The O2 arena owner and operator AEG Europe has partnered with sustainable event specialists A Greener Future (AGF) and UK-based climate tech startup CUR8 to host ‘carbon removed’ events at the 20,000-capacity venue.

In what AEG described as a world first, and a game-changing step towards the global live events industry reaching net-zero, more than 100 tonnes of residual carbon emissions will be removed at The 1975’s shows at The O2 in February. The company said a “portfolio” of carbon removal methods will be used to physically extract the carbon generated by the events from the atmosphere and store it safely.

In December, The O2 became the first arena to gain the Greener Arena certification from AGF (previously known as A Greener Festival). AGF is a not-for-profit organisation that has been spearheading environmental measures at live events worldwide for the past 15 years. Among the festivals it works with are Glastonbury, Primavera Sound and Roskilde.

AEG Europe said it has been working closely with AGF on how to best quantify and reduce the emissions resulting from live events. It has teamed with CUR8 on the pilot events to predict the emissions of the shows, based on expected outputs for categories including catering, travel/transport and electricity. It equates to more than 100 tonnes per The 1975 show at the arena.

The entertainment giant said that it, and The O2 arena’s hospitality partner Levy UK + Ireland, have accounted for the removal costs in their operations, while emissions for audience travel are estimated based on travel surveys and accounted for by an additional 90p being added to the ticket price.

Should the pilot shows be successful, AEG intends to create a best practice-model for venues, promoters and tours worldwide on how to execute a carbon-removed event.

AEG Europe director of sustainability Sam Booth said, “The perfect large-scale carbon-free event does not currently exist, but while the industry continues to innovate and improve to reduce emissions to their lowest possible level, carbon removals will remain an important piece of the puzzle. As a world-leading venue, we have a responsibility to create a path for real change, and it’s our hope that this event will not only deliver the same best-in-class experience that fans expect at The O2, but also one that’s supporting vital climate work and is better for the planet.”

CUR8 co-founder Mark Stevenson said, “What’s great about these shows is that we can demonstrate that it is now possible to fold the cost of removing the residual CO2 into the existing business model, such that fans won’t notice any difference in the gig experience. As The O2 continues to drive down emissions going forward, the investment per gig for carbon removals will only get smaller. It’s a complete win-win-win – for artists and their fans who care about the climate crisis, for venues and the live events supply chain, who can now realise a route to a scientifically and legally compliant net-zero position, while helping CUR8 to invest in building the carbon removals operating system for the planet.”