Sustainability

Leonardo DiCaprio "Before the Flood"

21st Century Fox businesses have received a total of four nominations from the Environmental Media Association, whose awards honor film and television productions that increase public awareness of environmental issues and inspire personal action to correct them.

21CF’s National Geographic earned two nominations in the Documentary Film category for From the Ashes and Before the Flood. From the Ashes, produced with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, takes on compelling stories to explore the reality of coal’s role in climate change, as well as human health and the economy, while offering solutions that could help revive struggling mining towns and protect the environment. Before the Flood follows Leonardo DiCaprio across five continents as he explores the effect of climate change on local communities around the world, as well as the political and social forces standing in the way of possible solutions.

Nat Geo focused on getting the film’s important message seen as widely as possible. In addition to broadcasting the documentary in 171 countries and holding screening events at the White House with President Obama and at the UN with Secretary John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, Nat Geo made Before the Flood freely available across a record-breaking number of linear, digital, and social platforms. Nat Geo also hosted free screenings that doubled as voter registration drives across 50 college campuses in the months leading up to the US presidential election. With more than 60 million viewers worldwide, Before the Flood is the most watched Nat Geo film ever, and one of the most watched documentaries in history.

Nat Geo also won a third nomination in the Reality Television category for Years of Living Dangerously’s “Collapse of the Oceans.” The documentary TV series features respected journalists and celebrities who travel around the world interviewing people affected by, and offering solutions to, the impacts of climate change. At the premiere of the second season of the series, held at the American Museum of Natural History for more than 800 guests, National Geographic Global Networks CEO Courteney Monroe remarked, "Truly great storytelling connects with audiences profoundly. This is especially true when it explores themes that transcend our differences and reflect universal values, like the human connection to the planet. And on the important topic of climate change, National Geographic, given its reach and reputation, is in the unique and enviable position to tell stories with real potential to make a difference in the world.”

FOX’s The Simpsons also received a nomination in the TV Comedy category. The animated series, which will soon start its record-breaking 29th season, has won eight previous EMA awards including last year for its episode “Teenage Mutant Milk-Caused Hurdle.” A prize this year would mark the third consecutive win for the show.

"This year's remarkable slate of nominees is a testament to the continued dedication and commitment that the entertainment community has on the environmental issues we are facing," said EMA President and CEO Debbie Levin. "The EMA Awards will not only further amplify the voices and messages of each of these programs and films, but also inspire a new generation of activists in the film, television and new media community to produce environmental content; it is through these channels where storytelling has the power to educate and ignite change."

Over 70 Fox film and television projects have also received an EMA Green Seal, which recognizes progress and leadership in sustainable production.

The 2017 annual Environmental Media Association Awards Ceremony will take place in Los Angeles on September 23, and will be hosted by Jaden Smith, an EMA member.


National Geographic Coal Industry Documentary

From June 26 until July 3, audiences can watch From the Ashes, National Geographic’s new feature documentary about the coal industry, for free on YouTube, Amazon, Facebook, and several more streaming services. The documentary, from Emmy-nominated director Michael Bonfiglio, examines how the coal industry affects life on the planet, as well as how communities across America continue to address its legacy. National Geographic initially broadcast From the Ashes on June 25 and will continue to roll the film out globally across 171 countries and 45 languages.

From the Ashes is more relevant than ever. The film explores the complexities of the coal industry and its impact on the environment, economy and public health,” said Tim Pastore, president of original programming and production for National Geographic channels. “At National Geographic, we are committed to furthering the national dialogue on clean energy and are thrilled to make From the Ashes available for free across such a wide array of streaming platforms.”

Viewers can watch From the Ashes on Natgeotv.com and all Nat Geo TV Apps across iOS and Android devices, Apple TV, Roku, and Samsung Connected TVs. A commercial-free version is available to stream on YouTube, Facebook, Hulu, Amazon, Google Play, and VOD.

The documentary convenes coal miners, renewable energy leaders, politicians, public health experts, activists, and more to explore every side of the coal industry debate, from the impact of burning coal on climate change to the economic challenges facing communities that rely on the coal industry for jobs. In an interview with National Geographic, Bonfiglio spoke about his efforts to de-politicize these issues and present them fairly and informatively.  

