In light of last week’s ‘World Earth Day’, it sparked me off on a trail of looking into sustainability within the entertainment industry. If you’ve watched Sir David Attenborough’s latest documentary, ‘A Life On Our Planet’ (if you haven’t, you should), then you’ll know all too well that we must make a change, as humans, in order to preserve the integrity of planet Earth. Everyone must play their part in order to do this, so as we are involved in the Entertainment industry, I wanted to see two things;
1 – How live music events can become more sustainable.
2 – How we, as a business, can look to become more sustainable and eco-friendly, on top of what we already do.
So, step one… How can live music events can become more sustainable?
Festivals and live music events require a lot of planning, so it’s understandable why sustainability may not be at the forefront of people’s minds when preparing for one. However, it’s so easy to make small changes to ensure events are more conscious of the environment. I’ve been researching into many UK based (and even international) events, to hopefully inspire even one person, to consider making some changes to how they plan their next event.
For example, The Beacon Festival in Watlington is providing a free shuttle bus to and from the festival site; from Watlington Town to the farm, and offers camping. The Neighbourhood Weekender in Warrington are taking the following steps;
Water bottles: No single-use plastic bottles will be on the site. A reusable bottle scheme will be in place instead.
Bar disposables: Unbranded paper cups will be used at the festival.
Merch: Paper bags will be used for merchandise rather than plastic bags.
Waste: All waste will be recycled, composted or follow the waste energy process.
Glitter: All traders will use biodegradable glitter.
Traders: There will be vegan and vegetarian options and all traders will use compostable disposables.
Just last September, Colchester’s Castle Park was taken over by more than 3,500 environmentally friendly festival-goers for the aptly named ‘Eco Festival’ – inspiring its attendees to be kinder to the environment. E-cargo bikes were the main mode of transport for all of the event organisers set up and take down activities. Volunteer co-ordinator at Eco Colchester Grace Darke said: “Festivals of any description, in any location, could use the Eco Festival as a framework to ensure they are minimising their environmental impact.” At the festival were over 70 environmentally themed stalls including local environment groups showcasing their projects, and local businesses offering sustainable products and services. The event was such a success that it’s coming back, bigger and better this year.
Another simple way to reduce carbon-footprints and damaging impacts on the environment is a simple one – PAPERLESS TICKETING. By now, the majority of us have some form of electronic device that allows us to book tickets and store them. As well as reducing deforestation, going paperless minimises CO2 emissions (making one ton of paper emits over 1.5 tons of CO2 equivalent) and saves water (it takes more than 1.5 cups of water to make just one sheet of paper!). This can be transposed into paperless food menus for stallholders too!
Across the globe, bigger and bigger events are taking on sustainability as a key focus for their event… Terraforma in Italy, DGTL in the Netherlands and We Love Green in France. It’s something that everyone can incorporate, even in small discreet ways, to look after the planet, and ensure music events can continue for generations to come.
And now for step two… How can we, as a business, look to become more sustainable and eco-friendly?
Well, we like to think we’re already quite eco-conscious, but we know there’s always more we can be doing. In December of last year, we introduced our new climate pledge, teaming up with Ecologi to fund projects around the world to create real change for our planet and community. We’ve already planted over 100 real trees in real forests in the UK and beyond, and we’ll continue to plant a shiny new tree for every single performance we stage in 2022 – which, judging by how busy the schedule is looking, there’s going to be a lot of tree planting going on!
In addition to this, we’ve funded projects to reduce CO2 output for every mile our teams drive; that’s already more than 17,000 miles (or 7.06 tonnes of CO2!) and we’ll continue to invest throughout the coming years to not just offset our CO2 output, but to go further and offset even more whilst also exploring new travel options and vehicles; making us a truly Climate Positive workforce. Although we have our Stoke based studio, our staff work from home more often that not, to reduce the carbon footprint on miles travelled to and from the office. On days where their presence is required, we look to arrange lift shares and encourage the use of public transport, to reduce the amount of vehicles we are putting on the road.
To take things further, we are looking to;
– Increase the amount of recycling we do in the office, as well as personally at home.
– Produce digitally accessible brochures, business cards and other business related documents.
– Work with other sustainable businesses for any freelance work/collaborations.
– Purchase consumables (tea, coffee, sugar, milk, hand wash, washing up liquid etc) from sustainable, eco-friendly businesses.
– Measure our carbon footprint and offset this by involving ourselves in sustainability projects worldwide.
And I’m sure there’ll be more we discover that we can do along the way!
So in conclusion, there’s a lot the industry (and us personally here at Valcato) can do to be more planet-conscious. From small every day things, to bigger industry-wide movements, we want to start the ball rolling so we will be taking some time over the next few months to look at how we can develop our business to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Take this time now to have a think on how you can make an impact… and remember, in the words of Tesco, every little helps!
Ciao for now, Otti x