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. In addition to steps we have already taken, we are setting a number of new goals including achieving net zero for Scopes 1 & 2 by 2030 and working to identify and reduce our Scope 3 emissions.

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

  • 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 Emmy(r) 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, an Emmy-winning documentary that spotlights 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 launched discovery+, the definitive non-fiction, real life subscription streaming service, which offers all in one place a 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. Discovery was also the global broadcast partner for The Earthshot Prize, including a five-part series The Earthshot Prize: Repairing Our Planet. The five-part series featured Prince William, David Attenborough, and other members of The Earthshot Prize Council showcasing the five Earthshot challenges facing the planet as well as highlighting the work of the 15 Prize Finalists and their ground-breaking solutions to our greatest environmental challenges. In addition to programming, we also build sustainability initiatives into our brands and business whenever possible. Examples include the following:
  • In 2019, Discovery aired TIGERLAND, a documentary following two passionate activists who made it their mission to protect wild tigers and their habitat. In conjunction with the film, Discovery’s Social Good team launched a consumer campaign through its Project C.A.T. initiative to further raise awareness on tiger and wildlife conservation to help preserve additional land for wild tigers and other endangered wildlife.

  • 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. In 2021, PURE ETCR worked with The Canopy Project, a reforestation program managed by EARTHDAY.ORG to help plant 1 tree per kilometer raced, resulting in 4,619 trees planted across Mexico, India, and Uganda. 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: 12/28/2021  

  • Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions

  • Discovery is dedicated to minimizing our carbon footprint and overall impact on the planet. In 2020, we set three GHG goals: to disclose the CDP for the first time (completed), conduct an updated global GHG survey (completed), and to conduct waste, water, and energy audits in owned and operated office spaces (delayed due to COVID occupancy changes but completion is a priority once occupancy is more reflective of the expected norm). To continue to show progress and make an impact, we have set new goals in 2021:
  • Goal: Achieve net zero (scopes 1 & 2) by 2030 with 100% renewable energy
    • Progress: Discovery set this public goal in December 2021, and is working to begin to make progress against the goal. Discovery already prioritizes offsetting its emissions, and is identifying other ways to invest in renewable energy infrastructure. In December 2021, we also became a member of RE100 joining other leading businesses who are committed to 100% renewable energy across the globe. This commitment will strengthen our net zero approach by aligning our renewable energy generation and procurement strategy with RE100 criteria and addressing the importance of credible claims and regionality.

  • Goal: Evaluate scope 3 emissions and identify opportunities for reduction
    • Progress: Discovery has begun to tackle this goal in a few ways:

  • Collecting and reporting data associated with business travel and employee commuting, as part of the GHG inventory progress.
  • Joining sustainable production organizations – the Sustainable Production Alliance (SPA) in the U.S. and Albert in the UK. SPA is a consortium of the world’s leading film, television and streaming companies dedicated to accelerating the transformation of the entertainment business into a more sustainable industry. Albert is an organization dedicated to inspiring the media industry to create content that supports a vision for a sustainable future and help the industry to make positive contributions to the environment while eliminating waste and carbon emissions from their production.
  • Requiring UK commissions to use the Albert UK Carbon Calculator. Discovery UK also signed on to Albert UK’s Climate Content Pledge, a commitment by 12 of the UK’s biggest media brands to help audiences understand what tackling climate change might mean to them, as well as inspire and inform sustainable choices.
  • In follow-up to joining SPA, Discovery will also be developing and piloting a sustainable production handbook and corresponding processes with select U.S. productions.
  • Implementing a sustainable travel tool, which directs employees to lower carbon travel options.
  • In terms of Discovery’s GHG inventory, the company has operational control of approximately 130 facilities or spaces in the United States and the APAC, EMEA, Latin America, and Nordic regions. Most of these facilities and spaces are leased, and some are owned by Discovery. There are various types including office, warehouse, studios, TV on air, broadcasting, production, transmission, technology space, data centers, storage, and parking. The Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions inventory accounts for energy usage and vehicle fleets from these global locations.
  • Since 2017, Discovery has been progressively increasing its renewable energy commitments. In 2019 and 2020, Discovery purchased both RECs and carbon offsets to account for 100% of Scope 1 emissions, Scope 2 emissions, and certain Scope 3 emissions. By doing this, Discovery has achieved carbon neutrality and will continue to achieve this goal annually.
  • Although the world continues to experience challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe there will be lessons learned and actions taken that will have a positive impact on the planet. We anticipate reduced travel and have updated our travel policy and booking process to strongly encourage virtual meetings, whenever possible. As our offices reopen, new hybrid working policies are being put in place to promote a mix of home and in-office working for employees.
  • We are also making 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

