Monthly Archives: January 2016

A Greener Festival Launch Associate Membership

AGF-Affiliate-Member-Logo-300x292Since A Greener Festival began, it has worked to help festivals to become more sustainable, reward best practice, and to raise the profile of sustainability issues amongst festival goers and industry. We have assessed over 300 festivals worldwide, connected with countless organisations and individuals who provide sustainable solutions to events, and delivered seminars, lectures, workshops and presentations to people passionate about lowering the environmental impact of the festival and events sector.

To mark 10 years since A Greener Festival came in to being, we are launching AGF Associate Membership, as a way to connect and consolidate the many groups and individuals seeking to make a difference. We invite event organisers, the wider industry, organisations and individuals who share our aims to join and support us.

Associate Members are not only demonstrating the commitment and support for the Greener Festival aims and objectives, but will also receive the following benefits:

  • Have use of the AGF ASSOCIATE LOGO
  • Discount admittance to any AGF organised events and first refusal to exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities. (Including the upcoming Green Events & Innovations Conference, 3rd March 2016, London)
  • Access to information and advice about improving your events environmental sustainability.
  • Be featured as a supporter and linked on
  • Demonstrate to the industry and stakeholders that you adhere to the AGF Associate Member code of conduct.
  • Have access to the AGF online group where you can communicate directly with the participating event organisers, assessors and other associate members of A Greener Festival.
  • Gain positive PR by association to a cause that exists solely for the ongoing improvement and durability of the events industry and movement of our society towards one that can be sustained within our means.
  • Make it possible for A Greener Festival to continue its work to support event organisers no matter how small, to provide advice and training, to make detailed on site assessment of events, to contribute to industry wide knowledge and benchmarking, and to promote sustainable event issues both within industry and publicly.

Associate membership to A Greener Festival is tiered based upon the EU definitions of a small / medium or large company as follows:

MICRO = £200 per annum (< 10 Employees, < €2m TURNOVER, < €2m BALANCE SHEET)

SMALL = £500 per annum (< 50 Employees, < €10m TURNOVER, < €10m BALANCE SHEET)

MEDIUM = £1000 per annum (<250 Employees, < €50m TURNOVER, < €50m BALANCE SHEET)

By applying for Associate Membership you agree to the Terms & Conditions, and adhere to the Code of Conduct.

Membership to run from 5th  Jan to 4th Jan, aut


Supertrawlers to be banned permanently from Australian waters

KL_749_Margiris_Klaipeda_IMO_8301187Supertrawlers will be permanently banned from Australian waters, the federal government announced on Wednesday. The move follows the temporary bans on supertrawlers imposed by the Labor government two years ago and re-endorsed by Tony Abbott in March. The first ban expired in November and the second was up for review in April. The parliamentary secretary for agriculture, Richard Colbeck, said the government would stop vessels longer than 130m from fishing in Australian waters.

This definition of supertrawler does not take into account the processing capacity of a vessel, which proponents of the ban say is just as critical as the size of the vessel. “This government will introduce regulations under the Fisheries Management Act to give effect to this decision,” Colbeck said in a statement released on Wednesday afternoon. “This decision will have policy effect immediately.”

More on the Guardian here

Why bother about the environment? Its expensive NOT too …..

water and fishThe Glastonbury Festival has admitted causing a drop in water quality in a stream close to the festival’s site, after a sewage tank sprung a leak during the 2014 event. CMU Daily reported that Michael Eavis and the Festival’s Operations Director, Christopher Edwards, both appeared in court in Yeovil after a prosecution was brought against the event by the Environment Agency for breaches of the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2010.

Accepting that “significant” harm had been caused, the Festival challenged the levels of damage claimed by the Environment Agency – and in particular the death of protected brown trout. Representing the festival, Kerry Gwyther said an environmental report found the stream had a history of being of a “poor quality”. Of the 42 dead fish, 39 were recorded downstream and only 10 of these were brown trout, he said.They also disputed that a fine of up to £300,000 should be levied, based on the Festival’s turnover of £37 million that year, saying that the festival’s profit was actually £84,000 before tax. The Festival donates a large proportion of its annual profit to charity with three lead charities, Greenpeace, WaterAid and Oxfam all receiving six figure sums.

In a statement, the Festival acknowledged the 2014 incident, and also a further incident in 2015 relating to festival goers urinating in ditches and highlighting the festivals own environmental efforts, they said “Regretfully however, during the last two festivals (in 2014 and 2015) some pollution has unintentionally made it into the stream running through the site, due to issues including a faulty tank and through festival goers urinating on the land”.

