The O2 claims a first with carbon-removed concerts plan

The O2, London

Image supplied by AEG Europe / Jason Hawkes

The O2 has announced plans to host what it claims will be the world’s first carbon-removed arena events at The 1975’s headline shows in February 2024.

AEG Europe, the owner and operator of the London venue, said these pilot events will use a portfolio of carbon removal methods to physically extract the carbon generated by the events from the atmosphere and durably store it out of harm’s way. The process – developed with carbon removal specialist CUR8 – is described as “a game-changing step” on the path to helping the global live events industry reach genuine net-zero.

If successful, the intention for these pilot events is to create a best practice-model for venues, promoters and tours worldwide on how to execute a carbon-removed event. It also aims to encourage and inspire the reduction of carbon emissions in the live entertainment industry as it transitions to a low-carbon future.

Sam Booth, AEG Europe’s director of sustainability, said: “We’re incredibly proud to be hosting the world’s first carbon removed events here at The O2. The perfect large-scale carbon-free event does not currently exist, but while the industry continues to innovate and improve to reduce emissions to their lowest possible level, carbon removals will remain an important piece of the puzzle.

“As a world-leading venue, we have a responsibility to create a path for real change, and it’s our hope that this event will not only deliver the same best-in-class experience that fans expect at The O2, but also one that’s supporting vital climate work and is better for the planet.”

Predict the emissions of an event

AEG Europe said that with A Greener Future’s expertise the venue can now predict the emissions of an event in advance of it taking place, based on expected outputs for categories including catering, transport and electricity, which equates to over 100 tonnes per show for The 1975 at The O2.

Using this data, the cost of removing the carbon associated with the events can be folded into the existing business model. AEG Europe, alongside The O2 arena’s hospitality partner Levy UK + Ireland, have accounted for the removal costs in their operations, while emissions for audience travel are estimated based on travel surveys and covered by a 90p investment which has been incorporated into the event ticket price.

Booth added: “Thank you to The 1975, CUR8, A Greener Future and all of our partners who have collaborated with us on this – it’s going to be game-changing not just for us but the industry as a whole, and is a fantastic way to kick off an exciting 2024 at The O2.”

The O2 became the first venue in England to achieve Greener Arena certification in December 2022, and has been working closely with A Greener Future on how to best quantify and reduce the emissions resulting from live events.

The O2 is also developing a Green Rider for incoming tours and productions – a document containing recommendations for how to make more sustainable choices and reduce the overall environmental impact of live events, due to be released later this year.