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Coldplay beat world tour emissions target

Direct CO2e emissions from the first two years of the Music of the Spheres Tour are 59% less than the band's previous stadium tour

By James Hanley on 04 Jun 2024


image © Anna Lee

Coldplay have revealed they have beaten their target for cutting carbon emissions on their Music of the Spheres World Tour.

The band’s tour announcement back in late 2021 came hand-in-hand with a 12-point plan for cutting their carbon footprint, including a pledge to reduce their direct carbon emissions from show production, freight, band and crew travel by at least 50% compared with their previous A Head Full of Dreams stadium tour.

In their last update in June 2023, the group said the tour had produced 47% less CO2e emissions than their 2016/17 trek. Twelve months on, they have improved on those figures significantly.

“We’re happy to report that direct CO2e emissions from the first two years of this tour are 59% less than our previous stadium tour, on a show-by-show comparison,” say Coldplay in a statement. “These figures have been verified by the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative.

“We’d like to say a huge thank you to our incredible touring family and to all the brilliant people who’ve made this possible. Most of all, we’d like to thank everyone who’s come to a show and helped charge the show batteries on the power bikes and kinetic dance floors; everyone who’s arrived by foot, bike, ride share or public transport; everyone who’s come with refillable water bottles or returned their LED wristband for recycling; and everyone who’s bought a ticket, which means you’ve planted one of seven million trees so far.

“As a band, and as an industry, we’re a long way from where we need to be on this. But we’re grateful for everyone’s help so far, and we salute everyone who’s making efforts to push things in the right direction.”

A comprehensive study of the live music industry’s carbon footprint is being conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), co-funded by Coldplay, Live Nation and Warner Music Group (WMG).

Coldplay also launched a free app for fans as part of their pledge to make the tour as eco-friendly as possible. Highlights from the ongoing trek have included an 86% average return and re-use rate of LED wristbands, 18 shows powered entirely using the tourable battery system in 2023 made from recycled BMW i3 batteries and 23 partnerships with green travel providers to help fans travel to shows via super-low carbon transport.

“This latest analysis of Coldplay’s impact on the environment from touring is again setting a new standard for the entire music industry”

In addition, 17kWh average power per show has been generated via in-venue solar installations, kinetic dance floors and power bikes – enough to power the band’s C-stage performance each night.

All shows have offered free water refill stations for fans, while over 3,000 tCO2e has been saved by purchasing Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) for flights, and 72% of all tour waste has been diverted from landfill and sent for reuse, recycling and composting, while 9,625 meals and 90kg of toiletries donated from tour catering to the unhoused and unsheltered.

“For some time now, Coldplay has been leading by example in taking seriously and acting on the various interrelated environmental and social challenges facing humanity; climate change, biodiversity loss, air and water pollution, environmental injustice and more,” says Prof. John E. Fernández of MIT.

“With each subsequent year of their tour they demonstrate an evolving vision and expanded commitment to move the entire music industry toward true and humane sustainability and planetary resilience. From collecting unprecedented amounts of data to taking specific actions today based on rigorous analysis, Coldplay is modelling a trajectory toward a low carbon, biodiverse and equitable future.

“This latest analysis of Coldplay’s impact on the environment from touring is again setting a new standard for the entire music industry. The data and the methods of analysis support the conclusion that substantial progress has been made to reduce emissions in touring.”

The Music of the Spheres Tour could see Coldplay become the first band to gross $1 billion from a single tour. At last count it had earned $810.9m, having been attended by 7.66 million fans. This June, the group will become the first act to headline Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage five times. They previously topped the bill in 2002, 2005, 2011 and 2016. The date will mark the band’s only European festival appearance of the year.


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