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Co-op Live hires Coldplay sustainability consultants

Oak View Group’s new east Manchester development Co-op Live is partnering with Hope Solutions to develop the arena’s net-zero strategy.

Pioneers in reducing live entertainment’s impact on the environment, Hope Solutions has worked with industry sustainability leaders such as Glastonbury and Coldplay – who are embarking on an eco-friendly world tour.

Under the new partnership, Hope Solutions will establish a framework for measuring, tracking, reporting and reducing carbon impacts at Co-op Live.

The firm will also establish a planet-friendly rider that can help shape discussions with suppliers, artists, and promoters.

It was recently announced that the £365 million, 23,500-cap venue – a JV between OVG, Manchester-based City Football Group (CFG) and Harry Styles – will become the UK’s first all-electric arena when it opens in late 2023.

The firm will also establish a planet-friendly rider that can help shape discussions with suppliers, artists, and promoters

The venue takes note of OVG’s Climate Pledge Arena, in Seattle, which is the world’s most environmentally friendly venue.

OVG recently affirmed its commitment to addressing the climate crisis at its first-ever leadership conference in Los Angeles.

Francesca Bodie, president of business development, Oak View Group commented: “Climate change is the fight of our lives, and our industry has an important role to play because we have the power to inspire. We were proud to open the first carbon-neutral arena, Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, last year, and the appointment of Hope Solutions will help bring our planet-friendly vision to life at Co-op Live, which will be the UK’s best and most sustainable arena.”

Mark Donnelly, COO, Co-op Live, added: “Co-op Live will be the UK’s first all-electric and one of the world’s most planet-friendly arenas when it opens in 2023. This partnership with industry-leading climate experts Hope Solutions will enable us to deliver on our net-zero carbon ambitions. The creation of an eco-friendly rider for artists visiting Co-op Live will ensure we’re ready to accommodate everyone’s needs as we begin to book some of the world’s best artists later this year.”

Luke Howell, Hope Solutions, said: “This project represents a real turning point in sustainable culture – being able to deliver world-class entertainment in a low carbon and environmentally positive manner is real progress and we are really looking forward to supporting the Co-op Live team in delivering this. Being sustainable and achieving net-zero doesn’t have to impact on the creative integrity and audience experience, in fact it can absolutely enhance it so both people and planet benefit as this venue will prove.”

The OVG team currently has 11 arena projects under development globally, with Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle and UBS Arena in New York both opening last year.

Sustainability in live music is at the heart of the Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI). Find tickets and more information here.


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Glasgow’s Hydro reveals sponsorship, green plan

Scotland’s Hydro arena (cap. 13,000) has secured a naming rights deal with OVO, the UK’s third-biggest energy supplier (not to be confused with Drake’s record label).

The newly renamed OVO Hydro in Glasgow re-opened its doors in September following an 18-month closure and is now gearing up for a record-breaking 2022.

Next year, the nation’s flagship venue will host 40% more events than in an average year, with concerts from world-renowned acts such as Billie Eilish, Shawn Mendes, The Weeknd, Dua Lipa and Anne-Marie.

The OVO Hydro’s biggest-ever year of live entertainment will also see the venue continue to develop its sustainability credentials as part of a journey to achieve A Greener Festival‘s (AGF) ‘Greener Arena Certification’.

The AGF certification will include external verification that carbon reduction and transition strategies are at the heart of all venue operations, from catering to materials used and circularity.

OVO will support the venue’s goal to achieve the ‘Greener Arena Certification’ through funding of specific carbon-reduction and environmental initiatives recommended as a result of the annual accreditation process.

The venue will host 40% more events than in an average year, with concerts from Billie Eilish, Shawn Mendes and The Weeknd

In turn, the OVO Hydro will support the commitments in OVO’s ‘Plan Zero‘ to become a net-zero business by 2030 and drive progress towards zero-carbon living.

Billy McFadyen, director of finance and development at the SEC (Scottish Event Campus, which includes OVO Hydro), says: “OVO Energy is the perfect partner for SEC to help achieve our sustainable goals and objectives. We’re working hard to build on our existing, multi-layered sustainability programme and look forward to working with A Greener Festival towards achieving ‘Greener Arena Certification’ for the OVO Hydro.

“We’re grateful to OVO for their support towards this incredibly important consultation and certification process and look forward to working together to further strengthen our sustainability credentials, build upon the work we have already done, and make Scotland’s flagship entertainment venue as low impact as possible.”

The work with OVO and AGF will build on sustainability initiatives already in place across the SEC campus, which includes a sustainable food strategy, a pivot to digital ticketing and a long-standing partnership with conservation charity Trees for Life.

The SEC campus comprises the OVO Hydro, SEC Armadillo (cap. 3,000) and SEC Centre (cap. 13,000).


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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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