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Festival Vision: 2025 unites UK festivals for a sustainable future.

FV2025_logo-300x300Over 40 UK music festivals have pledged to work together to create a more environmentally sustainable festival industry by signing Festival Vision: 2025 — the vision and roadmap for a sustainable future presented by industry think-do tank Powerful Thinking in its seminal environmental report, The Show Must Go On.

Festivals both large and small, with genres from rock music to words, are united around the vision. Bestival, Hay Festival, Shambala and Secret Garden Party have taken the pledge, and Festival Republic have signed up their entire portfolio of 11 UK festivals including: Latitude, V Festival, Reading, Leeds and BBC Proms in the Park.

The Vision: 2025 Festivals aim to halve festival emissions and reach 50% recycling rates by 2025. They have also pledged to reduce travel-related emissions and improve the sustainability of food sourcing. Integral to the pledge is the intention to measure, record and share key environmental impacts from festival operations using credible methods, such as the Julie’s Bicycle free Creative Green IG tools or by working with the A Greener Festival Awards, in order to track progress.

A full list of the participating Festivals and details of the pledge can be found on the Festival Vision: 2025 webpage along with key resources from The Show Must Go On report to help festival organisers make successful changes toward sustainable practices.

Festival Vision: 2025 Webpage:

About Powerful Thinking: Powerful Thinking is a not-for-profit industry think-do tank working towards an energy efficient, low carbon and cost effective future for festivals. They are a coalition of industry stakeholders, working together to drive positive change for businesses, audiences and the environment. Powerful Thinking’s steering group members include: Julie’s Bicycle, A Greener Festival, The Association of Independent Festivals, Firefly Clean Energy, Festival Republic, Shambala Festival, Bestival, Kambe Sustainable Events, The Association of Festival Organisers, The Production Services Association and The National Outdoor Events Association.


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plastic-334546_960_720-300x200The number of single-use plastic bags used by shoppers in England has plummeted by more than 85% after the introduction of a 5p charge last October, early figures suggest. More than 7bn bags were handed out by seven main supermarkets in the year before the charge, but this figure plummeted to slightly more than 500m in the first six months after the charge was introduced, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.

The “carbon footprint” for the pollution caused by UK consumption has increased slightly, official figures show. The amount of greenhouse gases linked to goods and services consumed by UK households, including emissions from the foreign manufacture of imported products, rose by 3% between 2012 and 2013, the most recent data shows.

The Glastonbury Festival has  ditched plastic portable toilets after organisers decided they were causing too much anguish. The portable toilets – last year there were 3,000 on site – have been replaced almost entirely by organic compost toilets designed to minimise smells. These are supplemented by open-air “long drop” toilets. The festival management team felt the plastic “Tardis-like” toilet had passed its sell-by date. There was particular concern at how the toilets filled up too quickly and frequently overflowed. Jane Healy, Glastonbury’s sanitation manager, said: “The old plastic Tardis style is gone. Toilets have always been a massive talking point, and no one ever talks about toilets in everyone’s day-to-day life, but as soon as they get to a festival that’s all they want to talk about.

The European Commission has launched the world’s first system for classifying and banning endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), against a barrage of criticism from scientists, NGOs, industry and consumer groups. Endocrines are hormone-altering chemicals common in everyday substances from paint to pesticides that have been linked to an array of illnesses including cancer, infertility, obesity, diabetes, birth defects and reproductive problems. The Guardian reports that attempts to regulate them have been plagued by missed deadlines, buried official papers, censure from EU courts, and US pressure within the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) negotiations.

We’re one step away from a glyphosate-free EU. For the third time in a row, member states have refused to back the Commission’s proposed licence extension for weedkiller glyphosate. But the Commission won’t take no for an answer, and will try to force through a last-ditch appeal in Brussels June 24. Otherwise, a whole lot of Monsanto’s Roundup will be coming down from shelves across Europe this year. tells us that instead of heeding the cancer warnings of the WHO, the European Commission has tried to do Monsanto’s dirty work by pushing through a licence extension despite experts agreeing that a ban of the pesticide is necessary to prevent contamination of our food, water, and soil. Make your voice heard and Tell EU member states to deal the final blow and reject any extension of the glyphosate licence on June 24.

greatapesForest wildfires rampaging across Russia are being significantly under-reported by authorities, according to analysis of satellite data. Climate change is making wildfires much more likely in Russia, but regional officials have been reluctant to report the true extent of the problem, and campaigners are warning that the harm to forests, property and human lives could rise. While the recent forest fires around Fort McMurray, Canada, destroyed more than 580,000 hectares, those in Russia have burned up to 3.5m hectares since the start of 2016, according to Greenpeace Russia. It said at least 1m hectares were in flames at the end of May in the country, which is home to the largest forests in the world.

