With the United Nations Climate Change Conference, Cop 26, now over, A Greener Festival’s Claire O’Neill is pleased to see that the UK live music industry is finally making substantial environmental progress.

Does anyone else feel like they were floating in liquid in a blender for 18months, and then in late summer 2021 someone switched it on full blast … or is that just me?

Be it a bumpy ride, our industry is finally emerging from being grounded on the naughty step for 18 months.

Why were we on the naughty step? Perhaps it is because for the last few centuries we’ve dominated the rest of the natural environment instead of caring for it, and caused disease to spread between species. Mother nature in all her loving fury gave us some time out to think about what we’re doing, who we are, what’s important and where we’re heading. So, have we learned our lesson?

There have been many HGV loads of discussion about building back better and the new green future of our industry during the last 18 months. The live music industry has been united through LIVE Green. The LIVE Green Declaration for the UK live industry to reduce emissions and reach Net Zero by 2030 was launched at the Green Events & Innovations Conference on 16 September.

Meanwhile, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Studies launched its research into the impacts of touring commissioned by Massive Attack. Live Nation and AEG launched yet more initiatives that commit their global operations to sustainability targets. Agents have come together following reach out from Paradigm Agency to collaborate on sustainability. Coldplay just announced their greener tour actions, whilst the AGF Greener Tour Certification and Greener Arena Certification is being adopted by the industry including the home of COP26 – the Scottish Event Campus. Organisations such as Earth Percent have been established to help fund the music industry’s green actions.

What I am so happy to experience is that the talk is truly becoming the walk. There are certainly varying degrees of engagement and action, but the writing is on the wall and there is no looking away. We’re all in.

Our industry putting egos aside and getting its house in order couldn’t have come at a better time, aside from obviously 30 or more years ago.. The EU has made clear that legislatively all businesses will have to cut energy consumption by 50% in less than 10 years. If a business is not green it will not exist. In the UK the DCMS is consulting on the inclusion of green requirements within event licensing. There is no getting away from sustainability being an essential and integral part of everything that we do going forwards, period.

What we need to do now is work closely with each other, with all suppliers, sponsors, partners and stakeholders to improve our operations and have a more positive impact on the people we reach. When we hit walls or ceilings where we can’t find a solution, we need to present this coherently and collectively as a united industry voice to governments and policy makers, to create changes to our national infrastructure and so on. Furthermore, we need to ensure that the voices represented and leading the conversation represent all diverse parts of humanity, including the deepest sustainable knowledge on this planet – indigenous communities.

Becoming a sustainable society is going to take policy and system change for which we need the governments, infrastructural change for which we need business (us and our suppliers), and it is going to take cultural change for which governments desperately need us. The power of movement is the people. We all have a shared responsibility and an important role to play.

This article was published in the November edition of Access All Areas. Read it here, and/or subscribe for free here.