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Green Musician: Study on the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emission Impacts of International Touring


Julie’s Bicycle, the U.K. environmental body that works for the creative industries, recently launched a detailed study on the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission impacts of international touring which encourages artists to reduce their carbon emissions.

Moving Arts: managing the carbon impacts of our touring: Bands, Orchestras and Theatre’ is a three volume report which measures the impacts of touring and presents practical  solutions to help cut  touring emissions. Taking 9 months to complete and with contributions from over 300 people and organisations, these important reports are the first of their kind.

The research looked at 97 tour leg samples in 2009 across the UK and internationally. It estimates that approximately 85,000 tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) emissions were produced as a result of bands taking their show on the road. Touring theatre produced approximately 13,400 tonnes of CO2e emissions and orchestras produced approximately 8,600 tonnes CO2e emissions.  Unsurprisingly the majority of touring emissions are from overseas tours, with personnel travel and freight accounting for the lion’s share of those figures.

The report recognizes that there is concern about the environment within the industry, but notes that while high profile names are speaking out, that concern is not yet being reflected in the practices of touring. A number of barriers have been identified including the perceived financial cost, availability of low carbon equipment and vehicles, and audience and artist expectation for spectacular shows.

Julie’s Bicycle have identified 11 priority recommendations for artists, managers, suppliers, promoters and venues. These involve environmental planning to sit alongside artistic and financial contributions, and sharing the data on emissions produced from a tour.

Julie’s Bicycle has also launched a free online tool which will measure the carbon impacts of tours.

Photo credit: Red Elvises
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