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Green Guardians: Artists and activists

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 activation, communication and marketing.


Paula Birtwistle
During the pandemic, Paula Birtwistle’s work life switched from travelling across the country to large gigs, to creating hyper-local experiences in her hometown. Working with local partners Culture Weston, Loves music venue, and Music Declares Emergency, she has been able to produce a series of live gigs with low environmental impact but huge social impact.

Birtwistle attended online training with Walk The Plank/Green Production Lab, a course designed to empower production managers to make better environmental choices in their work. “It’s interesting how people accept my advice on health and safety matters, but my advice on environmental impact should be taken just as seriously – and I am starting to see this happen,” she reports.

“For my latest series of gigs, I used a solar system to power them, backed up with investment in some very efficient lighting and sound kit. Even with Kosheen rocking the tent of 120 people we only pulled about 1,100W, or less than half [the amount of power required to boil] a domestic kettle!”

In addition to thinking about power, Birtwistle made sure everything was sourced locally, even down to beer brewed in the town and locally made vegan food. “I’ve also been thinking more about how to start important conversations,” she adds. “For example, I worked with Music Declares Emergency on a really cool inclusive gig that used the pull of free, quality live music to talk about local climate issues and small changes people could make. We hope to take this bandstand model around the country.”

“The UK live events industry is made up of people with exactly the skills needed to find new sustainable solutions”

Greenbelt Festival
Code Red for Humanity – that was the stark warning on 9 August from UN secretary general António Guterres. A brutal but realistic assessment highlighting just how important it is that we all join forces to avert a rapidly approaching climate catastrophe.

Organisers at Greenbelt have always advocated that there is strength in unity, in working together and learning from others, and that has been no different during the pandemic. Throughout this tricky time of cancelled festivals and plans A, B, C and D for any interim events, Greenbelt’s Green Guardians have persisted with their desire to find new and sustainable ways of doing things.
The organisation has talked regularly with the A Greener Festival community, shared knowledge with others in training sessions, and envisioned how the festival might be improved in 2022.

They’ve continued to support Vision:2025 and helped to set up a sustainability steering group for the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF).

“One thing we know for certain is that, battered and bruised as it is, the UK live events industry is made up of incredibly talented, problem-solving individuals – people with exactly the skills needed to find new sustainable solutions, new ways of powering things, of avoiding waste and inspiring audiences to make changes,” says Greenbelt’s Mary Corfield. “We can do this, if we all work together – we look forward to working alongside you.”

Openstage is seeking to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50,000 tons of CO2e per annum from the UK music market

Alison Hussey
After 32 years of being the first global concierge service to actively offer green and ethical options and support to rock stars and events, and with a history of working with global superstar vegans and activists, lockdown changed everything for Alison Hussey – as it did for so many.

Finding a silver lining in the situation allowed her to work towards the Vision:2025 aim of building the industry back greener (#BuildBackGreener) and to continue concentrating on promoting green lifestyles, holistic living and sustainability behind the scenes via social media, with her own company VIPZeronauts. She was also able to devote more time to her advisory roles with Openstage and NOQ, helping to empower companies that are making a difference in sustainability.

Openstage – with its capacity to use fan data to quantify and reduce emissions associated with live events, analysing location clusters of ticket purchasers and offering lower-emission travel alternatives to attendees – is seeking to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50,000 tons of CO2e per annum from the UK music market, and by 10% in any other country they operate meaningfully within.

NOQ, meanwhile, is revolutionising food and drink ordering at events and venues, solving problems around queue management whilst enhancing customer experience and providing a covid-safe solution. The NOQ app is an all-round more sustainable solution for events and venues, increasing sales whilst reducing food wastage, manpower and cash transactions through pre-ordering, and working with NCASS, AIF and NOEA.

“Shambala is becoming a disposables-free event, embracing new energy technologies, and working on a radical new food strategy”

Chris Johnson
In 2019, Chris Johnson spent around six months on furlough – his first break from festival organising in 20 years. As well as giving him the time and space to learn how to relax, it also provided him with the opportunity to get involved with various sustainability projects.

Johnson recently joined the Climate Live Advisory Board and is proud to have played a small role in getting singer-songwriter and political activist Declan McKenna onto a boat outside the UK Houses of Parliament with the message “Can you hear us yet?”