“Our approach was really to try and remove some of the inherent partisan and polarizing nature of the subject matter,” he said. “We just drew information in, looking at multiple sides of a story, trying to provide people with information and facts they probably haven't thought about… And I do hope that [the film] will offer a starting point to talk about some of these issues.”

From the Ashes initially premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival and has since launched a CrowdRise campaign to support organizations working to diversify economies in regions affected by the coal industry’s decline. Bloomberg Philanthropies, a partner on the film, will match all donations up to $3 million and has also organized a worldwide screening tour, including screenings in Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, San Francisco, Vancouver, Washington, Brussels, London, Mexico City, and Paris. The film has also screened at more than 200 colleges and universities throughout the U.S.

Lean more about From the Ashes, and watch the full-length documentary for free on the platforms above by July 3.


FoxGives Peru

On May 28, a group of LA-based Fox colleagues touched down in Huarmey, Peru to support the country’s flood relief efforts. Organized by FoxGives, the group partnered with All Hands Volunteers, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting with disaster relief across the globe. Peru has suffered from intense excessive rainfall over the last six months, resulting in numerous landslides, flash flooding, and mudflows. The Peruvian government has reported 700,000 people homeless, 18,000 houses inhabitable, and 928 schools destroyed, with numbers steadily rising. Huarmey, the location for the program, was highlighted as an area that had received limited help after it had recently been hit with a massive mudslide.

Working alongside the Peru Flood Response Program, the FoxGives team spent a week in Huarmey cleaning out mud and debris from local homes. The team also helped repair homes that had retained their infrastructure and demolishing ones that needed to be rebuilt. One Spanish-speaking member of the FoxGives team assisted with translations and site assessments while another colleague from National Geographic helped with media and mapping of the town. “The whole group not only integrated well into our project but actually went above and beyond to help with translations and media and community engagement projects,” said Josceline Cuff, Project Director of All Hands Volunteers. The team also raised funds on the Fox lot to contribute to other relief efforts in Peru.

“As people whose job it is to tell impactful, unique, and ultimately human stories, a trip like the one I experienced in Peru, seems required. Not only did I leave feeling like I had genuinely made a difference in Huarmey, but my scope of the world has broadened as well,” reflected Fox volunteer Emily Wolfe at the end of the trip.

Head to FoxGives to learn more and check out photos from Peru.

FoxGives Peru


Sustainability Depaul Fox Sports University

Photo by Jamie Moncrief for DePaul University

Public Relations students at DePaul University in Chicago met with senior executives from 21st Century Fox, FOX Sports, and Major League Baseball on June 5 to pitch new project ideas and marketing campaigns for the companies’ joint environmental sustainability efforts. The presentation was the result of a semester-long partnership between DePaul and the FOX Sports University program, which allows college students the chance to work directly with sports industry professionals on a real-world problem facing their business. DePaul students were charged with creating new public messaging strategies that raise awareness of FOX Sports and MLB’s sustainability initiatives throughout the baseball season.

“We would love to thank FOX Sports, 21st Century Fox, and MLB for giving us such a rich assignment,” said Don Ingle, whose PR class at DePaul took part in FOX Sports University this spring. “Our students take so much pride in [this program], and it would not be possible without FOX Sports University specifically going to Major League Baseball and getting them to agree that this was the right time and that we were the right school to be doing this kind of campaign... I’ve never seen any class have this much professional involvement from beginning to end.”

Ingle’s class of 24 students worked for ten weeks to create the marketing campaigns, drawing on the MLB’s nearly decade-long history of environmental sustainability, which includes projects on LED lighting, recycling, water conservation, and more. The students worked in four teams of six to immerse themselves in MLB sustainability and pitched projects and campaigns such as expanded bike sharing opportunities at the All-Star Game and a baseball giveaway with the slogan “Strike Out Your Footprint” stamped on each ball. The teams also created public service announcements about sustainability designed to air during key points in the season, such as the playoffs and the World Series, which is broadcast on FOX Sports.

