A year since the 10:10 campaign was launched, Julie’s Bicycle looks at ways in which the cultural industry is coping with carbon reduction
Julie’s Bicycle has been working with 10:10 over the summer to green the UK’s festivals. The collaboration marries the campaign’s challenge to reduce carbon emissions by 10% in 2010 with Julie’s Bicycle’s practical Industry Green (IG) tools and sector-specific expertise, to help festivals and other creative organisations achieve reduction targets.
10:10 was launched on 1 September 2009 and over 10,000 individuals, businesses, schools and organisations signed up to the scheme within 72 hours. 10:10 Global was launched in April 2010 and to date has more than 96,000 sign-ups in 128 countries. The campaign’s popularity comes from its simple aspiration to commit to reducing carbon emissions by 10% in 2010, and to work together to make it happen. It has unified many different signatories under one banner by making long-term reduction targets seem less daunting; 80% by 2050 is a lot to digest, whereas a 10% chunk seems manageable.
10:10’s clear message and big publicity stunts – such as the fifty thousand 10:10 tags created from a melted-down Boeing 747 – are only as good as the engagement and change that they provoke. A 10% reduction is possible, but it’s not simple. Organisations require support to give substance to the 10% reductions message, and that’s where partnerships with organisations like ours are crucial.
The specific challenges of going green
For 10:10 signatories in the UK cultural sector, there are significant challenges in measuring their carbon impact compared to more conventional office-based businesses, particularly outdoor events such as festivals. While the 10:10 framework measures electricity and gas usage, and staff and business travel, its ambition to measure every signatory under the same types of data is limiting, and can’t track many of the complex emissions sources at cultural events, festivals and outdoor events. For example, audience travel is the largest contributor to most cultural carbon footprints, and outdoor events rely on temporary on-site energy sources such as generators.
The unique position outdoor events occupy means that the opportunities and recommendations for carbon reduction can come from different sources: switching to biodiesel (waste vegetable oil) for powering the generators and composting toilets are just two examples. Because of the need for a bespoke set of expertise in measuring carbon for cultural events and organisations, all of the festivals signed up to 10:10 have chosen to work with Julie’s Bicycle to monitor their gas emissions and make the 10% reduction. Festivals committed to 10:10 include Reading and Leeds, Latitude, Glastonbury, T in the Park, the Big Chill, Love Box, Bestival and the Isle of Wight, and many others have already been working with Julie’s Bicycle for over a year to address their carbon responsibility through the IG programme.
Hows and whys of carbon auditing
IG is an environmental assessment framework specific to the creative industries. Designed to measure the carbon emissions of CD packaging, festivals and outdoor events, offices and venues, IG provides carbon audits and data analysis, as well as an online platform which allows organisations to calculate existing emissions and predict future emissions themselves.
One key difference between 10:10 and IG is the mechanism for reporting standard metric reductions. 10:10 uses financial turnover – the most common denominator between all the different types of organisations committed to the campaign. However, for events that rely on audiences that have a significant impact on their carbon footprint, a more accurate measure of success is the amount of carbon produced per audience member per day. This measure enables comparisons between festivals to identify which events deliver entertainment to their audiences with the most carbon efficiency.
Companies proving commitment to reductions can be awarded the IG mark, a recognised industry certification. Coupled with the powerful public consensus surrounding 10:10, IG is providing the creative industries with a clear incentive to reduce their emissions by benchmarking good practice; UK creative organisations branded with the Julie’s Bicycle green seal of approval set examples for the industry to follow.
2010 and beyond
Many of the organisations taking action and investing in sustainable energy and practices have achieved, or are expected to achieve, financial savings too. The economic urgency of the greening movement is gaining recognition, and is timely – some creative organisations have found the money saved by using less energy and thinking sustainably has been equivalent to funding cuts. The Sage Gateshead, for example, uses approximately 20% less electricity and 3% less gas than equivalent venues – you can imagine what financial savings this will mean.
Reducing carbon emissions is a long-term process that needs to continue well beyond 2010, highlighting the urgency for individuals and organisations to start now. The immediacy of climate change, and the diverse range of expertise needed to efficiently reduce emissions, means that partnerships are a productive way forward – economies of scale, shared resources and a unified message are fundamental to reaching our short and long-term targets in response to what is a critical issue.
Alison Tickell, Catherine Langabeer and Sholeh Johnston work for Julie’s Bicycle, which is a coalition of music, theatre and scientific experts committed to making our industry green.
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This week the JB team attended the Green Music Dinner in Hamburg and saw Akram Khan at Sadler’s Wells.