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Green Guardians: Resource management

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 food & drink.

Ball Aluminium Cup
With its infinitely recyclable aluminium cups, Ball Corporation has signed a number of deals to supply the product line to events, including the 2020 Superbowl in Miami and PGA’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, effectively replacing millions of single-use plastic cups.

Durable, cool to the touch and extremely eco-friendly, extensive research on both sides of the Atlantic claims that consumers believe a venue that serves beverages in aluminium cups cares about the environment and that the drinking experience at that venue would be higher quality/better than other unrecyclable formats currently on offer.

Ball Corporation says that aluminium can be recycled infinitely without ever losing quality. In fact, it cites research that suggests that nearly 75% of all aluminium ever made is still in use today.

The cups can easily be made (minimum order of 50,000 applies) with custom logos and graphics to correspond with venues, events, teams, brands and more. Additionally, Ball’s drinking vessels are sturdier and more durable than other options, reducing breakage incidents and increasing quality perceptions.

EAP launched Love Your Tent, a campaign designed to encourage people to reuse them instead of discarding them

Eco Action Partnership
Waste is a key issue that the festival community needs to tackle head-on, particularly the ongoing problem of discarded tents and camping equipment left behind at the end of most camping festivals, creating one of the biggest environmental issues facing organisers.

With this in mind, Eco Action Partnership (EAP) launched Love Your Tent, a campaign designed to bond people with their portable homes and encourage them to reuse them instead of discarding them.

The organisation’s aim is to publicise the issue and create some solid solutions for change that will benefit the whole of the festival community.

Rick Storey, who helped initiate the campaign, explains, “We are determined to make festivals greener, more sustainable, and more enjoyable events for audiences and organisers, and one way of doing that is to cut down on the number of discarded tents. This can’t be done in solus, it needs to happen across the festival community and should involve tent retailers, festivalgoers and organisers.”

As part of its range of services, EAP also conducts carbon audits for events and businesses, helping to pinpoint where the main impacts are.

Greenbox offers a unique and forward-thinking approach to event waste management

Greenbox Events
Based in Bristol, UK, waste and recycling specialist Greenbox offers a unique and forward-thinking approach to event waste management. It pioneers the most sustainable strategies whilst keeping events clean, tidy and safe.

The Greenbox team builds on a wealth of experience that dates back to the mid-90s when recycling was first taking a foothold in the events industry. Its specially designed, distinctive and robust recycling stations are renowned for their ease of use and high recycling yield.

The company maintains that it’s what you don’t see that’s most important; through strategic deployment of its teams Greenbox tackles cleansing issues before they become a problem.

Greenbox operates throughout the UK, frequently in remote areas with limited or difficult access, as well as busy city centres, and at high-profile sporting events. It provides all the necessary vehicles, personnel, equipment and expertise to ensure events are cleaned efficiently, professionally and more sustainably.

Pitched for You is forming pacts to deliver mass accommodation smoothly in one package

Pitched for You
In 2021, Pitched for You has been delivering initial contracts, taking on crew and forming important relationships within the industry. As a supplier, the company took on every event it could, only to have half cancel and others pop up out of the blue with requests like isolation camps, glamp sites or a restaurant on a cliff.

As a B2B accommodation supplier, Pitched for You is forming pacts with ticket sellers, green travel companies, event assessors and production companies to deliver mass accommodation smoothly in one package.

Although determined to develop a real circular economy service, on the product side materials remain a great challenge, as there are simply no circular economy tent fabrics, yet. So the company is working with Nikwax to help develop these, finding that the correct fibres, coatings and maintenance techniques can make its material last “forever.”

On the service side, Pitched For You took advice from Aston Business School’s Advanced Services Group to ensure its business model is truly sustainable. While on the manufacturing side, Covid is presenting all sorts of international trade issues, so the company is considering moving manufacture entirely to the UK.

OVG is leading the development and operations of the Climate Pledge Arena, the first net-zero carbon arena

Oak View Group
With a mission to innovate and improve the live venue experience, Oak View Group (OVG) is leading the development and operations of the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, which it says will be the first net-zero carbon arena in the world.

OVG believes the new building will be the most sustainable arena venue in the world, serving as a long-lasting and regular reminder of the urgent need for climate action.

Among the multiple strategies the company is relying on to achieve its goals, it has committed to no fossil fuel consumption in the arena for daily use; it will use an extensive solar panel installation combined with off-site supplementary renewable energy for 100% renewable energy power; and it will offset any carbon emission activities it cannot eliminate – like transportation – by purchasing credible carbon offsets.