The Guardian tells us that a UK shale gas company is considering dumping waste water from fracking in the sea, emails from the company show. Ineos, which owns the Grangemouth refinery and holds 21 shale licences, many in the north-west, North Yorkshire and the East Midlands, has said it wants to become the biggest player in the UK’s nascent shale gas industry. In an email sent in March to a resident in Ryedale district, North Yorkshire, where councillors gave the go-ahead to a fracking application by another company in May, a senior executive said that water produced during fracking could be discharged in the sea after being treated. It has not previously said where treated water would be released.

Norway’s parliament has approved a radical goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2030, two decades earlier than planned. MPs voted for an accelerated programme of CO2 cuts and carbon trading to offset emissions from sectors such as Norway’s oil and gas industries, which are unlikely to be phased out in the near future. The minority government’s ruling Progress and Conservative parties withdrew their support for the motion at the last minute. But their argument, that ambitious emissions reductions now could interfere with future climate negotiations, was roundly defeated.

Following a series of new heat and melting records in the Arctic, nearly 400 international scientists have called on Barack Obama to rule out further expansion of oil and gas exploration in Arctic waters under US control. The letter, signed by prominent Arctic, marine and climate specialists – including a former member of Obama’s administration, urges the president to rule out any future hunting for oil in the waters of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. “No new oil and gas leasing or exploration should be allowed in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas in the foreseeable future, including in the next five-year leasing plan,” the scientists write in the letter.

coffee-mugs-1387830_960_720“I’ve got a megaphone and I’m not afraid to use it!” yelled Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall on BBC One last night as the TV chef-turned eco warrior took his ‘War on Waste’ to the high street coffee shops. The problem: more than 5,000 coffee cups are now thrown away every minute across Britain, but less than 1% of those cups are actually recycled due to complex sorting and contamination issues. So, what’s the solution? More innovative cup designs? Better recycling infrastructure? Consumer behaviour change programmes? Or supply chain collaboration? Listen to edie’s latest podcast episode and read the stories that follow to find out how we can solve the great coffee cup conundrum.

badger-44202_960_720Badgers and cattle never came into close contact during a new field study examining how tuberculosis (TB) is transmitted between the animals. Most TB in cattle is contracted from other cattle but some infections come from badgers. The new research indicates that the disease is not passed on by direct contact, but through contaminated pasture and dung, with potentially significant implications for farm practices such as slurry spreading. It also suggests why TB in cattle is so hard to control even when cattle and badgers are culled, as the bacteria can survive in fields for months. Eradicating TB will require addressing this risk, the new research implies. TB is a serious problem for farmers, with 36,000 infected cattle slaughtered in Britain in 2015 at a cost to the taxpayer of about £100m. One key element of the government’s control programme, England’s controversial badger cull, is set to expand. Foremost experts say this “flies in the face of scientific evidence” and that the cull is a “monstrous” waste of time and money. The new research has not changed their conclusion.

amazon-indians-69589_960_720Plans to build a giant hydroelectric dam in the heart of the Amazon rainforest have been halted by Brazil’s environmental protection agency because of mounting concerns about the fate of indigenous communities and wildlife living in the area. The 8,000-megawatt São Luiz do Tapajós (SLT) dam would have been the sixth-largest hydroelectric dam in the world, spanning the five-mile wide Tapajós river and drowning 376 sq km (145 sq miles) of rainforest that is home to some 12,000 Munduruku Indians.

Can a house where wood is burned for heat really be called green?  After writing “From the straw bale wrap to the lime plaster finishes, this cottage is as green as it gets” there was a huge amount of comment about the use of wood for heating. “…as green as it gets”? I would like to respectfully disagree. It’s unfortunate that “renewable” is now equated with “clean”, “green”, “healthy”, and “good-for-the-planet”.Yes, wood is renewable, but burning it as fuel has none of these positive attributes. Make up your own mind by reading the article on TreeHugger.




Morocco switches on first phase of world’s largest solar plant

noor1Morocco’s king has switched on the first phase of a concentrated solar power plant that will become the world’s largest when completed. The power station on the edge of the Saharan desert will be the size of the country’s capital city by the time it is finished in 2018, and provide electricity for 1.1 million people. Noor 1, the first section at the town of Ouarzazate, provides 160 megawatts (MW) of the ultimate 580MW capacity, helping Morocco to save hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions per year.

