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Music industry makes commitments and demands ahead of UN Climate Change Conference

By | Published on Friday 29 October 2021


As the UN Climate Change Conference – or COP26 if you prefer – kicks off in Glasgow this weekend, the UK live music industry has reaffirmed its aim of reaching net zero emissions across the sector by 2030, while also promoting a number of music-led events taking place around the conference itself.

Meanwhile, the independent music community – via IMPALA – has called for the European Union and national governments across Europe to “ensure clear transitional pathways for all European countries, along with a support mechanism for sectors who are leading the way in this area”.

That basically means providing guidance and support for companies seeking to transition to lower or zero carbon emissions, recognising that the route to go and the challenges to be met are different from sector to sector, and country to country.

The indie music community is urging governments to ensure that small to middle-sized enterprises can access the know-how and tools they need to become more environmentally sustainable, and that businesses that take the lead in this domain get additional support such as grants and tax relief.

IMPALA launched a climate charter in April this year that sets out fifteen commitments it is making to help the organisation itself, and its membership, become more environmentally sustainable. Then, earlier this month, it announced a partnership with sustainability charity Julie’s Bicycle to build a bespoke carbon calculator for the independent label sector, to help independent music companies highlight where they can make changes in order to become carbon neutral and, eventually, carbon positive.

The chair of IMPALA’s Sustainability Task Force, !K7 Music CEO Horst Weidenmüller, said this morning: “Sustainability is a key area for any company, big or small, in Germany and elsewhere. We are doing our bit in the independent music sector, and we expect governments to step up and make transition pathways as smooth as possible”.

Meanwhile, Will Hutton, Head Of Sustainability at Beggars Group and a member of IMPALA’s task force, added: “Sector action is indispensable if we are to achieve our targets and we hope that by moving early, we will encourage other sectors to follow. As we look to governments to take a strong stance at COP26, it is essential to create systems to support early sector transition”.

Many in the indie music community believe that artists and labels can play a key role in the climate emergency debate in two key ways, both by making their own businesses more sustainable, while also raising awareness among their audiences.

Also commenting this morning, Ninja Tune Chair Peter Quicke, another member of IMPALA’s task force, said: “Being able to reach a wide audience, music has the power to carry vital messages on the climate emergency. I will be in Glasgow to support ambitious action, clear targets and systemic support. That’s what’s needed to obtain tangible results for the future”.

The UK live music industry also sees itself as having a double role in the climate change debate, both in making its own operations more sustainable, and by using its venues and events – and the artists it works with – to raise awareness.

Last month, all thirteen organisations that make up the UK live music industry trade body LIVE ratified the Beyond Zero Declaration, which is “a voluntary commitment to deliver measurable and targeted action on climate change, with the aim of reaching net zero emissions across the sector by 2030”.

Ahead of COP26, LIVE has confirmed that next year its sustainability wing, LIVE Green, “will campaign to support the sector’s transition to a regenerative future, including the launch of a free-to-access resource hub and industry-wide measurement of CO2 emissions”.

Meanwhile, various artists, companies and organisations from the UK music community will be involved in events running alongside COP26 in Glasgow, including UMA Entertainment, DF Concerts, Julie’s Bicycle, Musicians In Exile, and music-makers like Enter Shikari and Brian Eno.

The COO of AEG Europe, and Chair of LIVE Green, John Langford, said this morning: “Music has the power to create change – and the looming climate emergency requires all of our support. It’s fantastic to see the live music sector represented in such a positive way at COP26, and this is a great sign of things to come as we build on the progress we have made so far to set out a clear path for to decarbonisation across the sector”.