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Green Events & Innovations: CONFERENCE UPDATE

We were just so pleased to welcome over 80 delegates and speakers to London’s SouthBank Centre on March 16th 2012 for our third  Green Events & Innovations conference and it turned out to be a fantastic day which we co-hosted with Bucks New University. With visitors from accross the UK and from the Netherlands and France coming for the one day conference, (held during Climate Week) we had a series of most excellent panels which covered food at festivals, new green innovations, the Greener Festival Awards, new developments in sustainability in film and TV production, water resources at festivals and a panel on the ‘economics of green’ in relation to festivals.

One of the key sessions from the morning session was the Food Panel curated by Sustain,  the alliance for better food and farming, advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, enrich society and culture and promote equity. Suatain represents around 100 national public interest organisations working at international, national, regional and local level. More on this area at (www.sustainweb.org/). Already working with the London 2012 Olympics, Sustain  are looking to work with more festivals so there are clear opportunities for events here.

We also had a really great short keynote speech given by Sandy Strallen from WaterAid who kicked off the afternoon session and made the damning observation that “At this very moment 2.4 billion people on the planet or one third of our global village population – suffer from official water stress” with Sandy adding ” In other words, one third of the world’s population is actively disabled from contributing to the global commonwealth at anything above subsistence level owing to the simple inability to ensure clean safe water and hygienic sanitation for themselves. The paradox is that this is directly as a result of the inequities of global water distribution and the water stresses this creates. One third of the world’s population has too little water and the finger really does point – at its own end.” Thanks Sandy, you inspired us!

One of the other key features of the event was the Green Innovations panel which featured Claire O’Neill (AIF), Ali Own Thomas (Firefly Solar) and Helen Heathfield from Julies Bicycle. All three organisations (along with AGF) are founding members of the Green Festival Alliance which “brings together promoters and suppliers committed to acting on climate change to identify and speed up the adoption of sustainable practices at festivals through innovation and collective action”. Other founding members include Bestival, Festival Republic, Glastonbury Festivals Ltd , Shambala Festival / Kambe Events Ltd.  The Alliance presented their ongoing research into renewable power the Innovation event, and extended their invitation to promoters to feed into the priorities for research this summer.   For more info on the Alliance check the webpage: http://www.juliesbicycle.com/about-jb/green-festival-alliance. Contact info@greenfestivalalliance.org.uk.

One of the other developments from the Conference was that we will now be hosting a series of web pages to highlight new initiatives from festivals – so we can all share and see what works and what perhaps doesn’t work – its clear that there are some great festivals out there who are more than happy to share their great ideas. Festivals attending this year included Bestival, Green Man, Festival Republic (Reading, Leeds, Latitude), V Festival, Croissant Neuf Summer Party, Hadra Trance, Shambala, Camp Bestival, Glastonbury, Thames Festival, The Showman’s Show, London Green Fair, Sunrise Summer Celebration and Leamington Peace Festival.  Suppliers attending included WaterMills, Belu Water, Firefly Solar, Robertson Taylor Insurance Brokers, Squid & Pear Event catering, NEP Visions, Festival Loos, Natural Event and the Eat Street Collective.

We have also agreed that this website will also host a ‘resources’ page for material and links from the last three Green Innovations conferences (2009, 2011 and 2012) so we can build on the conference year on year. Hopefully this will build into a useful database of innovators and instigators, suppliers and event organisers who are involved in green events and sustainable production.

Lastly it just remains to thank our lovely caterers Eden Caterers (http://www.eden-caters.co.uk/) who made the whole day even more enjoyable. Cheers!

Any festivals who want to submit details of green initiatives they have successfully implemented – we want to hear from you! Please email details to us at agreenerfestival@aol.com  – with the text in English (and if appropriate the original language of publication) along with any logo or appropriate image / photo!