Recently Target invited me to Universal Studios in Los Angeles to watch one of their commercial shoots.  Watching a film, television, or commercial filming can be like watching CalTrans road work:  generally not a whole lot of action is going on, folks are standing around, but somehow the work eventually gets done.

But last week’s commercial shooting was different from others to which I had been invited to or had stumbled upon in random neighborhoods like Koreatown, Silver Lake, and yes, Hollywood.

For two years, Target has engaged a local firm, EcoSet, on their advertising shoots in Los Angeles.  Some of the more sustainable best practices for film production on which Target is working include:

  • Clothing: They sell a few clothes at Target, and coordinator Erika Backberg works with local non-profits to ensure that clothing is going to local organizations who can use the items--an example of which is a local battered women’s shelter.  Other beneficiaries include schools, local non-profit theater productions, and local artists.
  • Water:  No bottled water here.  Everyone has a steel bottle, and refilling stations are everywhere.  To date Target’s waste diversion efforts have avoided the use of over tens of thousands of water bottles in the past two years.
  • Production: Those palatial trailers seen on movie and commercial shooting sets are huge energy hogs.  We toured one hired out by Target that boasted solar panels on the roof; access to a biodiesel blend in case the amount of solar energy generated was insufficient (usually not the case in Southern California, unless all the stylings have blow dryers humming at once); interior siding made from salvaged whiteboards; an exterior not black, but white, to reflect sunlight; and Energy Star rated appliances.

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About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of Based in California, he specializes in social media consulting and strategic communications. A journalist and writer since 2009, his work has appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Areas of interest include the <a Middle East, sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at You can also reach out via Twitter (Leon Kaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). Since 2013, he has spent much of his time in Abu Dhabi, UAE, working with Masdar, the emirate's renewable energy company. He lives in Fresno, California.