National Film Board, Canada

The National Film Board is a federal agency with a mandate to produce and distribute distinct and challenging Canadian films at an international level. From April to October 2008, The Natural Step helped NFB create an institutional framework for sustainability. The Natural Step worked with the NFB’s Green Committee to undertake a systematic analysis of NFB operations, create a vision for a sustainable NFB, and a set of strategic actions to help the organization achieve its vision.

Their vision for 2008-2013 is to make the NFB an industry leader in implementing environmentally sustainable practices. In order to focus the vision into something more tangible, the Green Committee developed seven sub-committees, with each responsible for one of the following specific goals: communication and education, transportation, health and living environment, zero waste, packaging and promotional material, purchasing policy, and going virtual.

While working on its long term sustainability strategy, the NFB has already achieved a number of effective and cost-efficient early wins that are helping them build broader support among staff. These include:

  • Paper-saving initiatives include: NFB study guides now come in electronic format only (PDF); a guide for printing on both sides of the page has been prepared and made available; and program committees and workshops now receive scripts via email rather than on paper.
  • Travel-related green house gases are being reduced by providing access to video conferencing to reduce travel and promoting the use of trains and carpooling (rather than flights) for business trips when possible.
  • Mail is collected once a day instead of twice, and supply deliveries occur once a week instead of daily to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Installation of a sink in the cafeteria has resulted in 50% less use of disposable tableware.
  • Reduced use of heating and air conditioning systems has cut energy consumption by 25,688 hours and reduced air pollution.
  • Several recycling bins are available throughout the building as well as bins for
  • There is now a permanent recycling service for videocassettes, CDs, DVDs and cell phones and batteries near the NFB warehouse.
  • Increasing the computer lifetime from three years to four will reduce NFB’s contribution to dangerous electronic waste.
  • Employees can access regular exercise in the workplace, including free yoga classes offered since 2008.
  • A new intranet section has been created with information about Green Committee activities and a bicycle route and carpooling section to promote active and lower-impact transportation.

Watch a short film about the NFB’s sustainability work here.

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