Meanwhile, at Vision:2025, which Johnson chairs, efforts were refocussed on communication and resources to support climate action. A monthly industry newsletter was launched, and a new ‘knowledge hub’ website constructed. The organisation also gained EU funding to develop a European knowledge hub and e-learning course for event professionals, which is under development.

In his role as CEO of UK music industry sustainable travel charity ecolibrium, Johnson was able to support a rebrand and strategic review, giving the organisation stronger foundations.

Last year, he also launched Chris Johnson Consulting, which has been working with marketing agencies, events companies and industry bodies on sustainability strategy.

And if all that wasn’t enough, his festival, Shambala, has also been busy on the sustainability front, including becoming a disposables-free event, embracing new energy technologies, and working on diversity and a radical new food strategy. “I can’t wait to get my teeth back into this in 2022,” says Johnson.

“Amplify gives 25 musicians a three-day immersion into nature connection and environmental awareness training”

Sam Lee
In addition to being a working artist, Sam Lee keeps himself busy through multiple projects. He is a co-founder of Music Declares Emergency, hosting their monthly radio show, supporting their No Music on a Dead Planet campaign, and sits on the Live Green working group focusing on creating a greener Live Music Charter.

Informing IQ how he has spent the pandemic, Lee says, “I released my first book, The Nightingale, a biography of this red-list endangered bird and its cultural importance. “Through my arts and environment organisation, The Nest Collective, I have been running many ecological awareness projects including my six-week concert series, Singing with Nightingales, both in-person and hosting the online broadcast series for Earth Day and International Dawn Chorus Day.”

Lee is also leading a series of the ecologically unique chalk stream awareness nature walks for audiences around the southeast of the UK. He continues, “I produced and led an artists’ development programme called Amplify, giving 25 musicians a three-day immersion into nature connection and environmental awareness training. I’ve also been holding numerous lectures and panels at conferences and events online on the importance of arts and creativity in the campaign for climate justice and sustainability.”


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Female urinals developed to eliminate festival queues

Historically, equality at festivals has fallen over when it comes to fans answering a call of nature. While male attendees are often catered to with urinal installations, their female peers have to endure waiting times of up to 30 times longer to use the facilities.

However, a number of companies are addressing the situation with the introduction of female urinals, designed to vastly cut queues for festivalgoers, which could, in turn, result in higher concession sales, with ladies able to spend more time waiting for food or drink without having to meticulously plan their day around toilet breaks.

At the Green Events and Innovations Conference in March, the order books of Lapee became busier after numerous festivals were impressed by its advantages, while the latest operation to enter the market is Peequal, which is making a similar system available to event organisers.

Former University of Bristol students Amber Probyn and Hazel McShane developed their hands-free Peequal after interviewing 2,000 women in focus groups and spending their summers working at music festivals. According to McShane, during their work breaks they had to choose between going to the loo or getting food, because the queues for the toilets were so bad.

“Peequal has been created by women, for women”

As a result, the pair took on the challenge of designing a better toilet solution as part of their master’s degree project, and the outcome could very well be seen in a field near you soon.

Like Lapee, Peequal provides users with a degree of privacy, and delivers a much greener solution for toilet facilities at events.

The standalone, touch free Peequal units claim to be six times quicker to use than a lock-door loo. The design is flat-pack and its developers say it is six times quicker to pack, as well as being made from 100% recycled material and they produce 98% less CO2 than portable toilets. The unit can be configured in three ways, making it easily adaptable to different environments.

“Peequal has been created by women, for women,” say the inventors. “We have been endorsed by WaterAid, Glastonbury and many more customers, who also see this problem and want a solution. Initially we intend to rent to early adopting and influential customers, and then scale up to reach the global market where we have identified a demand.”


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GEI announces special summer 2021 conference

The Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) has announced the launch of a special GEI Summer Edition taking place on 16 September 2021.

The launch, which coincides with Earth Day today (22 April), follows this year’s 13th edition of the Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI), the leading conference for sustainability in the international events sector, in March. The decision to host a second edition in 2021 reflects the doubling of efforts to create a greener events industry post-Covid-19, according to organisers.

“We intend to set an example that we, the creative and can-do organisations and individuals are leading the way, and the future that we want to co-create is fully in our grasp,” says Claire O’Neill, co-founder of conference organiser A Greener Festival (AGF).

“There’s no time to waste, and so we’re keeping our foot firmly on the (zero-emissions) pedal to make sure our industry steps up to be a positive force to create a future we can all be proud of.”

