The O2 removes more than 500t of carbon

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The O2 Arena removed 545.9 tonnes of residual carbon during a pilot initiative across The 1975’s four-night residency in February.

The world-first pilot saw the extraction and removal of 136.46 tonnes of residual carbon per show across the four dates, and was undertaken in partnership with carbon removal experts CUR8.

This equated to the yearly electricity usage of 395 average homes. The venue’s owner and operator AEG Europe claims that the initiative has provided a successful blueprint for a more sustainable live event model utilising carbon removals.

The London venue also worked with sustainable event specialists A Greener Future (AGF) as part of the pilot.

“With the success of this world-first pilot series of arena events, we’ve proven that it’s possible to run an arena-size live show which doesn’t compromise on a great fan experience but still accounts for the impact it has on the environment,” said AEG Europe director of sustainability, Sam Booth.

“We hope this serves as a wakeup call to the wider industry that carbon removals are a viable solution that can be used to operate live events, but they need buy-in from everyone in the live ecosystem in order to be a success – from venues and promoters right the way through to artists themselves.

“We’re fully committed to continuing to innovate and find even more ways to make our world-class events across AEG Europe more sustainable, as we strive for a low-carbon future for the live industry.”

A total of 75.7% of emissions from The 1975 shows – which formed part of the band’s ‘Still…At Their Very Best’ tour – came from fan travel, which was covered by a combination of venue investment and a 90p ($1.12/€1.05) contribution from fans. This was incorporated into the original ticket price.

Contrastingly, just 3.95% of the nightly carbon footprint came from arena operations. This was predominantly driven by electricity usage and staff travel.

Additionally, the O2’s hospitality partner Levy UK + Ireland accounted for the removal costs of its own operations, with carbon emissions for food and beverages across each show coming in at 7.46%, of which 85% was due to beverages.

This figure was aided by the introduction of initiatives, including a new food menu (which generated 30% less carbon) as well as the launch of Notpla serveware. The 100% biodegradable product has a 70% lower carbon footprint than standard serveware and can be processed in The O2’s on-site biodigester and wormery.

The O2 has also invested in a permanent reusable cup scheme and cup-washing machines powered by electricity from renewable resources.

“The O2 and AGF have demonstrated the art of the possible,” said Mark Stevenson, co-founder of CUR8.

“We cannot have a live music industry where the only route to net-zero is to not exist. By using carbon removals to mitigate the complex ‘audience travel’ or ‘scope 3 emissions’ problem, all within the existing business model of live events, these concerts demonstrate a possible future – one that speaks to life well lived on a planet well loved.”

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