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O2 to host world’s first carbon-removal gigs with The 1975

The London venue says it will neutralise the impact of the band's concerts by physically extracting over 100 tonnes of carbon

By Lisa Henderson on 05 Sep 2023

The 1975, Oslo Spektrum, Kim Erlandsen/NRK P3, Q Awards

The O2 will be hosting the world’s first carbon-removed arena events at The 1975’s headline shows in February 2024.

A “portfolio of carbon removal methods” will be used to physically extract over 100 tonnes of residual carbon generated by each event, thereby neutralising the carbon impact of the concerts, according to a press release from the London venue.

These pilot events, on 12 and 13 February, will take place in collaboration with carbon removal experts CUR8 and sustainable event specialists A Greener Future (AGF) which awarded the O2 with the first-ever Greener Arena certification.

With AGF’s expertise, the AEG Europe-owned venue says it can now predict the emissions of an event in advance of it taking place, based on expected outputs for categories including catering, travel/transport and electricity.

AEG Europe, alongside The O2 arena’s hospitality partner Levy UK + Ireland, have accounted for the removal costs in their operations, while emissions for audience travel are estimated based on travel surveys and covered by a 90p investment which has been incorporated into the event ticket price.

If the pilots are successful, AEG Europe will create a best practice-model for venues, promoters and tours worldwide on how to execute a carbon-removed event.

The company also hopes it will be a “game-changing step” on the path to helping the global live events industry reach genuine net-zero.

“The world desperately needs to decarbonise, and we’ve been hugely impressed with the work that The O2 has been doing”

“We’re incredibly proud to be hosting the world’s first carbon-removed events here at The O2,” says Sam Booth, director of sustainability at AEG Europe. “The perfect large-scale carbon-free event does not currently exist, but while the industry continues to innovate and improve to reduce emissions to their lowest possible level, carbon removals will remain an important piece of the puzzle.

“As a world-leading venue, we have a responsibility to create a path for real change, and it’s our hope that this event will not only deliver the same best-in-class experience that fans expect at The O2, but also one that’s supporting vital climate work and is better for the planet. Thank you to The 1975, CUR8, A Greener Future and all of our partners who have collaborated with us on this – it’s going to be game-changing not just for us but the industry as a whole, and is a fantastic way to kick off an exciting 2024 at The O2.”

Mark Stevenson, co-founder and chief impact officer at CUR8, adds: “The world desperately needs to decarbonise, and we’ve been hugely impressed with the work that The O2 has been doing with A Greener Future to continually drive down their emissions. What’s great about these shows is that we can demonstrate that it is now possible fold the cost of removing the residual CO2 into the existing business model, such that fans won’t notice any difference in the gig experience.

“As The O2 continues to drive down emissions going forward, the investment per gig for carbon removals will only get smaller. It’s a complete win-win-win – for artists and their fans who care about the climate crisis, for venues and the live events supply chain, who can now realise a route to a scientifically and legally compliant net-zero position, while helping CUR8 to invest in building the carbon removals operating system for the planet.”

Continuing a path towards net zero, The O2 is also developing a Green Rider for tours and productions which will contain recommendations for how to make more sustainable choices and reduce the overall environmental impact of live events, due to be released later this year.

The O2’s other green initiatives include the procurement of green electricity, the implementation of digital ticketing, major reductions in single-use plastic within the arena, a back-of-house recycling programme, a state-of-the-art waste compound, a green cleaning program, onsite wormery and an eco-digester.


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