“The future that we want to co-create is fully in our grasp”

Previous editions of GEI have welcomed speakers including Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme), Dale Vince (Ecotricity/Forest Green Rovers), Emma Banks (CAA), Tom Schroeder (Paradigm), Fay Milton (Music Declares Emergency), Alex Hardee (Paradigm), Patricia Yague (Live Nation), Adam Pearson (O2 Arena/AEG), Mark Stevenson (ClientEarth/MoD), Bob Wilson (Greenpeace), Niclas Svenningson (UNFCCC) and Virginijus Sinkevicius (European commissioner for environment, oceans and fisheries).

GEI Summer Edition takes place just two months prior to COP26 (the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference). Conference topics are expected to include social justice, biodiversity, clean air, clean water and healthy soils, wellbeing and mental health, as well as exploring how events and tours can make positive impacts through their design, energy, purchases, water, sanitation, materials, food and drinks.

Organisers expect 200+ delegates to attend the first GEI Summer Edition, limited launch price tickets for which are on sale now.

GEI is AGF’s annual flagship event, delivered in partnership with the International Live Music Conference in London. It has been running for over 13 years and welcomes delegates and speakers who are leaders in the event sector, sustainability and regenerative economies.


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Green Events and Innovations 2021: Highlights

The 13th edition of the conference for sustainability in the live events took place online today, welcoming industry leaders, professionals, visionaries, governments and all individuals and organisations who are working to bring environmental and social sustainability to the live events, sports and creative sectors.

The Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI) was presented by A Greener Festival (AGF) in partnership with ILMC. Passes for ILMC, which begins tomorrow, are still available here.

A Greener Tour Round III 
brought together key stakeholders from inside and outside of the live music industry to discuss what we can do collectively to create the regenerative tour of the future, post-pandemic.

Tom Schroeder, Paradigm Talent Agency (UK), suggested that the live entertainment business could use its unique power to reach and inspire the masses to further the cause.

“We also have this extra string to our bow. We can do huge events to highlight the message of what’s going to happen to the planet and what we need to do and that’s also going to change and reach areas that aren’t just about the show itself.

“Nothing to do with Live Aid was directly producing food in Africa but what it did is it made the Western world understand third world poverty – for 20,30,40 years it had a huge impact. And we know that musicians are incredibly good at communicating causes to massively engaged audiences.”

Nuno Bettencourt, guitarist for Extreme (US), agreed, saying that the industry should be empowering its artists to speak about sustainability, as they have the power to influence others.

“You’ve got to make sustainability as aspirational as we’ve made a rock and roll lifestyle”

“We need the agents and managers and experts to give artists a utility belt and superhero cape by showing them how to do it and make them excited about the cause. Fans want to be inspired, they don’t want to hear you blame the politicians.”

Mark Stevenson, Reluctant Futurist, MOD & ClientEarth, added: “Artists are very good at taking ideas and concepts and philosophies and ways of looking at the world and making them hugely, hugely popular. So why not apply that to sustainability as well? You’ve got to make sustainability and regenerative ways of thinking as aspirational as we’ve made a rock and roll lifestyle. I want to second what Nuno said about showing that the solutions are out there and I think you need to give people agency.”

Anna Golden, AEG Presents (UK), says that for live music fans to get behind sustainability, systems need to be in place at venues so “it can become second nature and when people go to a gig they feel like they are doing good”.

However, Golden emphasised that any progress is still a step in the right direction: “It’s not that we have to get this perfect the first time around and yeah we do need to get some sort of charter and some sort of objectives and achievable roles in place, but actually if we’re having a slow start because resourcing and finances are tight, all we have to do is be better than yesterday.”

“All we have to do is be better than yesterday”

GEI and IPM join forces to discuss the viability of sustainable production during It’s Not Easy Being Green.

Carlot Scott, Tait/Sipa (UK), kicked off the panel on an optimistic note, saying she could see the industry returning to touring with ‘a greener way of thinking’ after the pandemic.

“During the hiatus, many of us, and individual organisations and groups have started to pull together and started to become a cohesive force started to really analyse where we were going wrong as an industry and how we can be better.”

“One of the things that we really discovered was that people were already on board already with the idea of sustainability, they just didn’t know what to do and they wanted some guidelines and a way to start their journey,” she said.

Ric Lipson, Stufish (UK), says that, as set designers, they’re often ‘berated’ for designing something that’s too big and that uses too many trucks but that’s not the biggest issue in their pursuit to be more sustainable.

