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From Soap Operas to Big Brother Brazil: Globo Television Network Invests in Circular Economy in its Productions

By Arlene Carvalho, from the Circular Movement

Have you ever thought about the process behind the creation of your favorite soap opera or the reality show you follow daily? Scriptwriting, production, characterizations, locations, recordings - stages that share a common challenge: the potential for waste generation. Mindful of this, Globo Television Network, the largest communication company in Brazil and the second-largest commercial television network in the world, developed the Green Productions Guide - a guide to boost Circular Economy and make its productions more sustainable and circular.

The guide is a document that establishes guidelines for the network's productions and covers everything from pre-production to de-production. It prioritizes environmentally friendly practices and materials, zero waste generation, identifying opportunities to make processes more circular and sustainable, and aligning with the ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) agenda - as described in Globo Television Network's 2022 ESG Journey Report.

According to the guide, all entertainment works broadcast on the network or its platforms must adopt good environmental practices based on the 7 R's of Circular Economy. The soap opera "Pantanal," aired in 2022, served as a pilot for the document's implementation.

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Pantanal was aired in 2022. Image: Reproduction/TV Globo

Maurício Gonzalez, director of Globo's Shared Services Center, explains that the guide is a combination of various practices that were already carried out under a single umbrella, and the remake of Benedito Ruy Barbosa's soap opera was perfect for testing the project due to its nature. "The theme, the filming locations... We had to preserve that ecosystem so important to all of Brazil, and this mission went beyond. We thought about recyclable materials, water reuse, the relationship with local communities, and the use of their services..."

In addition to Pantanal, series like 'The Others' and 'Justice 2', along with reality shows 'No Limite 22', 'No Limite – Amazônia', and Big Brother Brazil 23, stand out as some of the first productions to implement the guide's guidelines on the network. After the end of BBB 23, Globo Television Network recycled and/or reused 125 tons of materials, including wood, debris, and canvas, with most of these items donated or sold to recycling cooperatives in Rio de Janeiro. The 24th edition of BBB, airing since January 8, 2024, also complies with the principles established in the document.

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BBB's kitchen in 2023. Image: Reproduction/TV GLOBO

Circularity in Entertainment

Results from the guide's implementation can be seen in numbers, according to Globo's director. "In 2019, we sent 80% of our waste to landfills. All legal, of course. But still, too much. In 2023, this scenario reversed, and we started to recycle 80%. Only 20% of the waste goes to these landfills, and by 2030, we aim to zero out this number. When we think about waste management, we think back to the beginning of production. Using materials that can be recycled, reused, or repurposed. We think about a partner to handle the styrofoam we use in our sets for construction, another for whom we can donate the leftover fabrics from costumes," he emphasizes.

When considering the entire production chain, the broadcaster highlights the importance of reverse logistics in its processes, which, in various areas of Globo's entertainment, stands out for concrete initiatives detailed in the ESG Report. In 2022, the significant donation of 260 tons of fabrics, technology equipment, and other materials, including furniture, stands out as a notable example. Additionally, the Scenery and Costume Production Factory contributed 251.6 kg of fabric to institutions involved in training seamstresses and producing new products. Other actions include training on selective collection in scenic cities, the launch of the Circula Globo app in a pilot operation to optimize internal reuse of materials in good condition, the replacement of plastic water bottles with aluminum cans in 2022, resulting in a reduction in the use of 1.5 million plastic cups destined for recycling. Additionally, the broadcaster composted branches and trees from São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, implemented water reuse practices, and adopted recycled paints in creating gray paint for company environments.

For Gonzalez, these results would not be possible without "the set of ordered actions focused on the environment that the guide offers." Currently, all Globo entertainment productions follow the guide's principles - which, according to the director, are well-received by the professionals involved in the productions. "People really sign an adoption agreement for the measures, but these are issues that are already part of people's lives and the employees themselves - something they demanded that we reinforce," he explains.

The high adherence of employees to the guide strengthens the results and highlights the importance of considering co-responsibility in solutions, a principle emphasized in Circular Economy. The director emphasizes: "If we establish a policy and, on the other side, someone doesn't fulfill their part, we don't achieve success. Each individual needs to perform their function efficiently and committedly."

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Cast of 'Os Outros,' a Globoplay production - already made within the guidelines of the Green Productions Guide. Image: Reproduction/TV GLOBO

A new day of a new time that has begun?

For now, the Green Productions Guide only covers the network's entertainment, but according to Gonzalez, it should be adapted and incorporated into the journalism and sports sectors by 2024. "Everything corporate applies to the entire company, but we still don't have a specific guide for these areas. Journalism and Sports have their own routines and demand their own solutions, but that is already being considered. We don't have a fixed date, but I believe it will be by 2024," Gonzalez comments.

Beyond the guide, one of the milestones in the network's environmental agenda is the construction of Globo Studios in 1995, which, 29 years ago, was already considered sustainable by incorporating practices such as efficient water treatment, use of renewable energy, reuse of waste, and preservation of 70% of the total area with native species of the Atlantic Forest, in a total extension of 1.73 million square meters.

Currently, Globo Television Network has announced that it aims to achieve 100% of its energy matrix from renewable sources by 2030, representing consumption equivalent to that of a city with 90,000 inhabitants.

Gonzalez also emphasizes that advances are possible thanks to technology and constant commitment to sustainability. "We have a tradition of environmental engagement that is part of the broadcaster's DNA and continues to evolve to promote more ecological practices in its various areas of operation," he concludes. Thus, the Green Productions Guide is just the beginning of a new chapter in the network's relationship with Circular Economy.

About the Circular Movement

Established in 2020, the Circular Movement is a collaborative ecosystem dedicated to encouraging the transition from a linear to a circular economy. The concept that every resource can be reused and transformed is the essence of the Circular Economy, the foundational concept of the movement. The Circular Movement is an open initiative that fosters collaborative spaces with the aim of informing individuals and institutions that a waste-free future is possible through education and culture, the adoption of new behaviors, inclusion, and the development of new processes, products, and attitudes.

And you? Do you want to learn more about Circular Economy?

If you are interested in learning more about this topic, access the Circular Academy, the first free Latin American course on Circular Economy aimed at the general public. All of us, in partnership and collaboration, can make a difference in building a more circular planet.

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