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Green Guardians: Food & Drink

The Green Guardians Guide, spearheaded by the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) and IQ Magazine, is a new yearly initiative boosting the profiles of those working at the forefront of sustainability, in the hope that it might also inspire others.

The 2021 list, which originally ran in IQ 103, includes 40 entries across eight categories, highlighting some of the organisations and individuals who are working so tirelessly to reduce the carbon footprint of the live entertainment business.

This year’s winners have been chosen by a judging panel that includes experts from A Greener Festival, Greener Events, Julie’s Bicycle, the Sustainability in Production Alliance, the Sustainable Event Council and the Tour Production Group.

IQ will publish entries across all categories over the coming weeks. Catch up on the previous instalment of the Green Guardians Guide which looks at event infrastructure.

8th plate
Four hundred tonnes of food is thrown away at UK festivals every year, this means 953,352 meals go to waste. With one tonne of waste equal to four tons of CO2, 8th Plate was founded to tackle this challenge.

Combating food waste is extremely important, not only because of the environmental impact, but because there are people in the UK forced to get food from food banks. 8th Plate’s aim is to help prevent food waste, and this has been welcomed by the events and catering communities alike.

NCASS (The Nationwide Caterers Association), who support small independent food and drink businesses across the UK, teamed up with A Greener Festival to find a solution to food waste at events, food markets and festivals.

They work with festivals, events, and street food businesses to redirect food to charities such as Open Kitchen, Fare Share and Refresh, who ensure that the food is given to people who need it.

In order to make sure 8th Plate itself is a sustainable initiative, the team train festival and event teams to work alongside ambassadors who, with the support from NCASS and A Greener Festival, deliver the initiative in-house and train future ambassadors in the process.

Pre-pandemic, in 2019 alone, 8th Plate salvaged 18 tonnes of food; the equivalent of 42,560 meals, across 11 festivals. Imagine what could be achieved if this was replicated across the whole industry.

Le Festif has also has ceased sales of merchandise such as t-shirts and hoodies to further reduce its carbon footprint

Le Festif!
Le Festif! is recognised in Quebec, Canada, as a pioneer and leader in environmentally sustainable festivals.

The event’s strategy for food and drink is simple but admirable. For alcohol, everything is 100% local, be it craft beer and cider, or wine, vodka and gin. And organisers take a similar approach to catering, as the food for the artists, the staff and the participants is also sourced from local producers.

As part of its sustainability drive, the festival has also stopped selling bottles of water by building free water stations; cigarette ends are recycled; the festival relies on bulk food orders for catering to eliminate plastic waste; no promotional paper is used; a tree planting programme compensates for carbon emissions; and it has ceased sales of merchandise such as t-shirts and hoodies to further reduce its carbon footprint.

“A food waste project [that started at] Roskilde has resulted in the delivery 7m + meals to socially vulnerable citizens”

Det Runde Bord
Due to Covid, Det Runde Bord has been unable to attend festivals and events to collect and distribute surplus food, as it normally does, but it has still used its experience and network to help deliver food to socially vulnerable citizens in Denmark.

When the country locked down, hundreds of canteens and restaurants also locked down. Meanwhile, food wholesalers were unable to find buyers for huge quantities of produce. So, charity Det Runde Bord stepped in, collecting and distributing between 3-5 tonnes of surplus food daily, feeding socially vulnerable fellow citizens including addicts and the mentally ill.

In the weeks after lockdown, the organisation and its partners delivered fresh produce corresponding to 1 million meals at a value of more than €2 million.

When organisers learned that Denmark’s soup kitchens had all been closed due to the danger of Covid infection, they launched The Necessary Food Club in a shuttered restaurant, before moving to a huge production kitchen, where between 300 and 1,100 single-packed meals could be prepared every day.

“Imagine that a food waste project [that started at] Roskilde Festival in 2014 has resulted in the delivery of more than 7 million meals to socially vulnerable citizens in Denmark, in addition to being an inspiration to people and organisations around the world,” says Det Runde Bord’s Peter Haugelund. “I am very proud, especially of the more than 500 fantastic volunteers who have made an effort far beyond expectations.”

“If you change conditions, you change behaviour! Your guests will act sustainably, when sustainability is the standard”

Tollwood Festival
Tollwood Festival unites a zest for life, an enjoyment of culture, and a commitment to a tolerant, peaceful and sustainable world. Since the first festival in 1988, ecological and social commitment has formed the way the festival thinks and acts, and its key focus is to keep its carbon footprint as small as possible.

