Vision: 2025’s annual Industry Green Survey has found that local authorities in the UK are more interested in the sustainability efforts of an event, and that festivals and shows are now more concerned about their overall carbon footprint.
Despite these concerns however, only 24% of the survey respondents have a net zero strategy in place, and only 45% are currently measuring their carbon footprint – fewer than the number of events in 2021.
Local authority expectations have also changed with 17% of events reporting that there was a request for information about sustainability in 2022, and a further 24% said that it has been indicated that this information will be required in the near future.
This means that in 2023, some 41% of events may be required to provide information on sustainability efforts to local authorities.
Festivals and events are also using grid connections more, with almost a quarter of respondents reporting that they are now using grid as part of their energy mix.
The survey also found that 38% of events put new measures for recycling in place, 37% used a programme, project or consultancy to help improve sustainability and 28% employed a new environmental policy, action plan or public campaign.
Some 17.4% of organisations don’t currently have a role with a remit in place that includes sustainability and of the organisations that do have a sustainability role since 2021 or earlier, 70% have maintained the same or similar hours, and 30% have increased dedicated capacity.
The most common sustainable actions taken by festivals and events include reusable cups at bars (80%), waste strategy to increase recycling (78%) and monitoring fuel use (76%).
The majority of events are now also using LED festoon and monitoring generators and a third have now tried using battery units, an increase of 25% in 2021.
Around half of events that responded have comprehensive travel services in place such as shuttle buses, dedicated coaches and cycle parking. Four out of five events are communicating to audiences about travel choices, but only 50% are doing this with crew and less than 40% with artists or suppliers.
Event organisers are struggling to tackle aspects such as travel and reducing emissions; working with traders on food sustainability; clarity on the sustainability of certain materials and waste process; reusable cable ties and working with contractors to reduce plastic is a theme again this year.
Other barriers include cost, time and capacity within the organisation and difficulty engaging contractors or suppliers to deliver more sustainable options.