Natural Resources to help you go greener
Whether you’re looking for environmental consultation to make your event greener or accreditation to show off your sustainability, below are a slate of organisations around the world dedicated to improving and verifying the sustainability of the events sector.
These organisations provide knowledge, resources, and best practice for event organisers, artists, suppliers and vendors – meaning that the first step towards a more sustainable sector doesn’t have to be the hardest.
Sustainable Event Alliance
Based in New South Wales but with partners all over the globe, the Sustainable Event Alliance (SEA) unites live events professionals who are focused on improving the sustainability of the sector. In addition to its online knowledge bank, the SEA’s activities include accrediting sustainability professionals, helping events become greener, and providing spaces for networking and discussion.
Green Operations Europe, known as GO Group, is a pan-European think tank that aims to inspire industry professionals to make their operations greener, smarter, and more sustainable. Initiated at the first International Green Events Conference in Bonn in November 2010, as a joint initiative of Yourope (the European Festival Association), Bucks New University in the UK, and Jacob Bilabel and Holger Jan Schmidt’s Green Music Initiative, the organisation connects festivals with scientists and environmental initiatives; delivers workshops and contributes to panel discussions; organises festival field trips; and helps certify Yourope’s member festivals as Clean’n’Green, among other activities.
Green Events International
Formed in 2014, Green Events works with Dutch and international partners to share knowledge, resources, and best practice for event organisers, artists, suppliers, vendors and more. Its areas of focus include water, energy, transport, and waste, with past projects having included the Plastic Promise, which saw leading festivals commit to eliminating single-use plastics, and ADE Green, a ‘green deal’ for European festivals launched at Amsterdam Dance Event 2019.
Greener Events, in full the Greener Events Foundation, was established in 2009 by international snowboarding ace Terje Håkonsen, and businessman and philanthropist Jan Christian Sundt. Offering environmental consultation and expertise in making events sustainable, Greener Events has worked with events including Tons of Rock, Øya Festival, Hove Festival, and Way Out West in Sweden, and consulted for Yourope and the European Festival Association.
A Greener Festival
A Greener Festival (AGF) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the sustainability of the events sector. In addition to its annual Green Events and Innovations Conference – which returns for a special summer edition on 16 September – AGF provides certification, training, CO2 analysis, and consultation for organisers, venues, tours, artists, festivals, sports, suppliers, and local authorities for all event types internationally, and also presents the annual International AGF Awards.
Chaired by John Langford, COO of AEG Europe, LIVE Green is one of four newly formed specialist subcommittees for Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment (LIVE), the umbrella organisation representing 13 UK live music industry associations. Bringing together the leading sustainability practitioners across the sector to produce a single environmental vision for live music, it sits alongside LIVE Touring, LIVE Venues, and an as-yet unnamed group focusing on diversity and inclusion.
Sustainability in Production Alliance (SiPA) is a global association of individuals and organisations across the production sector, including stage managers, manufacturers, tour & production managers, venues, producers, engineers, and technicians, who are working towards creating a sustainable future for the industry and a ‘triple bottom line’ of people, planet, and profit. It offers a range of resources free of charge to industry professionals, including ‘ten easy wins’ that can be implemented as a starting point today.
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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.
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
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 .
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European festivals unite to create greener future
A collective of festivals and non-governmental organisations have launched Green Europe Experience (GEX), an initiative working to create a more eco-friendly future for music and arts festivals.
Portugal’s Boom Festival, Dour Festival in Belgium, Pohoda Festival in Slovakia and French event We Love Green have teamed up with sustainability groups A Greener Festival (AGF) in the UK and Germany’s Go Group in Germany as the co-initiators of GEX.
“In the middle of these demanding times, we feel an even stronger urge to use this special moment in history to take a deep breath and work towards healing our connection with this planet,” reads a statement from GEX initiators. “We understand that the big challenges ahead can only be addressed in a co-creation process.”
Using the two main focal points of scenography – festival decor, artwork, installations, design and signage – and food, GEX will work on developing ways to allow festivals to become fully circular through a process of implementation and review.
“We understand that the big challenges ahead can only be addressed in a co-creation process”
The project will take place over a period of three years, with the first year dedicated to minimising the ecological impact of scenography and the second focusing on food.
All findings will be shared with the teams of the festivals involved, local suppliers and stakeholders. A manual will be drawn up and distributed for the use of the wider festival and events industry.
“The GEX project brings together some of the most visionary organisations in this space to act as a catalyst to collectively accelerate the positive changes we need to make,” comments AGF co-founder and director Claire O’Neill.
“We look forward to exploring, learning and sharing ways for creative expression and precious social interaction that puts people and the planet at the forefront.”
GEX is co-funded by the European Union’s Creative Europe Programme.