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Running an Eco-Friendly Event in 2022

To help tackle climate change, we must take responsibility at an individual, organisational and industry level.

Charlie Gardener
Charlie Gardener
August 5, 2022
min read

An NFT event ticketing marketplace helping artists foster closer connections with fans, eliminating fraud and reducing the impact of scalping.

For several years now, climate change has been a hot topic, and rightly so. The continued melting of glaciers and ever more extreme weather around the globe is a problem that affects all of us.

To help tackle climate change, we must take responsibility at an individual, organisational and industry level.

Live events are a significant contributor to carbon emissions. A 2019 study commissioned by Berlin’s Clean Scene found that 1000 travelling DJs took 51,000 flights, equating to around 20,000 households’ CO2 emissions in a single year. Suppose this is just the carbon footprint of 1000 DJs over a single year (albeit Resident Advisor’s top 1000 DJs). In that case, we can only begin to imagine the scale of the issue with the entire live events industry included.

It is not just travel for artists and performers that raises emissions either. Infrastructure for festivals and events comes at a cost, not only in terms of the elements and parts required for installations but in transporting them to event sites worldwide.

Additionally, in the aftermath of a live event or festival, it’s common to see litter strewn across the site and, in the case of festivals, tents abandoned on campsites.

With the issue of climate change more pressing now than ever, we’re taking a look at some of the ways that the events industry is going green and how, at each level, we can be responsible for ensuring the environmental footprint of events is reduced.

Green Events

Although there is still a long way to go, the live music community has several initiatives to create events that impact the environment less and less each year.

Festivals often lead the way in terms of green initiatives, as the British Glastonbury and the Portuguese Boom festivals utilise composting toilets to try to offset the human footprint generated by their large crowds. However, permaculture in festivals is not unique to those events either, as festivals like the Belgian Tomorrowland have a mission statement to respect Mother Nature and the UK-based Shambala uses 100% renewable energy.

Green Industry

While it’s great to see individual organisations and events take responsibility for their environmental footprint, the industry as a whole is also taking measures.

British electronic music pioneer Brian Eno started the Earth Percent foundation to provide a simple way of helping the music community support the most impactful organisations addressing the climate emergency.

Likewise, the International Music Summit in Ibiza has made green issues a key focus in its annual agenda-setting meeting. The IMS is a thought-leadership platform for electronic music globally, which itself introduced an eco initiative where attendees that travelled via more sustainable methods received a hefty discount.

Green Fans

Initiatives by events and the industry at large are an excellent way to inspire a change in attitude from event goers. However, it’s not possible to always control the behaviour of fans once on-site, so it’s important to make it as easy as possible for them to be environmentally friendly.

Besides providing adequate recycling and waste facilities, events can also incentivise attendees to stay green. This is something which a number of small and large-scale events are doing to help encourage their fans to keep the climate footprint of the event down.

Boomtown is a pioneer in encouraging eco-friendly behaviour from its attendees as the festival has banned all single-use plastics, including for traders. While this might seem a simple enough task, it requires that more water points be installed around the festival and that fans be notified they should bring their own vessel to fill up with water! In addition, all food is served in compostable or recyclable containers, which have to be placed into the correct bins and then sorted and processed after the festival.

Initiatives like the ones seen at Boomtown encourage environmentally responsible behaviour from attendees, but sadly goodwill only goes so far, especially when people are there to party. That’s why some events even take steps like the IMS has to financially incentivise their attendees into making greener choices.

Organising shared or carbon-neutral transport for events is key as well. Boom festival has a “Boom by Bike” initiative encouraging attendees to get there on two wheels, and it’s standard practice for large events to organise coaches for their fans to get to the site.

Final Thoughts

Consumer behaviour is changing as younger generations report increasing levels of anxiety around climate change. It’s more common than ever before to see people walking around events with multi-use water bottles, and photos of Glastonbury’s main stage post-show are markedly different to ones from 7 years ago.

However, the events industry has a responsibility to ensure that they keep moving in the right direction and action from the top-down influences events to take measures, which help fans to do their part too.

At SeatlabNFT, we also like to do our part for the environment, which is one of the reasons we chose the climate-neutral NEAR Protocol blockchain to host our NFT ticketing platform.

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