Q&A: Lauren Zalaznick, Bravo/Oxygen


When she's not running NBC Universal's Bravo and Oxygen networks, Lauren Zalaznick heads the studio's Green Council, overseeing four full-time staffers charged with promoting environmental initiatives. NBC Uni networks are celebrating "Green Week" by airing 100 hours of green-themed content this week, and "Green" will be sold as an ad category at this year's upfronts. Zalaznick spoke to The Hollywood Reporter's Stephen Galloway about her work.

The Hollywood Reporter: How does going green make NBC Universal a better business?
Lauren Zalaznick: To give you one example, television advertising can be purchased inside green-themed shows to promote green-messaged products.

THR: Why is making money on green initiatives important?
Zalaznick: The reason I don't want to lose money is, I don't want anyone to say, "This is a pain in the neck and costs money." I want value to come out of green. Right now, it costs us in the double-digit millions, and we have revenue in the double-digit millions. We commit ourselves to spending a little money now in order to make a lot later.

THR: What projects are you most proud of?
Zalaznick: Universal's "Evan Almighty" (2007) was the first completely carbon-neutral film production. Also, there is a new solar energy system, the largest in the industry, with 630 panels -- enough for 10 production bungalows -- and the long-term goal is to continue with a certain amount of new panels a year.

THR: What about basic things like Styrofoam and electric cars?
Zalaznick: It is a corporate mandate to eliminate Styrofoam from the commissaries, which should be complete by the end of April. And 25% of our total fleet is energy efficient.

THR: What have you not been able to do?
Zalaznick: I can't get rid of bottled water, because then you have to buy paper cups. Or if you use coffee mugs, then you buy dishwashers. What we do is say, "If you live in New York, don't buy this or that product because it comes from far away." But we haven't been able to implement the logistics to 16,000 employees worldwide.