Live music sector commits to reaching net zero by 2030

AEG Europe COO and Chair of LIVE Green, John Langford throws down the gauntlet, following an across-the-board industry campaign to deliver climate action.

The UK’s live music sector has launched a sweeping industry campaign to deliver climate action, setting out its commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

The campaign, fronted by LIVE Green – the sustainability arm of live music umbrella trade body 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 group will identify and signpost how live music businesses can accelerate their transition to a low-carbon future, setting out a roadmap for action in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change.

“We are now at a tipping point for our climate: this is not a rehearsal,” AEG Europe COO and Chair of LIVE Green, John Langford, said, throwing down the gauntlet to the sector. “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,” he commented.

All 13 association members of LIVE have ratified the Beyond Zero Declaration, a voluntary sector-specific commitment to deliver measurable and targeted action on climate change, with the aim of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

Signatories to the 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.

As well as ensuring staff undertake climate education and have an ongoing commitment to knowledge sharing within the live music sector and beyond. The initiative will provide research, expertise, and cross-industry innovation to support the live music and production sector’s transition to a regenerative future.

Members of LIVE Green’s working group include Julie’s Bicycle, A Greener Festival, Powerful Thinking, Vision: 2025, The Tour Production Group and a collective of like-minded professionals and collectives from the wider live music and touring production sector.

“The impact of COVID-19 has made the sector progressive in the conversation, with a bigger understanding of what external risks can do to our business,” Langford informed TPi following the announcement. “Suddenly, we’re all aware of these external threats to our business. The COVID-19 pandemic allowed us to open up the conversation beyond those who are already passionate about sustainability, by assessing what our own impact is on our business in 10 years’ time if we don’t do our part.”

Research by Julie’s Bicycle has shown that live concerts, events and performances generate 400,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year, with accommodation, merchandise, and promotions contributing further. At the time of writing, there have already been considerable efforts across the sector to address these issues, including action across plastic waste, emissions, and procurement.

LIVE Green will facilitate further action and engagement through the provision of practical resources, ongoing knowledge sharing, education and training alongside measurement tools to allow the business to study its progression towards a climate-positive position.

“It is critical that the entire value chain is involved,” Langford explained, highlighting the importance of sector-wide climate literacy, knowledge sharing, education and training going forward.

“Whether you’re a trucking company or a food supplier, or you run a small grassroots venue, you can work to that net zero emissions goal by 2030,” he concluded.

LIVE Green also aims to ensure meaningful climate investments are made to achieve the live music sector’s collective targets in the short, medium, and long term, establishing an industry-wide approach on permanent emissions drawdown by 2030.

This article originally appeared in issue #266 of TPi, which you can read here.