The statement continued: “With the causes already identified and analysed, Glastonbury Festival continues to work with all stakeholders, including the Environment Agency, on ways to prevent and safeguard against any problems in the future. Substantial improvement work on the site’s infrastructure has already begun and will continue over the coming months. At the same time, the festival will again work rigorously with all of its contractors and staff to raise awareness of the environmental issues involved and the importance of preventing further incidents”.

But courts are now taking a very dim view on environmental offences: Recently a record fine was levied on Thames Water for a recent water pollution case – supporting the conclusion that ‘very large’ companies are likely to experience increasingly high levels of fines for environmental non-compliance. Thames were fined £1 milllion for repeated discharge of sewage into a branch of the Grand Union canal in contravention of its Environmental Permit.

This follows on from the 2014 Sentencing Guidelines which were brought in to provide greater transparency around the level of fines for environmental non-compliance. The starting point for determining an appropriate level of fine is based on the size of the company (where a ‘large’ company is defined as having a turnover of £50 million or greater), the extent of harm caused and the culpability of the company. Other factors are also taken into account, for example if the company has a history of repeat offending this would be an aggravating factor leading to an upward adjustment to the fine, whereas if the company can show an effective compliance programme in place, this would be a mitigating factor and the level of fine would be adjusted downwards.

However, the guidelines make no prescriptive recommendation for an appropriate level of starting point for ‘very large’ companies, except to state that, if a defendant company’s turnover greatly exceeds the threshold for large companies, …‘it may be necessary to move outside the suggested range to achieve a proportionate sentence’. Other defendants in recent cases included  INEOS Chlor and Southern Water

Judge Bright QC  explained his fine on Thames Water:

‘The time has now come for the courts to make it clear that very large organisations such as (Thames Water) really must bring about the reforms and improvements for which they say they are striving because if they do not the sentences passed upon them for environmental offences will be sufficiently severe to have a significant impact on their finances’.

Sue Gregson, environmental consultant at International Workplace, commented ‘these guidelines potentially affect all businesses. Having an effective management system in place which is properly implemented, operated and monitored, will reduce the risk of incidents and provide significant mitigation should a prosecution occur’.


The colourful solution to ivory poaching

pink ivory

Not so many fish in the sea …..

Countries drastically underreport the number of fish caught worldwide, according to a new study, and the numbers obscure a significant decline in the total catch.

The new estimate, released in Nature Communications, puts the annual global catch at roughly 109 billion kilograms (109 million metric tons), about 30 per cent higher than the 77 billion officially reported in 2010 by more than 200 countries and territories. This means that 32 billion kilograms of fish goes unreported every year, more than the weight of the entire population of the United States.

Researchers led by the Sea Around Us, a research initiative at the University of British Columbia supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts, and Vulcan Inc., attribute the discrepancy to the fact that most countries focus their data collection efforts on industrial fishing and largely exclude difficult-to-track categories such as artisanal, subsistence, and illegal fishing, as well as discarded fish.

Daniel Pauly

Daniel Pauly

“The world is withdrawing from a joint bank account of fish without knowing what has been withdrawn or the remaining balance,” said UBC professor Daniel Pauly, a lead author of the study and principal investigator of the Sea Around Us. “Better estimating the amount we’re taking out can help ensure there is enough fish to sustain us in the future.”

Accurate catch information is critical for helping fisheries officials and managers understand the health of fish populations and inform fishing policies such as catch quotas and seasonal or area restrictions.

For the Nature Communications study, Pauly, his co-author Dirk Zeller, and hundreds of their colleagues around the world reviewed catch and related data from more than 200 countries and territories. Using a method called catch reconstruction, they compared official data submitted to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) with estimates obtained from a broad range of sources, including academic literature, industrial fishing statistics, local fisheries experts, fisheries law enforcement, human population, and other records such as documentation of fish catch by tourists.

“This groundbreaking study confirms that we are taking far more fish from our oceans than the official data suggest,” said Joshua S. Reichert, executive vice president and head of environment initiatives for Pew. “It’s no longer acceptable to mark down artisanal, subsistence, or bycatch catch data as a zero in the official record books.

“These new estimates provide countries with more accurate assessments of catch levels than we have ever had,” said Reichert, “along with a far more nuanced portrait of the amount of fish that are being removed from the world’s oceans each year.”

“Data are integral to maintaining global fisheries,” said Raechel Waters, senior program officer for ocean health for Vulcan Inc. “Without an accurate understanding of fish catch, we risk underreporting or misreporting, which can handicap countries in their efforts to implement effective fisheries policy and management measures.

“This is particularly important for countries that do not have the resources to conduct comprehensive fishery assessments,” said Waters.

Another study suggests there will be more plastic than fish in the seas by 2050.  A study commissioned by yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur showed that there were already 150 milllion tonnes of waste plastic in the oceans and Imperial College says this is growing by 8 million tonnes a year.