“The sustainability effort is important because [sports] is a platform that reaches so many people,” said junior Melissa Bellew. “Almost everyone is interested in at least one professional sport, and if they see the players or their favorite team practicing sustainability, fans will be more likely to [do so, as well].”

FOX Sports and MLB executives worked directly with the students throughout the semester to offer professional guidance. They briefed the students on the project at the beginning of the term, checked in via conference call mid-way through, and returned to Chicago on June 5 to hear the students’ pitches in person. This model is typical of FOX Sports University partnerships, which seek to give students as much hands-on experience in the sports industry as possible.

"I've learned more about myself and my strengths in relation to a team than in any other class," said Caroline Fronczak, a senior public relations and advertising student. "I know this experience will be something I take with me as I pursue a career in the sports industry."

FOX Sports University is now in its ninth year and works with nearly 40 universities across the U.S., devising individual projects and convening unique business partners for each participating school. The program allows students to apply the skills they learn in the classroom to real-world business challenges and provides FOX Sports with fresh insights from the industry’s next generation of leaders. To date, more than 5,000 students have participated in FOX Sports University, nearly 100 of whom have gone on to work for FOX Sports, either through internships or full-time employment. Even more students have been referred to FOX Sports partners for employment opportunities as they approach graduation.

Learn more about FOX Sports University, including a look back at some of the many projects completed during the 2016-2017 school year.


Television Academy Honors Social Change This Is Us

This Is Us cast with creator Dan Fogelman. Photo courtesy the Television Academy.

At the Tenth Annual Television Academy Honors on June 8, three programs from 21st Century Fox businesses were recognized for harnessing “the extraordinary power of television to advance social change.” The honorees included National Geographic’s Before the Flood, a documentary from Academy Award winners Leonardo DiCaprio and Fisher Stevens about the global effects of climate change, as well This Is Us and Speechless, two series produced by Twentieth Century Fox Television. Representatives from each program accepted the awards at the Beverly Hills event, which honored six total series drawn from more than 300 submissions.

"With a constant presence in people's daily lives, television consistently demonstrates its ability to power social change,” said Television Academy Chairman and CEO Hayma Washington. “The six honorees have effectively leveraged the medium to raise awareness of complex issues. We are honored to acknowledge storytellers producing meaningful television that provokes important conversations."

Before the Flood follows DiCaprio on a journey across five continents to explore the effects of climate change on our communities, as well as the political and social forces standing in the way of possible solutions. Throughout fall 2016, National Geographic worked to bring the film’s important message not only to government and business leaders but also to as many global viewers as possible, releasing the film across a record-breaking number of linear, digital, and social platforms. As a result, the film garnered more than 60 million viewers around the world, making it the most-watched National Geographic documentary in history.

“Typically, a network would buy a film and put it on their network exclusively, but we really felt that it was important for as many people to see this film as possible,” said Courteney Monroe, CEO of National Geographic Global Networks. “At National Geographic, we believe in the power of storytelling to change the world, and we think there is no more important issue facing our planet today than that of climate change.”

This Is Us is an ensemble drama tackling the full range of social issues that confront the contemporary American family, including marriage, adoption, racial identity, addiction, body image, parenting, and more. Speechless is a comedy series about the family of a teenager with cerebral palsy. The show has sparked new conversations about disability in America and has garnered notable acclaim for its decision to cast an actor with cerebral palsy in the main role. Speechless creator and executive producer Scott Silveri spoke to these points in his acceptance speech.

“The number of people in America with disabilities is a lot, and the number of people with disabilities on television is not a lot, and the number of those people played by actual performers with disabilities is next to none. Sorry to beat you down with statistics, but they don’t lie,” Silveri joked. “The barriers to casting those with disabilities are false and they’re imagined, and the rewards to casting those people are great… Part of our responsibility in what we do is to represent society as a whole, and you can’t do that without representing disability.”

Learn more about the Television Academy Honors, including detailed looks at each of the television projects that were recognized.