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Oya festival keeps sustainability close to it’s heart

Our lovely environmental assessor Penny has been out and about this year looking at festivals who have applied for our Greener Festival Awrad and she managed to get to the  Oya Festival in Norway and was very impressed by their green efforts. This is Penny’s summary of Oya’s efforts and we hope you find this interesting.

“Oya is built on high sustainability principles that seem to infiltrate right through the event. On its website green pages, it describes its aims to be one of the most environmentally sound festivals in Norway and to give our visitors an opportunity to act in an environmentally conscious way as well. At the event, its clear that the organisers give their audience an opportunity to act responsibly with regards to the environment, as well as being encouraged to think about the issues.

The Oya organisers have worked hard to understand what they can do to contribute to sustainability and have won awards in the process. They participated in the development of the criteria for Eco-Lighthouse certification (www.eco-lighthouse.com ) of festivals in Norway and gained the certification for Oya Festival. The certification is based on a complex set of demands, including a lower environmental strain on the festival site and the implementation of environmental measures both before and after the event has taken place. These measures include specific targets for the reduction of CO2 emissions, an environmental buying policy to measure what is bought and ensure that it is eco-labelled as far as possible, to reduce waste by choosing minimal packaging and store or re-use items and materials, to provide organic food from Oslo caterers and to select shorter transportation distances for goods and materials.

Some particular features of the event were:

  • An eco-friendly diaper (nappy) change stand supported by the Nordic Ecolabelling organisation. The stand also supplied eco-labelled sunblock for both children and adults.
  • The use of renewable electricity from the national grid across most parts of the site.
  • Being close to the centre of Oslo, the audience were encouraged to walk or use the good public transport system, including subsidised fares (by Oyacard) for festival ticket holders.
  • Heads of each festival department held meetings with an agenda item to describe sustainability achievements in their arrangements and make a co-ordinated effort in all areas.
  • Production runner CO2 emissions were calculated for each requested journey and sent to requestor to consider before booking transport.
  • Eco driving classes for production drivers.
  • Several new emission-saving production cars (2 hydrogen cars and 2 electric cars)
  • The use of hand-carts around the site, to distribute supplies, collect rubbish etc.
  • The contribution by Nature and Youth, Norway’s biggest environmental NGO for young people, to collecting waste and sorting the waste in up to different streams.
  • Organic food waste is used in the biogas production that fuels the garbage trucks and busses in Oslo. (Source Retura)
  • The audience gets the deposit back on drink containers, holders, pizza and popcorn boxes and cigarette butts could also be collected for a ‘refund’.

Finally, Oya Festival was instrumental in producing an Environmental Handbook for Festivals and Outdoor Events. This is available in English and while there are differences between countries, (for example, no landfill is carried out in Norway and all energy is from renewable source of water power) this is a very useful resource for any event”.

Oya’s website is at http://oyafestivalen.com/ and for the handbook see http://www.environmental-handbook.com/)