Monthly Archives: November 2013

The 4th international Green Events Europe Conference is the best so far!


The 4th Green Events Europe in Bonn was another big success. The leading pan-European conference for sustainability in the live music and events industry saw two and a half days of top-level discussions, presentations and exchange.

“I think this edition took our little conference to another level. It was better than I even expected and I’d like to thank everybody who made this possible. The great speakers we had, a concious and communicative audience and our partners who contributed so much and so well! We were able to grow in almost all sectors and the content was just brilliant.“ said conference organiser and Sounds For Nature board members Holger Jan Schmidt referring to almost 160 registered participants from 17 countries attending between november 24th and 26th in Bonn/Germany.

GreenEvents Europe offered 15 very well received high-class sessions at the Wissenschaftszentrum on November 25th and 26th on topics including:

– Meat or no meat?
– Do people behave better in a clean environment?
– “Down The Loo“
– Multi-use vs one-way cups
– Degrowth and events
– The Power Panel
– It’s only teenage wasteland – camping & waste

In the so called “Elephant Round“ the discussion went from funny to serious to thoughtful, students hosted the wonderful World Cafe and the Slow Food Youth Network delivered an incredible tuesday lunch from “ugly fruits” donated from local farmers – fully organic, 100% veggie and delicious. The whole program can be found here.

GEE2The conference started with a great beginner workshop on the Sunday Nov 24th afternoon at the IBIT class room before the informal and very nice warm-up in the city of Bonn. On monday night the famous GreenEvents Dinner was onece again presented by Yourope (the European festival association) and brought 60 delegates even closer together. Two evenings that did a lot to a fantastic conference atmosphere.

GreenEvents Europe was supported and funded by the Federation For Environment and Development of North Rhine-Westphalia. The conference profits immensely from the contributions of essential partners such as the European festival association YOUROPE and GO Group (Green Operations Europe) – initiated at GreenEvents 2010. Special thanks to the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz) and Slow Food Youth Network.

The 160 participants included major events like Rock Am Ring (85.000 visitors, Germany), Roskilde Festival (75.000 visitors, Denmark), Exit Festival (45.000 visitors, Serbia), Montreux Jazz Festival (220.000 visitors, Switzerland), German Protestant Kirchentag (100.000 visitors, Germany), Hurricane Festival (60.000 visitors, Germany), Way Out West (30.000 visitors, Sweden) or Open Air St.Gallen (30.000 visitors, Switzerland) and institutions such as Green Music Initiative, Bucks New University, Cologne University, Powerful Thinking, A Greener Festival, Fareshare, Zero Waste. GreenEvents included guests from Scandinavia, Benelux, United Kingdom, Serbia, France, Austria, Switzerland, Australia, India, Czech Republic et al. – 17 countries altogether. The international attendance was more than 40%.

Holger Jan Schmidt: “It feels great to welcome all those wonderful people in my hometown – just a few meters from where I used to work on the topic we are dealing with as a festival promoter myself. It’s great to see them coming back with great expectations and it’s a challenge to fulfill them. I had some real euphoric feedbacks and I am thankful for that, but I wouln’t be possible without these great people attending GreenEvents. Those are what makes the weird green family so special. No doubt about it: green rocks! “

GreenEvents Europe 2013 quotes:

Looking at the growth and developement of the Green Events Conference since 2010, it is proof for the importance for more sustainable events and the great work that has been done for this conference.
Christof Huber (chairman of Yourope – The European Festival Association)

Green Events 2013 really took the next step and dared to take a holistic view upon the hotspots. So after poo, tents and waste the most pressing – and still unsolved – question seemed to be: how to power your festival on renewables. With this mission defined all participants left more informed, more inspired and very much looking forward to the next year.
Jacob Bilabel (founder Green Music Initiative)

This year’s Green Events conference surpassed all previous years. Great topics, great speakers, brought together to explore an even broader range of issues and contexts. No wonder the audience was the biggest yet. Well done the Green Events team.
Teresa Moore (Bucks New University)

This is my second visit to GreenEvents. Each time I have left inspired and encouraged about the level of expertise and passion behind making events better, and honestly addressing our environmental challenges. There is always much work to be done and more to learn, and this event helps to accelerate that process.
Claire O’Neill (A Greener Festival / Association of Independent Festivals)

