It’s less than a month until the eleventh edition of the Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI) – the sustainability event for the live music industry – takes place. And do we have a packed schedule of compelling topics for you! Read on

The Bare Essentials: Meals… and Merch?!
Supported by NCASS

With animal agriculture’s deleterious effects on climate change and deforestation becoming increasingly newsworthy, this panel will get its teeth into live music industry catering as we ask questions such as: What is the real impact of what we consume? Is travel honestly the biggest impact of our industry or is our burgeoning appetite for fast, cheap, tasty food, (regardless of its impact on the environment, and our health) bigger than we previously imagined? Does organic tofu actually have a lower impact on climate change than organically reared beef from the neighbouring farm?

With festivals going vegan, food salvage projects, palm oil bans, and the “revival” of forgotten vegetables (surely it’s worth attending GEI just to find out which ones we’ve forgotten…) What effects are our long-term eating habits having on the environment?

We’ll hear from Mark Laurie of The Nationwide Caterers Association (NCASS) who will shine a light on the amazing work of food salvage project, Eighth Plate, which enjoyed a triumphant revival in 2018, resulting in tons of would-be food waste used to feed those in need of nourishment elsewhere on the planet.

We’ll be showcasing a new initiative by NCASS and AGF that discourages food wastage in festival/event catering departments and encourages a culture of food salvage, with the aim of “redirecting” 100 tonnes of food and 400 tonnes of CO2 per year by 2020. So if you run a festival or event, come and find out how to incorporate food salvage and reduce food miles at your event this summer, at little-to-no financial cost!

Finally, we will hear from Nika Brunet from MetalDays (SI), about how even the burly security guards at their Metal Holiday event in the Slovenian mountains, love vegetarian days onsite.

Merch Ado About Nothing: In Search of Ethical Merch

In the second part of this panel, we will be asking why the ethics and impact of food has entered our collective consciousness (with most of us at least slightly aware of the positive and negative impacts of our food choices on the planet and our fellow inhabitants), yet the ethics of our clothing are rarely considered. Yet clothing (unless you’re a naturist or have overdone the LSD) is one of our most basic needs, so why don’t we give the same attention to where our shoes come from, who made them, how far have they travelled, as we do to our dinner? 

How can we be sure our merchandise isn’t encouraging human rights’ abuse in the form of child labour, despicable working conditions and modern slavery? Or environmental degradation through the use of harmful chemicals, deforestation, and uncontrolled pollution to land and water in crop growing and dyes? Or in the case of leather and suede, to the abuse and unnecessary death of other species?

Once an item has been produced and sold, where does it go and what is its lasting impact? Are we producing items that are durable and likely to be used and cherished, or churning out tat destined for landfills, incinerators, or the ocean?

Merchandise allows artists to connection with fans and provides a vital income for artists and promoters – so how can we continue to provide affordable merch whilst still protecting the natural world?

Lastly, we’ll be joined by Mart Drake-Knight from Rapanui, an ethical clothing brand from the Isle of Wight, who will help us lift the bonnet on this important sector of the live events industry.

Circular Live: Campsites, Cups & Other Crap

The circular economy is no longer a niche concept but a very real model for how we can continue to exist without completely depleting our resources.

Single-use plastics remain the hot sustainability topic with straw bans and bottle-top collections happening left, right and centre. Fabulous. But… what does this mean for the plethora of alternative materials being thrown at bars and caterers throughout the festival season, and for new operational models that implement reusables? Where is it ending up and what is “greener” in reality?

Meanwhile, campsites around Europe are still left looking like cut scenes from post-apocalyptic horror movies, seemingly acceptable to the audience and leapt upon and perpetuated by media. But there are actions and collaborations emerging that will help improve, and hopefully overcome, this epidemic of consumer culture.

For the last two years, over 30 festival organisers from around Europe have been meeting to discuss and exchange ideas on reducing so-called “campsite chaos” and their findings and initiatives will be reported at GEI11. Come and find out the best methods of improving the culture of festival waste, as well as the latest research into the behavioural psychology of campers, which has been compiled by A Greener Festival’s very own Teresa Moore. What will it take for people to realise that disposing of an entire camping set-up after three days of use cannot be offset by triumphantly refusing a plastic straw in a drink?

We will be asking why it is that so few festival attendees seem to care? How can we get people to listen when it’s clear that repeating the same rhetoric but more loudly isn’t effectively communicating our message?

Finally, we will hear about the latest research and initiatives that can help festival organisers take control of the materials coming in and out of their events. And we will challenge the eco claims of new and old materials on the market, and ask WTF we are doing with all this crap?

Watch this space for more exciting speaker and session announcements coming soon!

To see the full agenda for GEI11 so far, click here.

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The Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI) is A Greener Festival’s annual flagship event delivered in partnership with the International Live Music Conference (ILMC).

Tuesday 5 March 2019, The Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington High St, London.