Tollwood is known for its international gastronomy, which is provided by around 50 restaurateurs. Since 2003, the festival’s catering has been certified in accordance with EU organic council regulation.

This means that the event’s visitors can enjoy a diverse selection of 100% organic, vegetarian and vegan food from 20 or so nations. This dedication to organic, plant-based cuisine saves the festival 116 tonnes of CO2 per year.

As a leader in its field, Tollwood is often contacted by other festivals and venues requesting information about its return-able system and waste sorting systems.

“If you change conditions, you change behaviour! Your guests will act sustainably, when sustainability is the standard. It’s your turn, it’s your responsibility, act now!”

“We are really optimistic about the future of reusable cups”

Stack Cup
Despite the pandemic, the team at Stack-Cup has continued its mission to reduce single-use plastic and replace it with the company’s unique reusable cups.

The company has launched the Stack-Flute in the UK and Europe, as well as expanding its reach internationally, and improving its service. Stack-Flute has a unique, patented design, which was successfully launched at Pub in the Park with Slurp and We Are Quantum. The flutes are washed and re-used at each event.

Meanwhile, Stack-Cup has made its debut in Australia and New Zealand with the launch of a cup hire and washing service that is expanding rapidly from the company’s base in Adelaide.

Finally, the organisation has focussed on how it serves and communicates with customers. For example, with pub chain Greene King, it has removed the £1 customer deposit and replaced it with a micro charge, with profits going to the Macmillan Cancer Support charity. This is facilitated through better technology and customer communication.

“We are really optimistic about the future of reusable cups,” says managing director James Roles. “Being more sustainable isn’t optional now but a necessity, and we are fortunate to have built up a decade of experience in running reusable cup programmes. We recognise that partnerships are key to success and our aim for 2022 is to cement transformative relationships with partners that care as much as we do. Actions speak louder than words.”


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UK live sector commits to reaching net zero by 2030

The UK’s live sector has committed to reaching net-zero emissions by the year 2030, as part of a new campaign to deliver climate action.

The campaign, spearheaded by LIVE Green – the sustainability arm of live music umbrella trade body LIVE, will set out a roadmap for how live music businesses can accelerate their transition to a low carbon future in line with the Paris Agreement.

The initiative will also provide research, expertise and cross-industry innovation in order to support the sector’s transition to a regenerative future, and will aim to ensure meaningful climate investments are made to achieve the sector’s collective targets.

All 13 association members of LIVE – including AIF, MVT, NAA and CPA – have ratified a voluntary sector-specific commitment to deliver measurable and targeted action on climate change.

“We are now at a tipping point for our climate: this is not a rehearsal”

Signatories of the ‘Beyond Zero Declaration’ agree to:

· Work with LIVE Green to set reduction targets and reduce operational and business travel Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, reporting on progress annually.

· Develop a net-zero roadmap and action plan – taking responsibility for actions in energy, waste, procurement, transport, food and governance.

· Understand and define emissions within value chains, follow best practice to affect change in areas outside of direct control and collaborate with suppliers and clients to reduce them.

· Ensure staff undertake climate education and have an ongoing commitment to knowledge sharing within the live music sector and beyond.

Members of Live Green’s working group include Julie’s Bicycle, AGreenerFestival, Powerful Thinking, Vision: 2025 and The Tour Production Group.

John Langford, AEG Europe COO and chair of LIVE Green, says: “We are now at a tipping point for our climate: this is not a rehearsal.

“Although there has been significant progress across the live music sector, now is the time to accelerate our efforts”

“We want to tap into the power of music to help deliver a step-change in the environmental impact of our sector – from carbon emissions through to plastic waste – helping us demonstrate that moving faster towards decarbonisation is a route to a competitive advantage.”

Tom Schroeder, Partner at Paradigm Talent Agency, added: “There can be no shying away from the environmental impact of our global business, and although there has been significant progress across the live music sector, now is the time to accelerate our efforts.

“By bringing together the active specialists and initiatives under one banner, LIVE Green is pioneering a means to fast-track decarbonisation across the sector through education, awareness and tangible action. We look forward to building on the sector’s progress so far, to make our low carbon future a reality.”

LIVE builds on significant efforts across the sector to boost sustainability, ranging from the end of single-use plastic at festivals to sector-wide efforts to reduce the environmental impact of touring.

The Beyond Zero Declaration was revealed at today’s (16 September) Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI), followed by a discussion between Langford, Stuart Galbraith (Kilimanjaro Live), Clementine Bunel (Paradigm), artist Sam Lee and Chiara Badiali (Julie’s Bicycle).