“I don’t think necessarily the scale of the production is the problem, but it’s the speed at which the scale of the production has developed and the choices that have to be made to enable that to happen whether that’s going down the road of using something that’s been used for 20 years because we know it works but it might be too heavy, versus we talked about that material because it’s coming from some part of the world that you know we’d have to fly it here or whatever else.”

“We need to go to the promoters and say: look, if you want us to come in with a set design that fits a good budget and doesn’t end up [being used for other artists too], we need to understand the routing schedule of the tour. And maybe the conversation with the artist has to happen much earlier, not necessarily when they’ve got an idea of what the design is but what they want the concept of the show to be.”

“People were already on board already with the idea of sustainability, they just didn’t know what to do”

Panellists on the We Are Not Socially Distanced session had one resounding message for viewers: privilege comes with responsibility.

Michael Fritz, Viva Con Agua (SA), said: “I think it’s all about how much access you have, either to education, human rights, money, technologies or resources. Those are privileges and if you have a privilege you have big responsibility.”

Ash Perrin, The Flying Seagull Project (UK), added: “I’m never gonna use the word ‘underprivileged’ again because it suggests that privilege is the normal state and underprivileged is a rare state of people who have failed but actually privileged is the rare and abnormal.”

Yaw Owusu, BrukOut Entertainment/PRS Foundation (UK), agreed: “If you’re in a place where putting food on the table or surviving day to day is not your concern then you’ve got more space to wonder about the causes.”

“I’m never gonna use the word ‘underprivileged’ again because it suggests that privilege is the normal state”

Post-Pollution Politics, Industry & Culture
featured dialogue between the live events sector, green activists and Niclas Svenningsen of the United Nations’ global climate action team as to how events can contribute to ensuring targets for emissions reductions and sustainability are met.

Svenningsen spoke of the importance of getting back to business “in a smarter and better way”, while Green Music Initiative’s Jacob Bilabel said change is inevitable – it’s how that change happens that we have a choice in. “We are locked in structures that are not good and not right, and they’re not even making us happy any more,” he said. “Do we want to have that transformation happen by disaster or by design?”

Dismissing the concept of a pollution tax as “absurd”, Dave Ojay of Kenya’s Naam Festival said: “How can I give you a licence to destroy nature simply because you can pay? Rather than a pollution tax, let’s force the polluter to set up a recycling or regeneration plan to keep [their business] green.”

Green energy entrepreneur Dale Vince, who stayed on after his keynote, said the events sector has “so much more power in this than you think. The choices you make can help steer the world in a different direction.”

“Do we want the transformation to happen by disaster or by design?”

Dale Vince’s keynote with AGF’s Claire O’Neill (as well as Vince himself) is a hit with Alison Hussey of concierge company Rockstar Services:


The Elephant in the Road
session posed the question: What with audience, artist/athlete and crew transport, and tech, behaviour and lifestyle, can we really keep the show on the road within ecosystem boundaries?

Matt Cheshire, The Needs Group, UK said: “With regards to the ground elements, we need to look at setting up electric charging points at festivals or hotels, looking at ground logistics from airports from accommodation to festival sites, and looking at solar panels and things like that.”

However, in terms of reducing travel for touring artists going from festival to festival, Cheshire points out “radius clauses in some of the contracts are still quite substantial”.

Adam Hatton, Global Motion, UK, said: “I think the real key here is that if we look for technology to replace the technology we have now so we can carry on living the lifestyle, we live now I think we’re dreaming. What this really boils down to is lifestyle changes we need to work out what we want to spend our carbon on and focus on that and make changes in our lives in order to accommodate that.

“The only real way of making this sustainable, I think, is by reducing the amount of kit we take around the world. For example, why are we moving stages around the world? It should be already there already waiting for us.”

Claire Haigh, (Greener Transport Solutions, UK) and Aruna Sivakuma (Centre for Transport Studies, Imperial College London, UK) also appeared on the panel to discuss government commitments to reducing emissions.


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Elton John, Jack Johnson win German Sustainability Awards

Musicians Elton John, Jack Johnson, Milky Chance and Joy Denalane were among the winners at the 13th German Sustainability Award (GSA), held in Dusseldorf on 2 and 3 December.

The awards, organised in cooperation with the German government, recognise the best solutions to global warming, overuse of resources, the extinction of species and division in society.