This years conference was another meeting of minds, with scientists, festival promoters and events professionals coming together to share experiences and knowledge – a few longstanding mysteries were solved for us, such as how many times do you need to use a re-usable cup to be more ecologically beneficial than a disposable? Green Events conference is a place for facts, inspiration and action.
Chris Johnson (Powerful Thinking / Shambala Festival)

GreenEvents Conference is a stirring opportunity of meeting like-minded professionals to discuss best practice toolkits for sustainable event production in general and of getting inspirations to develop new tools for our own events.
Marten Pauls (Campo Event Engeneering / Rock Am Ring)

The thing that got to me was the session on plastics. The photographs and the commentary given by Claire were horrific but the results shown as a result of banning plastic bottles from the Shambala Festival were so positive and show us the way forward. Tell the world!
Carl A H Martin (Arena & Stadia Design / Operational Consultant)

Serving food that is both delicious and ethical at public events not only pleases the crowds, but it also supports local farmers and food producers, strengthens the local economy and is better for the environment – let’s see how far we can take this!
Nadja Flohr-Spence (Slow Food Germany e.V.)

All GreenEvents Europe Info can be found here:


ZEN – Zero Impact Cultural Heritage

zenThe ZEN project is a European Union  project focusing on knowledge sharing between regional and local governments in the EU. With a group of 12 international project partners they have investigated approaches to the reduction of impact of events and festival across Europe, using best practices from 10 European countries.

The project also has a project-website ( on which you can find information about the project and the studied cases, but where we can also place extra information, articles and links to external website. Its all part of the Interregional Cooperation Programme INTERREG IVC, financed by the European Union’s Regional Development Fund, which helps Regions of Europe work together to share experience and good practice in the areas of innovation, the knowledge economy, the environment and risk prevention. EUR 302 million is available for project funding but, more than that, a wealth of knowledge and potential solutions are also on hand for regional policy-makers.

The main issue that ZEN focuses on is the impact of seasonal events on historical towns and centres, especially in terms of mobility, transport, waste and resources. Musical events that attract large numbers, both in terms of participants and workers, and that require transport and setting up of equipment put increasing pressure on the surrounding environment: a veritable act of ‘consuming the place’. This can generate a negative trade off between the postive effects of the event in terms of cultural enjoyment and economic benefits and the negative effects on the community and the city.

The impact of a cultural and music event and/or festival can create collective diseconomies, such as:
infrastructures and services congestion;
air, water and noise pollution;
deterioration of cultural landscape and the
degradation of the historic centres


Boris's bikes - we need safe roads too

Boris’s bikes – we need safe roads too

The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in London has admitted that he would not cycle in London. Speaking on BBC London, Sir Bernard London made the statement after it was confirmed that a sixth cyclist had died in London in a period of two weeks: The cyclist, in his early 60s, died after a collision with a lorry in London. Police were called to Camberwell Road in South London by London Ambulance Service following reports of a collision involving a lorry and a cyclist.

ilva-steel-italy-The USA, Japan and China have refused to set deadlines for setting targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and it now seems likely that a planned climate change agreement will not be reached by 2015. The oil, gas and coal companies will be delighted! Negotiations at the UN Framework Conference on Climate Change almost reached a compromise on the issue of the impact of rising sea levels and storm damage from climate change but now the Warsaw conference will be the first in 20 years to close with lower commitments to reduce climate change than when it started.

The Pig Idea – the campaign to reduce food waste by using perfectly good wasted food as pig feed – has come up against opposition from the farming community who say the move might increase the spread of diseases in pigs. Spearheaded by by environmentalist Tristram Hunt and Masterchef winner  and restaurateur Thomasina Miers and with support from celebrity chefs like Michel Roux and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, The Pig Idea  pointed out that soaring feed costs (much of it soya, grown in land reclaimed from the Amazon rainforest) had put many pig farmers out of business – but farmers say that reintroducing waste food swill would be a ‘real risk’ to their animals. and that contaminated feed in Russia had led to swine fever and that whilst the campaign was an  ‘superficially attractive concept promoted by well meaning people’ it was deeply flawed.

windturbines_300Floating windfarms raise hopes for a greener future: A green light from the Crown Estate for new floating platforms off the Scottish coast should help lower the cost of a low-carbon economy in the UK. The Buchan Deep project will see five turbines with a combined power of 30 megawatts installed by the Norwegian oil company Statoil off the coast of Aberdeenshire in 100 metres of water. Den Rooijen, a former Shell oil executive, tells the Guardian that costs can be cut and that the sector will continue to grow, but admits that the UK is likely to see a retrenchment from the estimated 40,000MW (40 gigawatts) of projects that some originally believed could be possible. Last month, offshore wind provided 5% of the UK’s national electricity consumption from around 24 farms producing 3.6GW. There is now, in total, more than 5GW – enough to power 4 milllion homes – in operation or under construction, at an estimated cost close to £15bn.

