Independent Spanish promoter Last Tour has become Europe’s first festival promoter to attain the highly sought after B Corp accreditation, for its events Bilbao BBK Live (cap. 35,000), Cala Mijas (50,000) and BIME (2,000). Last Tour communications director Eva Castillo and head of sustainability Eva Sarasola tell Access why joining the B Corp community was so important to the organisation.
More than 6,000 companies, worldwide, are now involved in the B Corp community despite only 4% of applicants being successful. Last Tour is one of very few live music promoters to gain the certification, the result of a rigorous two-year evaluation process to meet B Lab’s high standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability.
The promoter of nine festivals in seven cities, Last Tour is well established as being one of Europe’s leading festival promoters, and it is now the only one that can wear the B Corp badge.
Castillo says Last Tour has had a strong focus on environmental and social advocacy since it launched two decades ago in Bilbao: “Our DNA as a company is naturally aligned with B Corp’s ideals. It is the only certification that can really reflect what we have been doing, in an organic way, for the past 20 years.”
Among the activities that supported Last Tour’s B Corp success was its work to reduce the environmental impact of its events, efforts to reduce sexual attacks at events, diversity and inclusion initiates, extensive charitable contributions and positive local economic impact.
“We had been working on sustainability measures for many years,” says Sarasola. “Around three years ago we started looking for another step forward because we didn’t just want to focus on the environmental part of being sustainable, we’re looking to be sustainable in terms of our environmental, social, and economic impact. We found the B Corp certification was super interesting because it involves a community of different types of companies in different sectors, and it is global.”
While the wider insights that could be gained from an international community of sustainability-focused B Corp companies was a key motivation for getting involved, Sarasola says the fact the Treefort Festival in Idaho was the only B Corp festival meant there was very little in the way of refence points when Last Tour began planning the journey to B Corp accreditation.
With the company’s interests stretching far beyond festivals to promoting concerts, operating an artist agency, venues and even running a record label, she says the first step on the path was to determine the exact size and complexity of the company, and to thoroughly examine the impact of all its actions and processes.
“It is as much about changing processes as adding processes to your company,” says Sarasola. “Probably the hardest thing is that we are not just measuring our impact, we are trying to also measure our collaborators’ and partners’ impacts. We have integrated sustainability processes across everything, so literally everyone in the company is focused on reducing the impact of everything they do.”
Castillo says the reaction from the industry to Last Tour’s B Corp acceptance has been extremely positive: “We were very aware of the responsibility of being the first festival promoter in Europe to gain B Corp citification. On the day we announced it we received a lot of emails and calls from other promoters throughout the industry. We are working with them and collaborating with them because some didn’t know what being part of B Corp means and others knew how difficult it was and wanted to know how to go about it.
“We are very conscious of our responsibility of being a reference for others. We want to be a good example for others to follow in the knowledge that the more promoters and festival operators are involved in B Corp, the better it will be for the world.”