CLOSING THE LOOP
Q: Reducing (single-use) plastics, or ‘fighting the plastic demon’, is a key area for many consumers. Can you share any concrete actions Live Nation is taking in this area?
“Eliminating single-use plastic from our festivals and venues is one of our top priorities, and we are testing different options including reusable and circular systems. This summer, Sportpaleis – a venue in Antwerp, Belgium – tested a closed-loop system together with our partners to eliminate the demand for virgin plastic, and so, reducing plastic pollution and CO2 emissions by keeping fossil fuels in the ground. With our sponsors providing 100% rPET (recycled PET plastic) single-use cups, the aim is to collect, process into pellets, and re-purchase the material to make new cups for our next event. As such, we can ensure the value of the material is kept within the system, eliminating the demand for virgin plastics as well as preventing plastic from going to landfill, waterways, and the ocean.”
Q: Transportation and mobility during a festival can also have a big impact on the surroundings, the local fauna and flora. How does Live Nation address this?
“We have many interesting programs around transportation with the aim of encouraging and incentivizing public transportation and bike use. For many years, Belgian festival Rock Werchter has encouraged festival goers to use local public transport by adding a complementary bus and train ticket to each festival ticket. Since 2018, they also started to focus on bike use through a Bike & Ride scheme operated at car parks within cycling distance of the festival site. Festival goers can use these car parks for free and use their own bikes to complete the final leg of the trip to Werchter.
We also have festivals providing free bikes for staff, in Denmark and Italy for example. Other activations include Firenze Rocks in Italy also providing, in partnership with the local railway system, discounted festival tickets to fans that arrive by train. And something similar is done in Switzerland too, but instead of discounting the train ticket we discount the ticket to the festival if people arrive by public transport.“
Q: I guess a big part of Live Nation’s actions also focus on creating awareness and educating people on sustainability in relation to concerts and festivals. Can you share an example of an initiative in this area?
“Our venues have been doing an incredible work at promoting sustainability. Their sustainability program serves as an educational platform to inspire fans, employees, and artists to preserve and sustain environmental resources. Many of the venues set monthly environmental goals for the staff, rewarding participation. Some big initiatives include zero-waste stations for trash sorting, increased composting rates, elimination of plastic straws, and access to free water-refilling stations that minimize the distribution of single-use beverage containers.
When talking about sustainability, it’s important to realize that one size doesn’t fit all. We need to take into account the specifics of each market. What’s the waste-management system, what type of materials can they recycle, do they have composting places in the region? We must consider all these aspects when implementing new initiatives. Yet, this makes our work around sustainability challenging, but also exciting.”
In summary, Live Nation has set up multiple initiatives to contribute to a more sustainable future; from reducing plastic pollution via closed-loop processes, to sustainable transportation, and inspiring fans, employees, and artists to act more sustainably. But in the end, Patricia stresses that it’s never a ‘one size fits all solution’. Taking into account the specifics of each market is vital when setting up these initiatives.
Hungry for more? Stay tuned as we will release more ‘Conscious Consumption’ interviews in the coming weeks!