The Sea Around Us is a research initiative at The University of British Columbia that assesses the impact of fisheries on the marine ecosystems of the world, and offers mitigating solutions to a range of stakeholders. The project was initiated in collaboration with The Pew Charitable Trusts in 1999, and in 2014, the Sea Around Us also began a collaboration with Vulcan Inc to provide African and Asian countries with more accurate and comprehensive fisheries data.

A copy of the paper is available at:


The ‘True Cost’ Review: How Fast Fashion Wastes Energy and Ruins the Environment








Gas-guzzling SUVs, palace-sized residences, and plastic shopping bags are all well-known contributors to environmental degradation. What may not be apparent to the casual observer is the ecological harm caused by the fashion industry. New methods of production and marketing, which create a demand for a growing volume of ever-changing, “fast fashion” items, have caused the impact of the apparel industry on our planet to grow severe in recent years.

This phenomenon is explored in the 2015 documentary The True Cost, directed by Andrew Morgan. He and his crew jaunt off to many places around the world where clothing is produced, and they investigate the environmental and societal impacts created. Fashion magazines and advertising campaigns have stirred up a desire for a continuous succession of new garments, many of which end up thrown away in landfills, where they decompose slowly. Furthermore, toxic chemicals used in synthetic fibers contaminate waterways and other elements of our natural surroundings. Even natural fibers, like cotton, consume scarce resources, such as water and arable land, that could otherwise be used for fruitful purposes.








Not least among the topics discussed is working conditions within the factories involved, which are in many cases deplorable and not up to the standards that we are accustomed to in the developed world. Sweatshop wages, a lack of viable alternative employment choices, and heavy competition among factory owners for contracts lead to a situation in which workers feel that they have few alternatives but to put up with low-paid jobs that have little room for advancement.

Ordinary people can take steps to adjust their buying habits and counteract these ills. Morgan doesn’t expect consumers to eschew purchasing clothing altogether. Indeed, such a goal would be so unrealistic as to be ridiculous. Instead, people can carefully choose items that are well-constructed and appeal to their sense of style rather than making mindless and frequent purchases of low-quality, cheap merchandise that will end up being discarded after being worn only a few – or indeed zero – times.

truecostGreenpeace has ranked leading clothing brands on their efforts to address water pollution and to eliminate poisonous chemicals from their production processes as part of the Detox Catwalk campaign. Burberry, H&M and Adidas are among the firms named as “Detox Leaders” while Gap, Hermès and Versace seem to be lagging behind as “Detox Losers.” By shopping only for brands that are making active efforts to conserve the environment, customers can use the power of the purse to drive changes in prevalent business practices.

The fashion industry’s effect on our environment is serious and greatly contributes to climate change and global warming. According to many reports, the apparel sector is one of the biggest polluter and greenhouse gas emitter of any industry. This pollution is caused not just in the actual production of physical items but also in transporting them to all corners of the earth. This is a surprisingly high carbon footprint for an industry that most people don’t even think twice about when trying to identify the causes of global warming. Corporations that produce clothing must modify their behavior to counter this problem, but they’ll only do so if we put pressure on them.

There are many benefits to be had from making the apparel industry more sustainable. They include the reduction of atmospheric greenhouse gas levels, enhanced well-being and incomes for poor workers, and a cleaner natural environment.  Simply shifting to different energy sources for manufacturing alone, such as cleaner natural gas or even better solar, wind or hydro power could remove some 10% of worldwide CO2 emissions, but only if there is an incentive for companies to do so.

We each have it within our power to create that incentive by shifting our dollars away from harmful actors and towards companies that are actually serious about meeting their ecological responsibilities. The free market cuts both ways: Those same forces that tempt participants to act in shortsighted ways can be turned back against them to compel them to reconsider their pernicious activities.


New and talented? Win the chance to play at Glastonbury



The GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL have announced their annual EMERGING TALENT COMPETITION 2016, which will give new UK and Ireland-based acts of any musical genre the chance to compete for a slot on one of the main stages at this year’s Festival.

The winners of the free-to-enter competition will also be awarded a £5,000 Talent Development prize from PRS for Music Foundation to help take their songwriting and performing to the next level. Two runners-up will also each be awarded a £2,500 PRS for Music Foundation Talent Development prize.

Acts from any musical genre can enter the 2016 competition FOR ONE WEEK ONLY from 9am Monday 18th January until 5pm Monday 25th January 2016. To enter, acts will need to supply a link to one original song on SoundCloud – which is free to join – plus a link to a video of themselves performing live (even if it’s only recorded in a bedroom). So get cracking! It works!