However,  South West developer RWE Innogy has pulled the plug on plans for a 240 wind turbines in the Bristol Channel, nine miles off the North Devon coast. It is understood that RWE, the German firm which has offices in Swindon, Wiltshire, no longer thinks the project is financially viable. The BBC reported that the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has confirmed the firm has shelved its plans. The scheme, which had not yet received the go-ahead, had attracted criticism, with environmentalists worried about its impact on marine wildlife in the Bristol Channel.

Brits could pocket £12.4bn in savings by embracing a ‘pay-as-you-live’ economy and shunning traditional ownership of good and services. The finding has come out of new research undertaken by Zipcar into the benefits of a sharing economy. The study reveals that nearly half of the population (47%) now rents and/or shares goods and services, generating an average saving of £531.10 per person – with the money commonly put aside to help offset food and energy bills.  Car usage tops the pay-as-you-live ‘league table’ – with new models of car sharing providing a cost-effective alternative to car ownership. The most popular reasons cited for using the pay-as-you-live economy are convenience; ability to save money; increased flexibility to upgrade models/change product styles; and to gain access to luxury goods.

Veolia Environnement has launched a vision for the management of household waste in bin-less homes of the future which includes nanoscopic robots sorting materials, self-cleaning surfaces and water purification systems based on plants and bacteria. The environmental services company published its report entitled ‘Imagine 2050’ in partnership with the London School of Economics and is part of its strategy to promote the circular economy.  The report describes one future city in which system-level planning has created a dense, resource-efficient society characterised by collaborative consumption, shared ownership and local self-reliance.

Big consumer brands such as Nike, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Coca-Cola and the conservation group WWF have launched the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance (BFA), which will promote the development of plant-based plastics.

The UK’s hospitality and food service sector throws away 920,000 tonnes of food waste each year, which is the equivalent to 1.3bn meals, according to new research from Wrap. The report, ‘Overview of waste in the UK Hospitality and Food Service (HaFS) Sector’ also revealed that the cost of food being wasted from the sector is estimated at £2.5bn per year, which could rise to £3bn per year by 2016 unless steps are taken to prevent food being wasted.

Michael Buck, a 59-year-old smallholder from Oxfordshire, built a ‘cob house’ at the bottom of his garden at a cost of just £150 . He told the Daily Mail he had achieved this incredible feat through a combination of an ancient building technique, and by only using natural materials – or ones that had been thrown away by other people. The ancient building method uses earth, clay, dung and straw as the fabric of the building. It produces a single-roomed, single-story building, and Buck then added a thatched roof. Among the items Buck re-used were the floorboards salvaged from a skip and an old lorry windscreen for a number of the windows. The cottage has no electricity, but draws water from a nearby spring, and is heated with a wood-burning stove. There is also an outhouse, complete with a composting toilet.

Sustainability Leaders Awards 2013

slaMore than 400 guests gathered to celebrate the winners of the Sustainability Leaders Awards 2013, organised by Sustainable Business and They recognise and reward those organisations and individuals demonstrating a genuine commitment to sustainable business practices and the results they’re driving through their efforts to do business better.

And those winners are:

Sustainability Product Innovation Winner: Cynar

Sustainability Innovation: Systems & Software Winner: Sefaira

Carbon Management Winner: Sainsbury’s;   Highly commended: Forest Carbon

Sustainable Building  Public Sector: URS for Brent Civic Centre; Private Sector: Heathrow Terminal 2

Sustainable Transport & Logistics Winner: Arla Foods; Highly commended: Telefonica UK with Global Action Plan