“Due to coronavirus, this year’s award ceremony resembled a TV show,” says Stefan Lohmann, the awards’ artist relations manager. “Musical highlights of the events were the live performances of Joy Denalane, Jack Johnson and Milky Chance. Other emotional highlights were the laudations and thank-you speeches, as well as the short film documentaries about the artists’ commitment.

“This year, I am particularly pleased about the great variety of commitments the international stars and honorary prize winners are committed to. After all, sustainability is not only about ecology and environmental protection, but also about social justice, equality, inclusion and human rights. It is about achieving the global sustainability goals.”

“I am particularly pleased about the great variety of commitments”

The German Sustainability Award is the national award for achievement in sustainability in business, municipalities and research, and the largest of its kind in Europe.

Sir Elton was recognised with an honorary award in recognition of his humanitarian work, including with the Elton John Aids Foundation, while Motown-signed German star Joy Denalane is known for her activism against discrimination, racism and prejudice in German and abroad.

Hawaii-born Jack Johnson, meanwhile, was awarded for his commitment to marine protection, and Milky Change for their carbon-neutral and sustainable touring.

YouTuber Fynn Kliemann received the Next Economy Award, which recognises “green founders”, or entrepreneurs who are commited to fairness, creativity and sustainability.

Registration is open now for the 13th Green Events & Innovations Conference, the leading conference for sustainability in live events, which takes place on 2 March 2021, the day before ILMC.


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GEI Summer Series: Boom Festival shares secret to 20-year success

For the latest instalment of the GEI Summer Series, organised by A Greener Festival (AGF) and the Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI), Claire O’Neill talks to Artur Mendes on what would have been the 20th-anniversary edition of Boom Festival.

The Biennial Transformational festival takes place in Portugal and welcomes over 40,000 people from around the world each year, but was forced to reschedule this year’s event due to coronavirus.

Instead, Mendes discusses the triumphs and trials of running Boom Festival for two decades with O’Neill, including the challenges associated with winning AGF’s Outstanding Greener Festival Award six times.

“Due to the pandemic, we risk going backwards in terms of the whole plastic disposable culture”

Other topics discussed include sustainability challenges that have arisen due to the pandemic, the redistribution of budget for sustainability, and the festival’s work with NGOs and communities.

Speaking of the sustainability challenges that have been presented by the pandemic, Mendes says: “We risk going backwards in terms of the whole plastic disposable culture… the governments and many promoters don’t want to risk the safety and the health of the people. I’m already seeing disposable cups are back in Portugal. We are also concerned about the impact of hygiene chemicals on water biology and health. We don’t know how prepared the infrastructure of festivals and events are for this.”

The interview went live on YouTube and Facebook yesterday (4 August) and can be watched in its entirety above.

The series launched on World Environment Day (June 5) with Preventing Plastic Pollution Post Pandemic, a virtual panel featuring speakers from the environmental and live events sectors.


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Green Guardians: Event infrastructure pioneers

The Green Guardians Guide, spearheaded by the Green Events and Innovations Conference and IQ Magazine, will be compiled each year to highlight some of the work being done around the world to reduce the carbon footprint of the live entertainment business.

To identify the companies, organisations and individuals that are pioneering sustainability measures, a Green Guardians committee has been established, including representatives of some of the sector’s most respected bodies, including A Greener Festival, Go Group, Greener Events Foundation, Green Events Netherlands, Green Music Initiative, Julie’s Bicycle, Réseau des Femmes en Environnement (The women in environment network) and Vision:2025.

This inaugural list features 60 entries across ten categories, and we would like to congratulate all those featured for making this year’s guide. As well as thanking everyone involved for the hard work they are putting in to making the world a cleaner and better place. The goal next year is to feature 100 Green Guardians and establish this as an annual guide for anyone that is looking for partners to address sustainability matters and, ideally, help to make the live events industry carbon neutral.

IQ will publish entries across all categories over the coming weeks. Up first, are sustainailbity pioneers from the event infrastructure sector.


Event Infrastructure

Located at the centre of Montreal’s Cité des arts du cirque, the 1,200-capacity TOHU is a place where dissemination, creation, and experimentation converge with culture, environment and community involvement. Since its 2004 inception, it has become an example of sustainable development through culture.

TOHU’s 360-degree circular hall is in the purest circus tradition and plays a major role in the incredible growth of Quebec circus, which it places at the top of the bill, thanks to its dedicated venue and festival.

