Sustainability at ProSiebenSat.1

by Eyes & Ears of Europe

Media production and sustainability - just how does that go together? Nobody can ignore the issue of sustainability. Whether it's about living sustainably, providing information about it, or simply producing less plastic waste, media companies and agencies large and small are taking action to protect our planet. Sustainability, from the light bulb in the office, to waste separation, to educational programs and sustainable advertising space. In the coming months we are going to ask exactly what our members have to say about this topic. 

As it says, ProSiebenSat.1 wants to be more than just a successful commercial enterprise. With their numerous TV channels and digital services, they reach many millions of viewers and users every day. But as we know, great power also means great responsibility. Spiderman rides the subway, but what does a big company like ProSiebenSat.1 do to work sustainably and to bring the issue of sustainability to viewers and users? Well, Eyes & Ears asked!

It turns out, quite a lot!

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Nachhaltigkeitsstrategie "We love to sustain"

In 2019, ProSiebenSat.1 adopted the sustainability strategy "We love to sustain" which has been gradually implemented since then. The sustainability strategy is based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These call on all companies to use their creativity and innovative strength to solve the challenges of sustainable development. The ProSiebenSat.1 Group has identified four central areas of action: Society, Diversity, Environment and Governance & Compliance.

In January 2020, for example, a separate sustainability department was established under the leadership of Annette Kümmel as Chief Sustainability Officer in order to launch new initiatives and drive forward existing projects. "Social commitment and sustainability have always been part of our corporate strategy, because ProSiebenSat.1 is much more than a commercial enterprise. With our TV stations and digital platforms, we reach many millions of viewers and users every day, which is both a great privilege and a tremendous responsibility. We want our Group to operate in an inclusive, sustainable, environmentally and socially compatible manner. We will further expand our commitment to all these issues in 2020," said Kümmel.

In January 2020, ProSiebenSat.1 also joined the United Nations Global Compact, thereby expressly committing itself to its principles in the areas of human rights, labour standards, environment and climate, and corruption prevention. The United Nations Global Compact is the world's largest and most important initiative for responsible corporate governance. The network consists of over 13,000 companies and organisations from civil society, politics and science in 161 countries. 

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UN goals for sustainable development (SDGs) relevant for ProSiebenSat.1: (4) Quality Education, (5) Gender Equality, (10) Reduced Inequality, (13) Climate Action, (16) Peace and Justice Strong Institutions, (17) Partnerships to achieve the Goal

But ProSiebenSat.1 creates awareness of the topic of sustainability not only within its own company, but also among viewers. This is shown by a few selected examples:

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Green Seven Week

Once a year, ProSieben’s logo turns from red to green for Green Seven week. During the annual initiative, ProSieben uses its large reach to raise awareness for sustainability especially among young viewers. For a week, a spotlight is shone on ecological issues. In October 2019, the themed week called attention to the consequences of pollution of the oceans caused by plastic waste under the motto “Save the Oceans”. At the centre of "Green Seven 2019" is the 90-minute documentary "Save the Oceans - The Plastics Experiment". In a unique tracking experiment, moderator Stefan Gödde, in collaboration with the Alfred Wegener Institute for Marine Research, is following the path of plastic waste from German households to the sea. With Green Seven, ProSieben promotes a diverse range of ecologically relevant issues particularly among younger target groups – these include consequences of air and environmental pollution caused by cars (“Save the Future”, 2018), melting ice at the North Pole (“Save the Ice”, 2017), protection of water (“Save the Water”, 2016) or the prevention of bee mortality (“Save the Bees”, 2015).

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Sat.1-Thematic Films

With its thematic films, the ProSiebenSat.1 Group wants to sensitize people to such social problems and encourage them to reflect. To this end, ProSiebenSat.1 uses its expertise as an entertainment company to emotionally prepare difficult topics such as organ donation or stalking and make it accessible to a broad audience. Thematic films like “Die Ungehorsame” ("The Disobedient"), “Zwei Leben. Eine Hoffnung” ("Two Lives. A hope") or “Nackt. Das Netz vergisst nie” ("Naked. The Net never forgets") were well received by the audience in the past and sparked discussions. In 2019, SAT.1, in cooperation with the Police Crime Prevention Department, sensitizes the public to the topics of knockout drops, stalking and civil courage. In the thrillers "Lautlose Tropfen", "Dein Leben gehört mir" and "Ein ganz normale Tag" the dramatic fates of three women are told. These are exemplary for victims whose fate often remains hidden. 

