Green Events Code Scott Salt

Green Events Code launched at Sustainable Event Summit

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Events professionals representing more than 500 festivals and other outdoor events across the UK have come together at the 2022 Sustainable Event Summit today (October 19) to launch a Green Events Code. This will establish national minimum sustainability standards, targets, and practices.

Developed by Vision:2025, the industry steering group, the Green Events Code is the result of almost a year of consultation with trade associations, local authorities, and event businesses. 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 impacts 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 overall aim is to commit to a minimum of 50 per cent reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 2030, with specific targets including a 50 per cent reduction in fossil fuel consumption at live events by 2025, a reduction of at least 30 per cent in meat and dairy consumption on-site by 2030; and to completely eliminate single use plastic by 2025.

The launch of the code is supported by the organisers of large-scale UK festivals including Reading Festival, British Summer Time, Boardmasters, Bluedot and Shambala. It has been financially supported by the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), Superstruct, and Festival Republic, and is being developed in close consultation and collaboration with influential stakeholders including the Institute of Licensing, Local Authority Event Organisers Group (LAEOG), the Local Government Association, UK Music, LIVE, and the Event Industry Forum.

Paul Reed, CEO of the AIF, chaired the “Future of Festival Sustainability” panel at the Sustainable Event Summit, which discussed the code. 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 Thackeray, CEO of LAEOG; and Chris Johnson, chair of Vision:2025.

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 EIF, representing more than 35 event trade associations and bodies, 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.

Image: Kendal Calling by Scott Salt