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Massive Attack rallies gov for carbon emissions plan

British band Massive Attack are calling on the government to introduce a plan to cut carbon emissions in the live music business.

It comes after the band commissioned the University of Manchester for a report on the issue using their tour data.

The result of the report is a resource entitled ‘Roadmap To Super Low Carbon Live Music’ which is designed to support the sector’s reduction of emissions in line with the UN Paris Agreement.

While the report makes a number of recommendations for sectors across the live industry, Massive Attack’s Robert del Naja (aka 3D) says the sector ultimately needs more government support in order to achieve its goal.

“Our sector is operating in a government void”

“Our sector is operating in a government void,” says Robert del Naja (aka 3D), Massive Attack. “Nine weeks out of COP26, where is the industrial plan, or any plan at all, for the scale of transformation that’s required for the UK economy and society?

“Fossil fuel companies seem to have no problem at all getting huge subsidies from government, but where is the plan for investment in clean battery technology, clean infrastructure or decarbonised food supply for a live music sector that generates £4.6 billion for the economy every year & employs more than 200k dedicated people? It simply doesn’t exist.”

The report lists a number of actions for local and national governments including:

“We hope that this roadmap can help to catalyse change by outlining the scale of action required”

Some of the key recommendations for the live music industry include:

Professor Carly McLachlan from the University of Manchester’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, says: “We hope that this roadmap can help to catalyse change by outlining the scale of action required and how this maps across the different elements of a tour. To reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, touring practices need to be reassembled differently as the industry emerges from the significant challenges that the pandemic has created.

“This starts from the very inception of a tour and requires the creativity and innovation of artists, managers, promoters, designers and agents to be unleashed to establish new ways of planning and delivering live music tours.”

Christopher Jones from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research will be presenting the ‘Roadmap To Super Low Carbon Live Music’ at the Green Events and Innovations Conference’s (GEI) upcoming Summer Edition – tickets for which are on sale now.


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AEG Presents forms Climate Positive Touring group

AEG Presents is forming a team of industry professionals from production, marketing, and operations dedicated to ‘moving the live business towards a greener future’.

The team, dubbed Climate Positive Touring (CPT), comprises staffers who work across various business divisions of AEG Presents including Concerts West, Global Touring, International Touring, Marshall Arts, Messina Touring Group, and AEG Global Partnerships.

Reducing tour-related carbon emissions, supporting locally led environmental and climate justice programmes, and creating impact on both the operating and consumer-side of touring are at the top of the group’s agenda.

“AEG Presents has the ability and structure to really make a global impact in moving our entire business – which has had a traditionally significant carbon footprint – toward a zero-emissions future,” says Jay Marciano, chairman and CEO, AEG Presents.

“AEG Presents has the ability and structure to really make a global impact in moving our entire business”

“The company’s reach enables us to execute at every level of the live experience: from clubs and theatres to arenas, global tours, and festivals. I’m looking forward to seeing how the CPT group begins to implement their plans as the business starts to reopen this year.”

Jointly leading CPT is AEG Presents’ Amy Morrison, who adds: “With light at the end of the tunnel, we feel it’s the right time to announce CPT and our short- and long-term strategies. We’ve been working on this since the earliest days of the shutdown. Now that live music is coming back, we can put our goals into action. As promoters, we will literally put our message on the road, modelling achievable sustainability, with the power of music in our sails.”

CPT has already deployed two major initiatives: the Venue Environmental Survey and the CPT Green Touring Guide.

The survey will gather data that allow venues, artists and CPT to work together to identify sustainability priorities and solutions while the touring guide is to provide guidance and insights that promoters can utilise in the hopes of showing both venues and artists a path forward to net zero or better carbon emissions.

“The company’s reach enables us to execute at every level of the live experience”

The first installment of the guide, titled The Starting Seven, is a compendium of seven actions promoters can take to start to make a positive environmental impact.

CPT is co-headed by Amy Morrison and Nicole Neal, who are joined by Jon Baden, Amy Buck, Caroline Burruss, Kelly DiStefano, Kate Lewis, Mike Luba, Ben Martin, Alexandra McArthur, Kate McMahon, David Rappaport, and Connie Shao.

CPT works in collaboration with AEG 1Earth, AEG’s corporate sustainability program.

The news of CPT comes shortly after Earth Day (22 April), when a host of new initiatives were announced, including a special summer edition of the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) and Live Nation’s new Green Nation Touring Program.

GEI, the leading conference for sustainability in the international events sector, will hold its summer edition on 16 September 2021. Tickets are on sale now.


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