TOHU’s Pavilion is green not only in spirit, but in body, too. It was been awarded LEED GOLD (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) – a programme that imposes the strictest environmental standards, not only during construction but also in the management of the completed building.

Among the many measures TOHU can boast are passive geothermal power, an ice bunker, biogas heating, natural/hybrid ventilation, recycled architecture, green roofs, a naturalised basin, and even a vegetable garden and beehives.

Since its 2004 inception, TOHU has become an example of sustainable development through culture

Passareco offers soil protection solutions that make it possible to use nature while also protecting it: whether parking lot infrastructure, hiking or bike trails – Passareco helps customers reconcile the different usage requirements.

Climate protection is central to Passareco and as a result it sources wood from regional sawmills and uses 100% green electricity. The company’s all-encompassing approach to sustainability means it is incredibly careful in choosing its partners, and it promotes like-minded organisations such as tent rental company Tent in Time, social company Syphon AG (which produces floor-protection panels), landscapers Biel-Seeland, and a variety of social enterprise operations that variously provide skills training to unemployed and disabled adults.

Passareco also champions ESB’s Biel/Bienne green electricity product, which is Naturemade Star-certified – produced in the Biel city area through a combination of electricity from the Taubenloch Gorge and power from solar roofs.

Passareco offers soil protection solutions that make it possible to use nature while also protecting it

NNNN was created to target the audio market with a disruptive solution and mindset, combining acoustic quality with sustainability. The company’s patents enable it to do with sound what LED did with light, and it has succeeded in designing speaker solutions that reduce energy consumption by up to 90%, compared to leading premium brands.

Transportation is one of the largest contributors of CO2 emissions, so NNNN is setting up a local manufacturer in the US to cover the North American market, while manufacturing in Norway will cover the European market.

NNNN’s speakers are made of sustainable Nordic spruce and are manufactured without toxic substances such as beryllium. Manufacturing in Norway is done with 100% hydroelectric power, which has no CO2 footprint. The company says its search for better solutions for the environment has only just begun.

NNNN was created to combine acoustic quality with sustainability

FGH Security
Although its mission statement is “Keeping People Safe,” environmental issues have always been on the agenda for FGH Security. The company was an early adopter of the #DrasticOnPlastic campaign and saves 100,000 cups and bottles from going to landfill every year, simply by issuing 500 mugs and 500 sports bottles to its team.

FGH has been carbon-neutral for a number of years and as part of its ISO 14001 certification, it calculates all the carbon it has produced (travel Co2, paper, electric, etc.) and plants four trees for every ton. The FGH team is also working on a plan to build an office from sustainable materials, complete with solar panels, vegetable gardens and a gym that produces electricity.

Boss Peter Harrison tells IQ, “Most of the things we have done – electric cars, a paperless office, #DrasticOnPlastic – are actually cost-neutral, so doing good does not need to cost a lot. It just needs the will, tenacity and some thinking outside the box.”

Although its mission statement is “Keeping People Safe,” environmental issues have always been on the agenda for FGH Security

Continest is an innovative, foldable container solution especially developed for relatively short-period usage anywhere there is a need for temporary accommodation, office/meeting rooms, first aid, command posts, storage, service areas, and cooling and heating purposes. The containers are uniquely developed for easy and quick set up and transport, thus being environmentally friendly. The solution offers an 80% cost cut on logistic and storage costs, and a similar reduction of CO2 and GHG emissions.

In the next 12 months, three main innovations will be rolled out: the CN20 Solar 20-foot, foldable container; connectable Wet Cell units; and the bullet and blast proof foldable version.

Continest aims to succeed in the event market segment as well as providing innovative solutions to the defense industry.

The company claims to be the world’s first signage specialist that only deals with sustainable materials

The Sustainable Signage Co.
With its plastics-free signage solutions, The Sustainable Signage Co. is a forward-thinking, can-do operation, whose focus is to help companies and individuals reduce the amount of plastic-containing materials that are currently being used in the signage industry. It does this by offering sustainable alternatives that are as good, if not better, than current plastic signs used, while also helping to minimise the amount of plastic entering landfill every day.

The company claims to be the world’s first signage specialist that only deals with sustainable materials that can meet the demand of internal and external signage in small and large quantities. Its products have been scrutinised and accredited by A Plastic Planet and it says it is the only signage company to have been accredited with this certification mark.

