– The Power Behind Festivals (PDF); a comprehensive guide compiled by the Green Festival Alliance.
– UK Festivals to Clean Up Their Act (PDF); an article by Hannah Rossmorris.
– ‘Green’n'Clean’ (PDF); a booklet produced by Yourope, the European Festival’s Association (www.yourope.org).
– Click here to download a joint statement on offsetting carbon emissions by FRIENDS OF THE EARTH, GREENPEACE & WWF-UK.
– Click here for Environmental Legislation (PDF download); a factsheet produced by our own Ben Challis.
CO2: The Challenge
The cross music industry initiative on climate change, Julie’s Bicycle (www.juliesbicycle.com) say that transforming to a low carbon emissions society will involve:
- Energy conse rvation and efficiency;
- Switching to renewable and alternative energy sources;
- Embracing innovative, low carbon technologies;
- Regulatory and market instruments to promote be havioural change
Julie’ Bicycles First Step report initial proposals include:
1) Switching to green (i.e. low carbon emissions) electricity tariff or, better still, a 100% renewable energy sourcing.
2) Exploring an industry-wide initiative on low carbon CD packaging.
3) Installing low carbon lighting (eg LED) in live music venues.
4) Identifying, and highlighting all options for beacon travel plans for event goers, especially those already operating, as well as transferring music companies’ taxi contracts to ‘green’ suppliers.
The music industry is centrally influential in lifestyle choices and therefore has an opportunity to be an important leader in the transformation to a low carbon economy.
A Brief Guide to Renewable Energy
Everyone talks about “renewable” and “sustainable” energy but ever since we realised that vast tracts of virgin rainforest were being cut down to feed the demand for palm oil, it is important to know where energy really comes from. Well first of all, it seems coal fired power stations are just about the worst of everything, polluting, inefficient and with a worrying carbon footprint – but of course coal is plentiful and cheap. So what are the alternatives?
Carbon Dioxide & Global Warming
CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) emissions contribute to the growing issue of climate change.
Festivals Carbon Emissions
Events often involve the use of generators powered by diesel or petrol. The number of cars traveling to events, guests and artists flying to events. Even indoor events will use the mains electricity which adds to overall carbon emissions. The level of CO2 emissions at events needs to be continually reduced.
Festival organisers might consider:
- Use no mains power or petrol/diesel, running only on solar, wind, bio-diesel or other renewable source power. Apply the same rules to traders.
- Carefully consider environmental efficiency in traffic management.
- Minimise the use of on-site vehicles and use electric or bio-diesel powered vehicles.
- If hiring a shuttle bus try to find one powered by renewable energy.
- Joining a Carbon Neutral Scheme, although reduction/elimination is better than off-setting.
- Calculate and aim to neutralize your events carbon footprint
From an internet survey of 649 festival visitors the following was found with regards to attitudes to waste management at events:
- Whether CO2 emissions are a negative environmental impact of festivals had the largest ‘not sure’ response at 36%. 30% agreed or strongly agreed, and 36% disagreed or strongly disagreed.
The high ‘not sure’ response may be due to some lack of understanding as to what CO2 emissions are or how they are created, or possibly an uncertainly to the inner workings of festival logistics.
Artist opinions could have a bearing [on a festivals environmental efficiency]. Some artists such as Coldplay have joined the Carbon Neutral scheme whereby measures are taken to counterbalance the CO2 emissions created when they tour.
Chris Kemp, Dean of Leisure & Tourism, BCUC
Events such as Big Green Gathering, Kingston Green Fair, and Glastonbury’s Green Fields use no mains power or petrol, running only on solar, wind and gas power. Not only does this improve environmental efficiency, such things as solar panels can be an attractive addition to the overall aesthetics of your event. Far more attractive than a smelly, noisy, polluting generator!
Buddahfields also use wind and solar power to power their events. Nick Ladd (The Glade) highlights that the draw from such sources is limited and can only be used for smaller stages at festivals. This indicates that there is some development in the technologies available before widespread implementation is possible in certain areas. Combined methods are a good starting point.
The use of solar panels, for example, could initially work out more expensive if investing in new equipment or hiring in for large power requirements.
- When asked whether an increased ticket price for an event would be acceptable if for the purpose of environmental improvement 57% agreed or strongly agreed. Only 19% of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed with this statement.
This response indicates that the majority of festival-goers would be happy to share the additional costs (if any) that environmental improvements may bring.
One festival-goer commented that “only rich people can afford to go” if expenses go too high. This highlights the need to consider social impacts and effects alongside environmental elements.
UK & EU Legislation
At European level the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) sets an emissions ‘cap’ (level to which CO 2 emissions must be reduced) which is shared out between participants based on market share or by auctioning. Phase 1 covers only fixed ground industrial installations, but phase 2 (to be implemented 01/01/08) will extend its scope and enforce more demanding targets (EAC, 2005). It is therefore possible that such demands could affect music festivals.
The UK government is increasing its policy framework for environmental protection. For example, one domestic target is to reduce emissions of CO2 20% by 2010, and 50% by 2050 (Defra, 2005; EAC, 2005). The government also believes that emissions charges and taxation should be considered in addition to the EMS trading scheme (HMG, 2005). This is another financial incentive for all business to act now to reduce their emissions to avoid future costs.