If you were to link sustainability with something it’s unlikely to be music. The panelists aimed to prove that wrong, focusing on plastic waste and emissions in the industry. Led by Chiara Badiali from Julie’s Bicycle, the panel included professionals working in different areas of the music industry. Joining Chiara was Amelie Snyers from London venue Village Underground, Anna Harvey who manages Business Development and Online Marketing for Silva Screen Records and has helped with BBC programmes such as Blue Planet, and finally Rob Scully from Zap Concepts who works with festivals across Europe to ensure that they’re green and use methods of sustainability.
Each of the panelists highlighted how sustainability in the music industry isn’t usually a high priority but expressed the how they’ve interwoven it into their workplace. For example, Village Underground have installed a green roof, and use recycled tube carriages in their venue and at Silva Screen Records, they choose not to shrink-wrap vinyl for soundtracks. Although these are just minor steps, they are impactful in starting a snowball to change.
Some of the other issues that arose were trying to persuade people who just aren’t interested. Chiara explained that “[You need to] find the right people who are on-the-fence as they’re more likely to sway towards the way you want them to.” They’re easier to target because they’re open to change whereas people who aren’t as keen on environmental sustainability may be hit by lobbying for a law change that by 2021 single-use plastic will be banned.
Touring whilst caring for the planet is one of the most pressing environmental issues in the industry. Lobbying for change is one of the easiest solutions to that. However, not much can be done from the outset as travel from the audiences to see their favourite artist is bigger than emissions caused by bands on tour. Zap Concepts’ Rob Scully explained that “It’s more about city infrastructure than the promoter [or industry].”
Some of the ways people have tried to tackle this are through using biofuels, like vegetable oil, in coaches transporting people to events, or various festivals in Europe have electric-only coaches for transport. Ultimately, if all else fails, you can offset your carbon emissions using sites like Energy Revolution but it’s just about encouraging artists to get on board which is easier through collaboration with venues.