Located in the West Midlands, UK, the company has both UK and international clients, and even before the Covid-19 pandemic, it was encouraging the use of Skype or Facetime to reduce carbon footprint whenever possible.

Water scarcity is a very real concern for organisers

Water scarcity is a very real concern for organisers because events cannot take place without a guaranteed supply of freshwater and wastewater supply for sewerage maintenance.

SANI solutions has developed water-saving sanitary vacuum products for the event sector, including vacuum toilets, showers and urinals.

SANI’s products require less water and less power, meaning that emissions from wastewater transport and power consumption are reduced in comparison to traditional festival toilets. There is a lower faecal load of wastewater compared to portable toilets and the wastewater left is more resource efficient to clarify in sewage treatment plants compared to portable toilet wastewater.

The company says that it can save: up to 80% in wastewater transport costs compared to conventional flush toilets; up to 30% in energy costs through more efficient units, distributors, etc; and up to 50% in storage costs for wastewater and freshwater. In 2019, SANI worked with Rock am Ring to install vacuum toilets, showers, washing units, urinals and toilets with wheelchair accessibility. The festival saved 25-30% water for the event, or about 1,500-1,800m³ .


Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 90, or subscribe to the magazine here

Living the stream: IQ 90 out now

IQ 90, the latest, fully digital edition of IQ Magazine, focuses on the two biggest issues of the past few months – the continuing impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the growing momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement.

As most people continue to work from home due to the coronavirus crisis, IQ Magazine has moved to digital and will be delivered monthly for the time being, as a response to feedback on the need for more news, analysis and information.

In the midst of the first global pandemic of the 21st century, IQ editor Gordon Masson muses that, perhaps, the decade starting 2020 may be remembered for more noble reasons: the fight to root out and properly tackle systemic racism.

The new issue of the magazine includes analysis and expert commentary on the matter of racism in the music industry, as well as a list of educational resources and relevant organisations to support.

Readers are also reminded of the upcoming IQ Focus panel, Beyond Rhetoric: Race in Live Music, which airs at 4 p.m.BST/5 p.m. CET on Thursday (25 June), which will look at issues of racism within the live business.

IQ 90 focuses on the continuing impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the growing momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement

Although many nations are embarking on tentative reopening plans, live events as we know them have not yet returned and, in a move characteristic of the live industry’s creativity, new kinds of events have started to emerge. IQ 90 takes an in-depth look at Laura Marling’s recent behind-closed-doors concerts to talk about the mechanics, benefits and economics of audience-less gigs.

Other successful shutdown formats analysed in the magazine include BTS’ recent Bang Bang Con: The Live concert, which garnered upwards of 750,000 viewers, making it the most-attended paid virtual concert in history; Lewis Capaldi’s DICE TV home gig and Twitch’s extended-reality broadcast of Dutch DJ duo W&W.

Issue #90 also sees the launch of the Green Guardians Guide, an annual initiative that IQ is developing along with the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) to shine a light on the companies, organisations and individuals working tirelessly to make touring and live entertainment a more sustainable place.

The live market in India is put under the microscope, too, as Adam Woods explains why the country has the greatest potential of any relatively untapped touring market in the world.

The issue also comes filled with some regular features, such as the New Signings page; Unsung Hero section, which looks at Viktor Trifu, technical director of Exit Festival, one of the only major festivals to go ahead this year; and an old favourite, Your Shout, with live event professionals sharing their most bizarre festival moment.

As always, most content from the magazine will appear online in some form over the next few months. However, if you can’t wait for your fix of essential live music industry features, opinion and analysis, click here to subscribe now.

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GEI launches Summer Series of virtual panels

The first live GEI Summer Series session, organised by A Greener Festival and the Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI), takes place on World Environment Day this Friday (5 June).

Featuring speakers from the environmental and live events sectors, the virtual panel, Preventing Plastic Pollution Post Pandemic, will be broadcast live on Facebook and YouTube at 3pm BST (4pm CET).

With Covid-19 pandemic having turned business as usual upside down, panellists will consider how this ‘new normal’ is affecting the use of plastics.

Are perceptions and protocols for reuse being reframed? How do we manage the mounting requirement for personal protective equipment (PPE), which are often often single-use plastics? What changes, ideas and actions are coming from the event community during this period of reflection and response, and where do we go from here?

A Greener Festival’s Claire O’Neill chairs the session, which also features:

The event will be broadcast live on YouTube and Facebook. Viewers can submit questions for the panellists and comments during the session, which is free to join.

