25.10.2022: More than 500 festival and event organisers have joined forces to support a new code setting out minimum standards and shared targets for sustainability in a bid to help tackle the climate crisis.
UK Music has welcomed the new code and stressed its support of efforts to drive up sustainability standards in the music industry.
The Green Events Code, launched at the 2022 Sustainable Event Summit, was developed by industry steering group Vision:2025. It is the result of a year of consultation spanning trade associations, local authorities, event businesses and other organisations.
It is intended to provide clear standards and shared targets for sustainability that are understood and adopted by all stakeholders across the outdoor festival and events industry, including net zero.
The code will focus on the key areas of governance, energy, travel and transport, food and drink, materials and waste, water and positive influence. It is based on five key principles including that the industry: needs to act urgently on the climate crisis; will act based on evidence; will be transparent and report impact annually; accepts that not all climate-positive decisions will provide cost benefit in the short term; and will strive to improve year-on-year.
The aim is to commit to a minimum of 50% reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 2030, with specific targets including: a 50% reduction in fossil fuel consumption at live events by 2025; a reduction of at least 30% in meat and dairy consumption onsite by 2030; and to completely eliminate single use plastic by 2025.
The launch of the code is supported by UK festivals organisers including Reading, British Summer Time, Boardmasters, Bluedot and Shambala. It has been financially supported by the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), Superstruct and Festival Republic. The Code is being developed in close consultation and collaboration with influential stakeholders including UK Music, the Institute of Licensing, LAEOG, the Local Government Association, LIVE, and the Event Industry Forum, E I F.
Hannah McLennan, UK Music Parliamentary and Research Manager, said: “The climate emergency is the greatest threat our planet faces. The music industry is coming together to ensure it does all it can to mitigate the impact of climate change. The Green Code is a welcome step in the right direction for outdoor events and responds to policy makers’ desire for the sector to make a difference.”
Association of Independent Festivals CEO Paul Reed chaired the ‘Future of Festival Sustainability’ panel at the Sustainable Event Summit. He said: “It remains a uniquely challenging time for festivals, but it is vitally important that we maintain our focus on climate action and improving working practices around event sustainability. The Green Events Code UK will be invaluable in setting out clear and workable minimum environmental standards and targets for all UK outdoor festivals and outdoor events, helping to reduce carbon impact and move towards net zero.”
Alongside Reed on the panel, highlighting the collaboration between local authorities, festival organisers and climate groups, were Helen Thackary, CEO of the Local Authority Event Organisers Group (LAEOG); and Chris Johnson, Vision:2025 Chair and LIVE Green working group member.
Chris Johnson said: “The Green Events Code represents a significant milestone for the industry, collaboratively creating standards that are meaningful for climate and workable for events and local authorities.”
Melvin Benn, Managing Director of Festival Republic, a Vision:2025 member and financial supporter of the code’s development, said: “The majority of local authorities have declared climate emergencies, are putting in place net zero strategies and in turn requirements for live events. The green code has the potential to create consistency for everyone’s benefit, rather than a lottery of expectations
Steve Heap, Chair of the Events Industry Forum (EIF) and publisher of the Purple Guide, said: “Our members and the industry need clear guidance, support and certainty around sustainability standards – a common reference and understanding of what best practice and minimum standards looks like. The Green Events Code can achieve this.”
John Langford, COO of AEG Europe and Chair of the LIVE Green industry group said: “This Green Event Code creates a timely, clearly defined standard for outdoor events, and follows the aspirations set out in the Live Green Vision for the wider music industry to deliver measurable and targeted action on climate change, with the ultimate aim of reaching net zero emissions.”
The Green Event Code is free to access on the Vision 2025 website, along with more information about the context, future steps, FAQ’s and how to get involved. You can read more about the code here.
About Vision: 2025: Vision: 2025 is the vehicle through which the festival and outdoor events industry take coordinated action on the climate crisis. It is a steering group of industry associations and key partners representing a growing network of over 500 outdoor events and businesses. The not-for-profit project, hosted by environmental arts charity Julies Bicycle, provides free-to-access resources, tools, news, research and industry events.