“It is a very, very significant project in Africa,” said Mafalda Duarte, the manager of Climate Investment Funds (CIF), which provided $435m (£300m) of the $9bn project’s funding. “Morocco is showing real leadership and bringing the cost of the technology down in the process.” The north African country plans to generate 42% of its energy from renewables by 2020, with one-third of that total coming from solar, wind and hydropower apiece. Morocco hopes to use the next UN climate change conference, which it hosts in November, as the springboard for an even more ambitious plan to source 52% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.

The UK also had some good news with the announcement of the world’s biggest offshore windfarm, to be built off the north-east coast. Dong Energy said its multi-billion pound Hornsea project, which is expected when complete to power as many as 1m homes in the region, will occupy more than 400 square kilometres, situated about 120km off the Yorkshire coast.

More on the Guardian here

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.


The Greener Festival Awards Are Back!

AGF_Award_GENERIC_outlines-ver32-300x30010 years after the inception of the non-profit organisation A Greener Festival, the Greener Festival Awards have been restructured and relaunched.

In 2015, A Greener Festival took a year out from running the Awards to restructure and create more comprehensive tools for assessing and supporting events.Over 300 festivals have been assessed for the awards worldwide since 2007 across 5 continents, ranging from Glastonbury, Øya, We Love Green and Shambala (Europe), to Bonnaroo and Lightening in a Bottle (US), to Falls Festival (Australia) to Rockin’ the Daisies (SA) (see all 2014 winners here).

When A Greener Festival began 10 years ago we were trying to raise awareness about how to reduce the environmental impact of festivals. The new process for the awards goes beyond promoting best practice and events successes, but also helps organisers to understand, plan and improve their entire events sustainability.” Claire O’Neill, Co-Founder of A Greener Festival.

The new awards procedure still includes a festival self assessment with supporting documentation, but this now reflects the requirements of an Environmental Impact Assessment. Rather than submit a new application each year, repeat applicants will build on their initial assessments, set targets and monitor progress. The unique on site assessment from an AGF environmental auditor will still take place during each event.

To carry out these assessments A Greener Festival have developed formal training for their environmental auditors, the first of which are to be delivered in London and Manchester this coming spring 2016. If you have a background in sustainable event management and are interested in becoming a trained AGF assessor we are inviting applicants.

“The awards may be more challenging as a result of the additional requirements, but this is coupled with a more valuable service for participants who stand to gain not only recognition for their achievements, but also a framework for understanding, managing and improving the sustainability of their events.” Helen Innes, Director of A Greener Festival.

A Greener Festival can provide support to help produce Environmental Impact Assessments and other supporting services, but strongly advocate that events have the skills and knowledge in-house to do this themselves. Advice and support about doing this is freely available. Environmental Impact Assessments from other reliable third party sources are also welcomed and accepted.

The awards will initially be relaunched for this summer season 2016 in Europe and North America, with Australia, South Africa and other regions joining for their 2016/17 season. Click here to apply and best of luck!

For more information click here or contact

European Festival Awards 2015

efas3The 2015 European Festival Awards ceremony at the EuroSonic convention in Groningen in the Netherlands took place last night. A gala dinner, hosted by Ben Challis and Gordon Masson, featured live performances from Dutch band Kovacs, Scotlands White and Carnival Youth from Latvia, and a special performance from the star sudded Natural Peace and Love Orchestra.  With over 800,000 votes cast by fans, the winners are:

Best New European Festival: Untold Festival (Romania)

Best Indoor Festival: Les Transardentes (Belgium)

The Green Opererations Award: Tollwood Festival (Germany)

Agent of the Year: Emma Banks (CAA)

Festival Anthem of the Year: Major Lazer with Lean On

Best Small European Festival: Happiness Festival (Germany)

Artists Favourite European Festival: Rock Werchter (Belgium)

The Health & Safety Innovation Award: Das Fest (Germany)

The Best Medium Sized European Festival: Telekom Volt (Hungary)

efas1Promoter of the Year: Horstmann Unterbehmensgruppe (Germany)

Newcomer of the Year: Hozier

Best European Festival Line Up: Sziget (Hungary)

Best Headliner: The Prodigy

Best Major European Festival: Untold Festival (Romania)

Award for Excellence and Passion: Prof Chris Kemp (YES and MOM)

Lifetime Achievement Award: Jean Louis Brossard and Beatrice Mace