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Helping to limit the environmental impact of events 

Earth Day is celebrated globally and always on April 22, marking the necessary efforts required to secure the future of the planet.

Some big changes are needed in order to scale back the damage caused by humans living on Earth, but sometimes that can feel overwhelming for just one person looking to make a difference.

Everything that happens has an impact on the environment, negatively or positively, from the creation of clothes or drinking coffee through to driving to work or attending an event.

In particular, festival- or event-goers may not think too hard about the impact of the event they are attending might have, but anything from energy required, the pollution of the local environment, travel and waste are side-effects of major events.

A green pledge

However, a number of organisers and promoters have recognised this and have attempted to limit the environmental impact of hosting a major event. Take the UK’s flagship festival Glastonbury for example, which has always had a focus on the environment. Organisers ask attendees to abide by ‘the green pledge’ alongside official efforts, which includes taking all belongings home and leaving no trace, recycling where possible, using the facilities provided as to not damage the land and water, and to limit the need for single-use plastics.

Another UK festival, Download, has also made recent changes to its event to accommodate being more environmentally friendly. The festival now offers a ‘Circular Camping’ option, which offers punters clean, up-cycled tents and camping equipment to rent out, concentrating on this theme of leaving no trace after the event has finished.

Download has also partnered with Trees for Cities, a UK charity that aims to plant trees and make cities greener spaces. By partnering with the charity, organisers hope to balance out the CO2 emissions caused by attendees travelling to Download.

Encouraging greener ways of transport to and from an event is just one way that events and festivals can help to limit their environmental impact.

Scott Graham, general manager of A Greener Festival, a non-profit organisation that is dedicated to improving sustainability within the events sector, explains that there are a few easy ways in which organisers and promoters can limit environmental impact.

Graham told TheTicketingBusiness.com: “There are lots of ways events can reduce their impact, and every little bit helps. Examples include: promoting and encouraging audiences to choose lower emission methods of travel, such as trains and buses, or encourage car-sharing as much as possible.”

Graham added: “Use renewable or lower emission energy sources wherever possible, and make sure energy is used as efficiently as possible. Try and eliminate single-use plastic and encourage reusable water bottles. Reduce waste by encouraging reuse and recycling as much as possible. Offer and encourage plant-based food offerings and buy local as much as possible.”

A Greener Festival has worked for the last 15 years to help events, venues and tours to reduce their environmental impact. The non-profit organisation does this through specialised award and accreditation services to help measure, report and improve aspects to be more sustainable. It also offers bespoke consultancy, training and CO2 analysis services.

Venue management and entertainment company ASM Global has also pledged to put forward its UK venues for A Greener Arena certification, a scheme run by A Greener Festival. The company announced today (Friday) that its entire UK-based portfolio will undergo the certification process to become more sustainable.  OVO Arena Wembley is already undergoing the certification process and will be closely followed by other major ASM Global venues, with A Greener Arena advising on the changes needed to be greener.

Most recently, a report from A Greener Festival revealed that British rock band Bring Me The Horizon had cut its touring emissions by 38%.

The tour was the first major arena tour in the UK since the pandemic and took place in September last year. The tour reduced emissions by using renewable fuel for trucks, introducing the consumption of plant-based meals, food waste reduction and the use of energy-efficient equipment. Organisers also prevented the use of roughly 3,322 plastic bottles by implementing water coolers and a plastic bottle ban.

All tour stakeholders backed the initiative including Bring Me The Horizon’s management, Raw Power Management, United Talent Agency, promoter Kilimanjaro and venue, The O2.  These stakeholders shared the cost of the sustainable implementations and tour impact audit.

New initiatives

Major British band Coldplay also announced efforts to mitigate impact while touring. Last year, Coldplay announced that they were taking steps to be more green while on tour with hopes to cut direct emissions by 50% compared to their most recent tour between 2016 and 2017.

The band has set out to power shows by renewable, low-emission energy with solar installations at venues, waste cooking oil, a kinetic stadium floor and kinetic bikes powered by the fans. When fans move and dance, they will help to power the concert, with power stored in a mobile and rechargeable show battery.

The tour is also set to offset as much CO2 as possible by planting a tree for every ticket sold, as well as encouraging fans to undertake sustainable practices, such as the low-carbon transport methods mentioned by A Greener Festival’s Graham.

“Individuals can make a huge contribution whilst still having an amazing event experience,” said Graham. “Take public transport or car share where you can, reduce single-use plastic wherever possible, reduce meat intake and try those delicious plant-based options, be sensitive with the local environment, don’t litter, recycle carefully and take your tent home.”

Patrons can make these small changes alongside promoters, venues, event organisers and artists to help limit the environmental impact of events.

Graham added: “The clock is ticking on the climate catastrophe. It’s important for everyone to become aware and do their bit. Large events can be great role models and can be a powerful communication channel for this critical issue.”

Image: ANGELA BENITO on Unsplash