Our Planet

With the globe emblazoned on our logo and our longstanding commitment to tell stories about the natural world, we seek to protect the planet and ensure there will always be stories to tell. We acknowledge that climate change is a real threat to our world and business and Discovery is committed to curbing our own impact on the environment.

Jump to: Programming | Renewable Energy | Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions

  • Programming

  • For over 35 years we have remained dedicated to using our platforms, reach, and influence to educate and raise awareness about the world. The very first program to run on Discovery Channel in 1985 was Iceberg Alley, which explored the impact of melting snowcaps. Since then, we’ve continued to air landmark programming including documentary series such as: Planet Earth, LIFE, Frozen Planet, Serengeti and North America; Discovery Impact documentaries including Sonic Sea, a film about ocean noise pollution, and Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman, a film about unlikely conservation heroes in America’s heartland; as well as other specials including Racing Extinction, a film that raised the alarm on pressing issues facing our planet and its creatures, The Story of Plastic, a film looking at the worldwide effects of the man-made plastic pollution crisis, and Great Global Cleanup, a special showcasing individuals cleaning up their hometowns. In 2021, Discovery will offer all in one place the definitive collection of science, nature, and environmental programming, headlined by exclusive streaming access to the BBC’s largest natural history offering. And with the premiere of Sir David Attenborough’s next blue chip natural history series A Perfect Planet, Discovery will be the home of the biggest collection of his work. Our global media portfolio also includes Group Nine Media with brands such as The Dodo and NowThis, which tell important stories about our planet and its animals to younger audiences. In addition to programming, we also build sustainability initiatives into our brands and business whenever possible. Two examples include the following:
  • We posted the Green Production Guide on our Producer’s Portal to encourage sustainable production practices by our production partners.

  • Eurosport, the #1 sports destination in Europe, launched PURE ETCR, the first all-electric multi-brand touring car championship. PURE ETCR, launched in 2020, aims to change attitudes towards electric vehicles and promote electric mobility. Through PURE ETCR, we’ve made a series of key commitments to achieve greater sustainability in motorsport which includes not using air freight in favor of sea freight, which is 100 times less detrimental to the environment, and using hydrogen-powered generators given their lesser impact than traditional internal combustion-powered units. We have also partnered with leaders in the space, including EARTHDAY.ORG, a global NGO driving positive action for the planet, as well as the United Nations working jointly with their UN Sport for Climate Action Initiative. As a result of our sustainability commitments, Eurosport was awarded the FIA’s Three Star Environmental Accreditation. For more information about PURE ETCR, click here.

  • Awards & Excellence

  • Updated: 08/24/2021  

  • Renewable Energy

  • Discovery is proud to support renewable energy and over the past few years we have progressively expanded our commitment in an effort to offset our office energy usage.
  • In 2017, Discovery purchased Green e-certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to offset 100% of the annual electricity consumption across all of our U.S. offices (35,000 Mwh). The environmental impact of these purchases is similar to approximately: 400,000 trees allowed to grow for 10 years; taking 5,000 cars off the road for 1 year; or not using 57,000 barrels of oil.
  • In 2018, Discovery increased its renewable commitment by purchasing RECs to offset 100% of the annual electricity consumption across our U.S. and international offices. Given our changing footprint due to the acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive, we relied on conservative estimates of our energy consumption (i.e., higher than likely consumed) – 70,000 Mwh in the U.S. and over 36,000 Mwh internationally – to determine the appropriate level of domestic and international RECs to purchase. The environmental impact of these purchases is similar to approximately: 1,200,000 trees allowed to grow for 10 years; taking 16,000 cars off the road for 1 year; or not using 174,000 barrels of oil.
  • In 2019, Discovery again offset 100% of its global energy consumption through the purchase of RECs but expanded our overall renewable commitment to account for 70,000 Mwh in the U.S., and over 60,000 Mwh internationally. We had to rely in part on estimated numbers given our continued evolving footprint, but combined, these estimates were likely well above our actual energy consumption. The environmental impact of these purchases is similar to approximately: 1,500,000 trees allowed to grow for 10 years; taking 20,000 cars off the road for 1 year; or not using 214,000 barrels of oil
  • Updated: 12/04/2020  

  • Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions

  • While the media and entertainment industry as a whole is not one of the greatest emitters of greenhouse gas, Discovery is dedicated to minimizing our carbon footprint and overall impact on the planet.
  • We are setting three goals for 2021 as they relate to GHG emissions:
  • Disclose carbon emissions via CDP

  • Conduct an updated survey of our global emissions to establish baselines and be able to set additional goals and objectives in years ahead

  • Conduct waste, water, and energy audits in offices that we own and operate to identify opportunities for reduction

  • In addition to progressively increasing our renewable energy procurement from 2017 to 2019, for 2019 we purchased 62,000 metric tons of carbon offsets to account for our global Scope 1 and Scope 3 emissions (e.g., commuting, business travel, purchased goods and services). While we had to rely in part on estimated numbers, we believe these carbon offsets made Discovery globally carbon neutral. The total purchase of carbon offsets was above and beyond our estimated consumption. The carbon we offset in 2019 is equivalent to approximately: 68,200,000 pounds of coal burned; 6,900,000 gallons of gasoline; or 10,500 homes’ electricity use for one year.
  • While the COVID-19 pandemic has created innumerable challenges, it has produced some positive environmental benefits. Discovery conducted an audit of its employee travel and commuting from the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2019, as compared to the same period for 2020, and we’ve reduced our global emissions by the equivalent of over 715,000 gallons of gasoline consumed; more than 15,000,000 miles driven by the average passenger vehicle; or the carbon sequestered by over 100,000 trees allowed to grow for 10 years.
  • Although these are unique circumstances, we believe there will be lessons learned and actions taken coming out of this crisis that can be carried forward and have a positive impact on the planet. We anticipate reduced travel and plan to update our travel policy and booking process to strongly encourage virtual meetings whenever possible. We are also considering a long-term increase in remote working post COVID-19 that could result in reduced emissions. Similarly, we may be moving toward a decreased physical footprint and adopting other innovative approaches stemming from having to do things in new ways during the pandemic which could result in reduced emissions and waste.
  • We aim to make our physical footprint as environmentally friendly as possible and have undertaken a number of initiatives to do just that, including:
  • Pursuing LEED & WELL certifications for our new New York City World Headquarters Building in the process of being built out

  • Our National Operations Headquarters in Knoxville, TN is LEED Gold certified

  • Our previous World Headquarters in Silver Spring, MD was a pioneer in LEED certification and the 9th existing building in the U.S. to achieve LEED Platinum status

  • Composting in two of our New York City offices as well as our Los Angeles, London, and Paris offices, with the aim to launch composting in our Knoxville, TN office in 2021

  • Removing single-use plastics from our global offices through efforts including installation of refillable water stations and removing plastics from vending services

  • Continuing to install LED lights in over 25 of our global offices as well as low-flow controls in restrooms

  • Installed car charging stations in our Sterling, VA office, with the aim to install in our Knoxville, TN office in 2021

  • Received quotes on car charging stations in Knoxville and hoping to get that rolling in the 3rd quarter

  • Launched “follow me printing” in nearly 50% of global offices to reduce printing and paper usage – in the U.S. alone, during a 7-month period in 2016 compared to the same period in 2015, we reduced paper usage over 30%

  • In 2016, Discovery’s London offices began participating in food waste reduction efforts, including a compost wormery, collecting office food scraps and feeding them to the 100,000 worms in the London business park and contracting with no-landfill waste haulers

  • In 2017, Discovery’s London offices launched a “Meatless Monday” initiative in the office café, an initiative they have continued through 2020, to help lower the carbon impact associated with animal production

  • Expanded from 1 to 7 greenD employee interest group chapters across 5 countries (U.S., UK, Poland, Italy, France) over the last 3 years, with the chapters actively pursuing green initiatives in their respective offices

  • Maintain ongoing Gold membership in the U.S. Green Building Council

  • Updated: 08/24/2021