New York's East River Park, one of the film's shooting locations, which had been damaged during Hurricane Sandy.

Much of the studio's success was achieved with the help of an eco manager, who oversees, enforces and chronicles sustainable practices on set. The eco manager for Spider-Man engaged the Twitter community by posting live updates under the handle @EcoSpidey.

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These efforts also saved another kind of green: Doug Belgrad, president of Columbia Pictures, estimated that the team's sustainability practices saved more than an estimated $400,000.

"That's the takeaway for the public to know. Sustainability is not expensive," Levin says. "At the end of the day, for the cost of an eco manager's salary, you could be saving thousands of thousands of dollars and saving obviously unbelievable resources for the environment."

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will also be the first film for Sony Pictures to acknowledge its Green Seal award in its end-credits.

"I am excited for everyone to see all the heroic moments in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but this production was also a hero for the planet, with a huge list of sustainable production practices," said Garfield, who plays Spider-Man and Peter Parker, in a statement.

In the 10 years since the Green Seal awards were first introduced, Levin and EMA have doled out hundreds of acknowledgements in television, film and award ceremonies like the Grammys, Emmys and SAG awards. Due to the size and scope of the superhero blockbuster, Levin considers this award to be a particularly important triumph for the movement.

"They set a good example. The good guys won," Levin says. "It's like the theme of the movie came true."

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 hits theaters May 2.

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