  • Our National Operations Headquarters in Knoxville, TN achieved LEED Gold certification in 2010

  • 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 in 2007

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

  • Maintain on-going Gold membership with the U.S. Green Building Council

  • Installed car charging stations in our Sterling, VA office and our Knoxville, TN office

  • Removing single-use plastics from our global offices through efforts including installation of refillable water stations and removing plastics from vending services. Our London office also accepts reusable cups in their cafe. Disposable cups are available for a fee, which is donated to Project C.A.T., our wildlife conservation initiative focused on the protection of wild tigers

  • 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%

  • Composting in two of our New York City offices as well as our Los Angeles, Knoxville, London, and Paris offices

  • 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 2021, 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 4 years, with the chapters actively pursuing green initiatives in their respective offices

  • With the opening of our employee cafe in our new Global Headquarters building in New York City in November 2021, we rolled out a reusable container service called Re:Dish which is a sustainable solution to food packaging waste. The containers are made of high quality, BPA Free Polypropylene, NSF certified as well as microwavable & freezer safe.

  • In 2021, our business unit in Discovery New Zealand and Australia met the requirements of Toitu CarbonReduce certification, having measured the ANZ organization’s greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with ISO 14064-1:2018 and committing to managing and reducing emissions

  • Updated: 12/22/2021  

  • Renewable Energy

  • Discovery is proud to support renewable energy and since 2017, we have progressively expanded our commitment to minimizing our environmental footprint through strategic investments in global projects. Our team has set the following goals to meet this commitment:
  • Goal: Achieve net zero (scopes 1 & 2) by 2030 with 100% renewable energy
    • Progress: Discovery set this public goal in December 2021, and is working to begin to make progress against the goal. Discovery already prioritizes off-site renewable energy purchases for 100% of its emissions, and is identifying other ways to invest in renewable energy infrastructure.

  • Goal: Report annual progress towards 100% renewable energy to RE100

    • Progress: As we work towards our net zero goal, we are also strengthening our approach by working to align our renewable energy procurement strategy with RE100 standards. As a new member of RE100, we have committed to reporting our progress annually through our CDP response.

  • Our team has made continuous progress each year towards Discovery’s renewable energy strategy and goals:
  • 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.

  • In 2018, Discovery acquired Scripps Networks Interactive and while the footprint grew with this business change, we continued to uphold our renewable energy commitment by purchasing RECs to offset 100% of the annual electricity consumption across our U.S. and international offices.

  • In 2019, Discovery again offset 100% of its global electricity consumption through the purchase of RECs. In addition to progressively increasing our renewable energy procurement to offset electricity usage (Scope 2) from 2017 to 2019, in 2019 we purchased carbon offsets to account for our global Scope 1 emissions and certain Scope 3 emissions.

  • In 2020, in addition to purchasing carbon offsets and RECs to account for 100% of global Scope 1 emissions, Scope 2 emissions, and certain Scope 3 emissions, we refined our purchasing strategy by identifying renewable energy projects in regions closer to where facilities are located. In addition, Discovery reported to CDP for the first time to be transparent and share climate-related data and information with investors.

  • Updated: 12/22/2021