For more information, contact hello@agreenerfestival.com.


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GEI 2020: Six key takeaways

Torchbearers for sustainability and AGF directors, Claire O’Neill and Teresa Moore, welcomed the festival and events industry to the 12th Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI). From food waste to transport, audience engagement to sustainable electricity, here are six key takeaways from GEI 12…

1) Panel: Focus on Festivals – Living Lab of Live
In collaboration with Green Deal Circular Festivals, this panel discussed moving from waste to resource and exploring the challenges and advancements of the circular festival vision. How can we control consumer behaviour? How can we wrestle control of the festival supply chain?

Paul Reed broadcast details of the Drastic on Plastic pledge in the second of its three-year timescale and disclosed the wider campsite waste problem. Campsite waste accounts for a much larger sustainability depreciation than plastic cups, mainly through leaving behind tents and other excess waste; experts shared their findings and visionary methods of tackling the problem.

“We know 5–15 times’ reuse of a reusable cup makes it better than any single-use cup” — Claire O’Neill (A Greener Festival)

2) Breakout Session: Innovation Quick Fire Round – Future Flash
Chris Hurdle of Electric Wheels explained the availability and benefits of electric transport. Hurdle dispelled myths and misinformation regarding the electric vehicle revolution.

In addition, Jacob Bossaer of Bosaq shed light on the challenges of water circulation, creating decentralised water networks, sustainable solutions, economic value and conservation.

3) Panel: It’s a Human Story
Moderated by: John Robb (The Membranes)
Speakers: Laima Leyton (Soulwax), Holger Jan Schmidt (Take A Stand), Kerry O’Brien (YUAF), Chiara Badiali (Music Declares Emergency)

This talk explored how to engage and motivate people young and old to make a difference in the climate conversation, covering both social and environmental issues faced on a worldwide scale. Can music relay the sustainability message?

Panellists investigated the potential art and creativity has to facilitate attitude changes across generations, crystallising our roles in creating a sustainable future and supporting the creative sustainability narrative. How can we make the story a human one?

“If you want to eat seasonal and local in London in March you will not eat” — Kate Cooper (Birmingham Food Council)

4) Breakout Session: Saving the World begins at Breakfast
Moderator: Mark Laurie (NCASS)
Speakers: Kate Cooper (Birmingham Food Council), Javier Rojo (Quantum Waste), Mia Frogner (Øyafestivalen)

An exploration of the impact of food and catering on the environment. This discussion covered food waste, food salvaging and food safety. What is organic, seasonal and local food? When there is little profit in locally sourced goods, what are the chances for the sustainability of food production? What is a sensibly use of land for food production? How do we find different ways of fertilising our soils? Is organic food a western indulgence?

Hard talk regarding the future of food sustainability and the perils of our wide-ranging food trends – and a commissioned musical about food crime…

5) A Greener Tour – Round 2!
Moderator: Gordon Masson (IQ Magazine)
Speakers: Coralie Berael (Forest National Arena); Tanner Watt (REVERB); Emma Banks (Creative Artists Agency (CAA); Patricia Yagüe (Live Nation); Rebecca Travis (RT Tour Management)

A frank discussion on artist, promoters, venues, tour managers and production companies’ sustainable actions and initiatives. This panel confronted the issues of single-use plastic and how the industry has pushed back on environmental impact reduction. Additionally, our speakers put the spotlight on audience transportation and the idea of climate positivity, as opposed to carbon neutrality.

“Single-use plastic is going to be banned by 2021” — Patricia Yagüe (Live Nation)

6) Øya Festival: International Greener Festival Award winners!
Øya Festival in Oslo have been pioneers and passionate drivers in the green event space since their dedicated environmental actions began in 2002. This has gradually grown to be an integrated space of management, manifested in sustainable food experiences, a green purchasing policy, fossil-free transportation, emission reductions and sophisticated resource management. The organisational focus draws on experience and competent external partners to achieve pioneering new standards for environmental festival management.

Øya has gained national recognition as a special festival of expertise, and willingly shares experience with other festivals, locally and abroad. In 2004 it contributed to making a festival-specific criterion for the national Eco-lighthouse certification and a guide book to environmental outdoor events, revised in 2017.

Øya was one of the first festivals to speak at GEI back in around 2008, and have been Outstanding award winners in the Greener Festival Awards for over ten years.


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