Other initiatives include a sustainable food and beverage strategy, ensuring that 75% of all produce is sourced within a 300-mile range. Additionally, the arena will have a zero single-use plastic policy, advanced water conservation measures, and by simplifying its supply chain OVG will target a zero-waste goal.

The new arena, which opens in October, will be used to inform future OVG developments including UBS Arena in New York; Moody Center in Austin, Texas; Co-op Live Arena in Manchester, UK; Coachella Valley Arena, California; and new projects in Savannah, Georgia and Milan, Italy.

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Coldplay to open OVG’s Climate Pledge Arena

Coldplay will be the first act to play Oak View Group’s (OVG) Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle – the world’s first carbon-neutral certified arena.

The band’s frontman, Chris Martin, previously told BBC News that Coldplay would put touring plans on hold as they investigate how to make their concerts more sustainable.

“Our next tour will be the best possible version of a tour like that environmentally,” said Coldplay frontman, Chris Martin.

“We would be disappointed if it’s not carbon neutral. The hardest thing is the flying side of things. But, for example, our dream is to have a show with no single-use plastic, to have it largely solar-powered. We’ve done a lot of big tours at this point. How do we turn it around so it’s not so much taking as giving?”

The band will fulfil their dream by performing at the 18,100-seat Climate Pledge Arena, which will be powered exclusively by renewable energy sources.

The arena will also be a functionally zero-waste building from day one and will eliminate all single-use plastics by 2024.

“We’re so excited to have Coldplay who wholeheartedly believes in and supports sustainability efforts, be the first to play”

Coldplay, along with support act We Are King, will perform at the former KeyArena on 22 October, marking the official reopening.

Tickets go on sale on 15 September at 10:00 PST through Ticketmaster. Amazon Music will also be streaming the show live on Prime Video for all customers – with or without a Prime membership – as well as Twitch, and on the Amazon Music app.

Oak View Group CEO, Tim Leiweke, says: “We’ve embarked on what some may say was an impossible journey to turn this historic landmark into a world-class net-zero carbon certified arena that’s first of its kind. This is why we’re so excited to have Coldplay who wholeheartedly believes in and supports sustainability efforts, be the first to play in the building for what will be a night to remember.”

The concert will be the first public show at Climate Pledge Arena as a part of a weeklong opening celebration across the Seattle Center Campus.

Other opening week festivities include the VenuesNow Conference (hosted by OVG), a ribbon-cutting ceremony and Seattle Kraken’s inaugural home opener marking its first season.

Today’s news follows Leiweke’s call to arms for the live entertainment industry to take action on climate change. Read the full IQ interview here.


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Tim Leiweke: “Climate change is the fight of our lives”

Oak View Group (OVG) co-founder and chief executive Tim Leiweke has issued a call to arms for the live entertainment industry to take action on climate change.

“Climate change is without a doubt the fight of this generation’s lives,” he tells IQ. “At OVG, we believe that we, along with the whole live entertainment industry, have a unique opportunity to inspire others to take action on this era-defining issue,” adding that sustainability is one of OVG’s core values.

The global sports and entertainment company, along with ecommerce giant Amazon, is a few months out from opening the world’s first carbon neutral venue, Climate Pledge Arena (CPA) in Seattle.

“It hasn’t been easy, but I’m proud and excited that CPA will become the world’s first certified carbon neutral arena when it opens later this year. It’s also going to lead the way with commitments to zero waste from events and using recycled rainwater to service the NHL ice-rink,” explains Leiweke.

OVG and Amazon have set their sights on the 18,100-seat arena becoming ‘the most progressive, responsible, and sustainable arena in the world’ – a commitment underpinned by four goals.

The first goal is to maintain CPA’s carbon elimination by eschewing fossil fuel consumption for daily use; generating renewable energy from onsite solar panels; reducing all carbon emission activities and offsetting those not possible – like transportation – by purchasing credible carbon offsets.

“We have a unique opportunity to inspire others to take action on this era-defining issue”

CPA will also aim to eliminate single use plastics and achieve zero waste by ‘greatly simplifying the supply chain’.

Finally, the arena, home to ice hockey team NHL Seattle, will conserve water via its ‘rain to rink’ system which will harvest water off the roof and collect into a 15,000-gallon cistern. According to OVG, the system will save 50,000 gallons annually.

