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How sustainable are the Oscars?

A red carpet at an awards show.

The Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, is arguably the most well-known awards ceremony in the world. Given out annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the awards are a recognition of excellence in cinema and seen as the highest honour in the movie industry. From humble beginnings in 1929 where the first Oscars was held at a private dinner hosted by actor and filmmaker Douglas Fairbanks, the prestigious ceremony is now televised live worldwide to an audience of millions.

But what about sustainability at the Oscars? According to its website, the event has had a net zero carbon imprint for the last 10 years and the Academy looks to expand its sustainability plan with the goal of becoming carbon neutral.

Sunday, March 12 will mark the 95th Academy Awards and to celebrate the occasion, we had a look at some of the initiatives being carried out to make this event the most sustainable one yet.


This year, the Oscars will be held at the Dolby Theatre in the Ovation Hollywood entertainment complex in Los Angeles. Although environmental sustainability is a top priority for Dolby as a company, the Dolby Theatre itself seems to lack any concrete sustainable initiatives. However, Dolby have specified that it is committed to identifying opportunities to reduce waste, conserve water in its operations and improve the efficiency of the buildings in which they work. On top of this, the company has a goal to use 100% renewable energy throughout its operations by 2025 and being completely carbon neutral by 2030.

The Red Carpet

In November 2022, the Academy announced an official partnership with Red Carpet Green Dress Global, a women-led organisation founded by Suzy Amis Cameron that promotes sustainability within the global apparel and design industry. This involves distributing a 'Sustainable Style Guide' to all attendees of the Oscars which provides guidance on sustainable red-carpet fashion highlighting information about textiles, colour, DE&I, fashiontech, labour rights and more.

Alongside this, each year, the Red Carpet Green Dress initiative challenges designers to create an ‘Oscar- worthy’ dress made entirely of sustainable materials, while the actors wearing the dresses advocate for a message of sustainability and longevity within the global fashion industry. And the results are already showing. Stars such as Billie Eilish, Mila Kunis and Kirsten Dunst opted for recycled, upcycled and vintage outfits at last year’s awards.

Anything else?

The Academy has increased its sustainability efforts over the last decade as it commits to “operating as a socially responsible organization with sustainability at our core”. It focuses on a plastic-free environment at its events, has introduced plant-based meals, has implemented annual carbon footprint assessments to reduce carbon emissions, and a review process to select suppliers who share the same eco-conscious values.

It seems as if there is a genuine effort to shift from a notoriously wasteful and overly extravagant event to an eco-friendlier and more conscious Oscars ceremony, and we can see that being eco-conscious when planning large awards ceremonies is becoming more favourable year after year. However, with a lack of specific initiatives and plans, as well as a dedicated sustainability team, we do wonder if they are doing enough.

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