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Day of Heroines

With full women's power sixx celebrates the International Women's Day every year, the last time on 8 March 2019, under the label "Day of Heroines". In its TV program, online and on social media channels, the TV station uses this day to raise awareness for the strengthening and equal rights of women and young girls in society.

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Fully inclusive television – for over 30 years, Arbeitsgemeinschaft Behinderung und Medien e.V. (abm) has been raising awareness of the circumstances, concerns and interests of people with disabilities with extensive TV programming broadcast throughout Germany. ProSiebenSat.1 has supported the initiative since 2000 with the magazine show CHALLENGE, which is broadcast on kabel eins and SAT.1 Gold on the first Saturday of every month. In a thirty-minute report, our fellow citizens with disabilities are encouraged to participate actively in social life according to their own requirements. In addition, CHALLENGE informs non-disabled people about life with a disability, dismantles prejudices and promotes inclusive thinking.

Green Productions

Sustainability is an increasingly important aspect in the realisation of film and television productions. This also applies to ProSiebenSat.1 as one of the largest clients for TV and media productions in Germany. Under the keyword " Shot Cleanly", the company is currently conducting a pilot project in the area of "Green Productions", which aims to gradually improve the reduction of CO2 emissions, the protection of natural resources, the avoidance of environmentally harmful substances and the reduction of plastic and waste in all productions.

The pilot project has been rolling out since January 2020 for the upcoming ProSiebenSat.1 productions. A comprehensive catalogue of measures is currently being sent to all producers. In an interview, ProSiebenSat.1 expressed confidence: "We assume that this initiative will meet with approval."

The production company Redseven Entertainment, which as a company of Red Arrow Studios is also part of the ProSiebenSat.1 Group, is setting a good example for more sustainable productions. "Green shoots" are being particularly promoted there. "A league of its own" on Sky is Redseven's first certified "Green Production", where significant savings and improvements have been achieved in all areas of production, especially in the catering for crew and audience. Redseven has also eliminated the use of disposable plastic for catering in other productions, including formats such as "The Biggest Loser", "The Taste", "Top Chef Germany" and "Superhero Germany".

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V.l.: Matthias Neumann, Conrad Albert, Peter Christmann

Even advertising becomes sustainable

In October 2019, ProSiebenSat.1 became the first media partner to cooperate with Media4Planet (M4P), the first provider of sustainable advertising space in support of the UN sustainability goals. M4P bundles advertising space from media partners at preferential conditions and markets it to sustainable companies, initiatives or projects. The idea behind the media model: A large part of the revenues that M4P markets for ProSiebenSat.1 is to support UN climate protection projects as well as other projects and NGOs. ProSiebenSat.1 will integrate this model as "Media for Sustainability" within the Group.   

The new media model was launched at the first "Green Seven Summit", a three-day sustainability congress on the island of Sylt supported by ProSiebenSat.1. Under the motto "Making waves for climate protection", the event took place from September 29 to October 1, 2019, at the same time as the Mercedes-Benz Windsurfing World Cup Sylt and included an extensive supporting program with panel discussions, keynote speeches and workshops.

"We are proud to contribute to the UN climate protection goals with our innovative media model," said Conrad Albert, Deputy CEO and Group General Counsel. "With our 'Green Seven Week' we have been raising environmental awareness through our TV formats for more than ten years. With 'Media for Sustainability', we will extend this commitment to our advertising environment in the future."

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

ProSiebenSat.1 also focuses on sustainability in its operating activities. Since 2015, the Group has been accounting for its greenhouse gas emissions and since 2017 has been using the waste heat from its own data centres in Unterföhring to heat its office buildings. In addition, the measures for waste separation and reduction are being continuously optimized. On the ProSiebenSat.1 campus, the canteens and cafés are already completely free of disposable plastic. The Group has also adjusted its travel guidelines to avoid flights on shorter routes and to use more environmentally friendly alternatives such as rail. In addition, sustainability certification in accordance with the LEED model (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is planned for the new campus area, which is currently under construction.

Further information on the topic at https://www.prosiebensat1.de/en/sustainability/our-responsibility/sustainability-at-prosiebensat-1-1.