Water Management Winner: Berendsen UK

Energy Efficiency Winner: Skanska

Stakeholder Engagement: Internal Operations Winner: Spirit Pub Company

Stakeholder Engagement: Supply Chain Winner: Dairy Crest

Sustainability Reporting Winner: Co-operative Group

Waste & Resource Management Winner: Virgin Media

Waste & Resource Management: Food & Drink Winner: Co-operative Group

Sustainability Leader: Consultancy Winner: Atkins

Sustainability Leader Peter Laybourn, International Synergies

IEMA Graduate of the Year Winner: Coco Smits

More at


'Free the Arctic 30' Protest at Embassy in OsloThe captain and three Britons from on board the seized Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise have been granted bail by a court in northern Russia. Peter Willcox previously captained Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior ship when it was blown up by French agents in harbour in New Zealand in 1985. The UK’s Alex Harris, Kieron Bryan and Anthony Perrett were bailed as were two Dutch nationals, a Swiss and a Dane. In all 20 of the 30 detainees have been bailed, with one actually released.  Four more activists were released on the 21st November including Frank Hewetson and Iain Rogers and  the other detainees should be released from what seem to be appalling prison conditions within days, as Russian legal procedures are followed through. Some commentators said that with the charges no longer of piracy (now of hooliganism) relating to the protest at an Arctic offshore oil rig operated by the Russian company Gazprom, and bail now being granted, there may be hope that the Russian authorities are taking a more reasonable approach.

Deforestation in the Amazon is on the rise again – Brazil’s Environment Secretary Isabelle Tiexeira said that farming and soyabean production were largely responsible for the 32% rise in forest destruction in the Northern state of Para and a 52% leap in Mato Grosso. Over 2,200 square miles of forest were lost last year.

In the UK wind turbine developers will have to consult local people if they plan to erect more than two turbines or any turbine over 15M tall.

The Sea Fish Industry Authority, a UK government backed body that supports the seafood industry, has said that consumers are being misled over easting North Sea cod – saying that stocks have risen and the fish should be taken off the Marine Conservation Society’s ‘red label’ lost as an endangered fish. Whilst the MSC says that conservation efforts have meant that there had been an “encouraging” rise in stocks, they say that cod should remain “firmly off the menu”. Stocks have now recovered to 1995 levels, but are still less than half of stock  levels found in the early 1980s.

Electric bikes are replacing cars for those people who have longer distances to go, have hills to climb or stuff to carry. Here are five interesting facts about them from TreeHugger

Singapore is a city where space is at a premium – so the city now features green walls, roofs, gardens and parks. They even have gardens in the sky!

DSC_0457Here’s a short video of The Electric Hotel’s visit to the Shambala Festival – where they recharged over 1000 mobiles using people, wind, solar and water power – and planted over 1000 tress in Festival wood! They ROCK!

Getting the most out of solar panels might seem easy, but it isn’t. Common sense tells us that pointing them south (in the Northern hemisphere) will lead to the best performance, but according to a new study from the Pecan Street Research Institute, they actually do better when pointed west because peak demand on the power grid is in the afternoon and evening, and so getting more solar power during that period is actually more useful at reducing the need for polluting sources of energy. In short: To get maximum benefits, it’s not just about how much electricity is produced, but also when it is produced. More on Treehugger here.

Google has teamed up with with researchers from the University of Maryland, NASA and the USGS to bring the first high-resolution map of global deforestation to life using Google Earth Engine. The project was created using over a decade of Landsat images and puts global land use changes into a format that the public, NGOs and governments around the world can use to learn more about forestry practices and hopefully help deter unwanted deforestation. More here.




Engaging Communities on Energy and Climate Change


Last chance to buy UK Festival Awards tickets

refi_clock_tickingThe deadline for buying tickets to the UK Festival Awards is 22 November! If you haven’t already got your tickets, you must buy before then.

Who’s attending:
AEG Live, AGreenerFestival, Bearded Theory, Bestival, Bloodstock Open Air, Britvic, Camp Bestival, CGA Strategy, Chagstock, Chilfest, Creamfields, Diesel, Download, Electric Picnic, Eventbrite, Festaff, Festaxi, Festival HQ, Hove, ID&C, Ignis, Imaginators, Intelligent Venue Solutions, Isle of Wight Festival, Jagermeister, Lakefest, Latitude, LED, Live Nation, Live UK, Music Week, National Express, Oceans Events, Peppermint Bars, Reading/Leeds, Relentless Energy Drink, Robertson Taylor, RockNess, Serious Stages, Showforce, Streaming Tank, Stuff, T in the Park, The Soup Library, The Ticket Factory, TPI, V Festival, We Are FSTVL, XL Video, Yahoo! Wireless

Awards tickets include three-course meal with complimentary drinks and after-party at the ROUNDHOUSE on Monday 2nd December.

To buy tickets, go