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Sustainability heads say pandemic prompted “sea change”

AGF's Teresa Moore and GEI's Claire O'Neill reflect on the triumphs of 2021 and the challenges that lie ahead, as the industry gets back to business

By IQ on 18 Jan 2022

L-R: Claire O'Neill, Teresa Moore

L-R: Claire O'Neill, Teresa Moore

Sustainability heads say the pandemic has prompted a “real sea change” in the industry’s attitude towards green issues.

“The pause allowed for time to think and reflect about their own businesses but, more than this, different sectors of the industry have recognised that they are part of the bigger live ecosystem and need to work together in a much more joined-up way to tackle climate change and the industry’s environmental impact,” explains Teresa Moore, director at A Greener Festival (AGF).

“In my mind, it has undoubtedly speeded up progress, and the launch of Live Green and the Beyond Zero declaration felt like a genuine collaboration across the industry,” says Moore.

The declaration, led by the sustainability arm of live music umbrella trade body LIVE, was revealed last September at the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI).

The initiative sets out a roadmap for how the UK’s live music businesses can reach net-zero emissions by the year 2030, in line with the Paris Agreement.

The launch of the declaration came a month before the United Nations Climate Change Conference (aka COP26) – which Moore says acted as a focal point for change.

The seminal year led to “huge demand” from the industry for AGF’s A Greener Arena and Greener Touring certification and set the bar for 2022.

“There is a tsunami of inspired, positive, and powerful actors in the industry pushing sustainability to the front of our rebuild”

“I do think we will see a greener live experience in 2022 as festivals put the commitments they have made into practice,” says Moore.

Claire O’Neill, founder of GEI, is also optimistic that the live industry will build on the momentum of last year.

“The good news is there is a tsunami of inspired, positive, and powerful actors in the industry pushing sustainability to the front and centre of our rebuild,” says O’Neill. “I am extremely confident that we will build a better future.”

However, O’Neill warns that in order to tackle best environmental practices on top of everything else, the industry needs to be proactive in protecting the wellbeing of ourselves and each other.

“The workload is immense and we’re all a little bit rusty around the edges. When we are no longer stressed out, environmental best practice will be easier to achieve. So long as we’re permitted, there will be a great upturn in attendance to gigs, festivals, and events of all kinds.

“This will help us to recover financially, but also gives us back the incredibly important platform that we can use to influence important and urgent societal changes for deeper connection, acceptance and care – for ourselves, each other, and the environment we are a part of. Let’s make 2022 the year that we step up to our responsibility and power as agents of change.”

The GEI conference will return this year, this time taking place within the main conference programme of ILMC on Friday 29 April. For more information visit 34.ilmc.com.


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