Other ways the CPA will conserve water include waterless urinals and ‘ultra-efficient’ showers, significant on-site retention tanks reducing stormwater runoff and water bottle filling stations throughout the arena.

Beyond this the CPA will have an advisory committee with partners at Amazon; create transparency and public reporting on initiatives progress; host arena events that celebrate the environment and its commitment to green operations; partner with educational institutions to utilise the arena as a classroom for environmental education.

Leiweke says that OVG is taking the learnings from CPA to guide future projects: “All of our arenas in both the US and around the world, from the UBS Arena in New York to Co-op Live in Manchester, are putting sustainability at the heart of both design and operations”.

If all goes according to plan, the UBS Arena (cap. 19,000) in Belmont Park, New York, won’t be far behind CPA in achieving a carbon-neutral status.

The arena, scheduled to open in time for the 2021-2022 National Hockey League season, is projected to be 100% carbon neutral by 2024 – which will make it the first to do so on the East Coast of the US.

“Climate Pledge Arena is going to lead the way with commitments to zero waste from events”

The UBS Arena is currently being built to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for New Construction (Leed) standards.

Elsewhere, Manchester’s Co-op Live (cap. 23,500) is leading the way for environmentally sustainable arenas in the UK, both in terms of design and future commitments.

The roof alone boasts 10,500 square-metres (1.5x a football pitch) of rooftop solar panels, air source heat pumps, high spec insulation and façade designed to reduce cooling and heating requirements.

The venue’s architecture is paired with renewable energy, low carbon technologies and intelligent building controls such as LED lighting design and smart building systems to minimise energy use).

Plus, in a bid to meet Manchester City Council’s 2038 net zero carbon goal, the venue is also using 100% electric fuel.

Taking note from CPA, Co-op Live will also use 100% rainwater harvesting for toilet flushing, bathroom use and water efficient catering, and will aim to be zero waste.

The Co-op Live development is targeting Breeam (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) ‘excellent’ accreditation.

Other arenas OVG is currently developing include Moody Center, Austin; Coachella Valley Arena, Palm Springs; Savannah Arena; Cardiff Bay Arena; and Santa Guilia, Milan.


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OVG, Amazon team up for first carbon neutral arena

The former KeyArena in Seattle is to become the first carbon neutral venue in the world, powered exclusively by renewable energy sources.

Ecommerce giant Amazon announced it had secured the naming rights to the 18,100-seat arena yesterday (25 June). The venue, home to ice hockey team NHL Seattle, is to be known as the Climate Pledge Arena.

The online retailer has pledged to make the venue the first-ever net zero carbon certified arena when it opens in summer 2021, with zero waste production, ice made from reclaimed rain water, locally sourced food and an elimination of single use plastics by 2024.

The project, a joint collaboration between Amazon, NHL Seattle and venue operator Oak View Group (OVG) – which is funding the reconstruction of arena – has reportedly reached the $1 billion mark, partly due to the upgrades required to achieve carbon neutral status.

OVG has hired Seattle architect Jason McLennan, a specialist in sustainable design, as chief sustainability consultant for the arena.

“It’s not just about one arena. It’s the platform,” says OVG CEO Tim Leiweke, who is leading the arena development efforts.

“We must take steps to build arenas and stadiums that front-and-centre align with our zero-carbon mission statement”

“We challenge music, facilities, concert tours, and sports. It is our time to step up to face the challenge of our generation. We must take steps to build arenas and stadiums that front-and-centre align with our zero-carbon mission statement.”

“Instead of negotiating the assets, we’ve been brainstorming: What if we did this? What if we did that?” adds Tim’s brother, Tod Leiweke, president and CEO of NHL Seattle.

“Every day, we get to promote this idea of a sustainable world. It’s a beautiful vision, that we can change the course of what’s happened to our planet and dream of having a zero-carbon footprint. It’s going to require investment and policy, but it’s absolutely possible.”

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says the arena’s name is to serve as “a regular reminder of the importance of fighting climate change”.

“We look forward to working together with Oak View Group, a new Climate Pledge signatory, and NHL Seattle to inspire global climate action,” says Bezos.

Amazon created its climate pledge last year with activist group Global Optimism, pushing for corporate America to achieve net zero carbon by 2040. Current signatories include Verizon, Infosys and consumer-goods giant Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB).

Earlier this week, Amazon announced the Climate Pledge Fund, a US$2 billion venture capital fund dedicated to investing in clean energy.


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