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TRANSPORT

For Aussie musicians, when there's no pandemic raging, touring large distances is pretty much unavoidable. But the average Australian tour (with 15 shows) creates 28 tonnes of carbon emissions. Behind these stats lies the fact that Australia has high polluting cars and relatively minimal spending on public transport. It's why our transport sector represents 18% of Australia’s annual emissions, our fastest growing and second largest source of pollution. So along with encouraging better transport infrastructure, it’s important that we improve the way we travel. 

For transport, planning is where you can make the most impact. So use the answers to the questions below to put together a plan for greener touring. As with waste, our aim should be to avoid travel impacts where we can by reducing the number of trips, performing online, or taking the most efficient route. Where that’s not possible, using more efficient transport modes lessens your impact (hint: literally anything is greener than plane travel) as does reducing the weight of gear that you take with you. 

You can start by asking good questions, like:

  • Can I take less equipment or hire some of it locally? 
  • Can I transport my equipment more efficiently (e.g. road freight or train, instead of plane)?
  • Can I reduce the number of vehicles or crew travelling, car-pool, use more efficient vehicles or hire some crew locally?
  • Can I travel in off-peak times to improve vehicle fuel efficiency?
  • Can I use an electric vehicle or a hybrid, rather than one that’s powered by fossil fuels? Will a smaller vehicle do the job?
  • Can I use another form of transport over flying?

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AUDIENCE IMPACTS

One of the biggest sources of emissions can come from fans getting to shows – there are so many more of them than you. That means that what you do is important, but where you hold your shows and how you communicate with fans about their transport options is also key.

  • Accessible venues: Prioritise venues that are easy to get to by public transport, walking or riding.
  • Travel information: Include information about public transport, bike and carpooling with gig details. And encourage your fans to use those options. Sydney has Trip Planner, Melbourne has Journey Planner and so does Brisbane
  • Audience incentives: If you’re able, offer fans incentives like access to sound check, entry to a competition or free (Earth friendly) merch if they make greener choices. 
  • Ride sharing: Consider some of the many new online ways to encourage better transport options like supporting fans to connect for rides via social media or using a platform like coseats to facilitate ride sharing.

WHAT ABOUT CARBON OFFSETTING?

Offsetting is a way of compensating for your carbon dioxide emissions. It doesn’t stop or reduce them, but it effectively reduces the impact somewhere else on your behalf. You purchase carbon credits from a supplier and, in return, they use your money for initiatives like planting trees, building solar infrastructure or supporting hydro-electricity projects. It’s how companies (and bands and DJs!) can claim to be ‘carbon neutral’. 

So, can we just offset all our emissions? Carbon offsetting is only ever a partial solution. Aside from anything else, there is already far too much carbon in the atmosphere. It’s best if offsetting isn’t your first step. And it definitely shouldn’t be all you do. So lower your carbon footprint first, and encourage your fans to do the same. 

 

1. Start by measuring your carbon footprint

2. Reduce your emissions as much as possible

Use this guide to start reducing your impacts from waste, transport, food and merch, and put a plan in place to keep improving over time. If you need some support, get in touch. It’s why we exist: [email protected].

3. Choose from our top four recommendations for offsetting

The Aboriginal Carbon Foundation focuses on carbon farming projects in local communities with the aim of generating jobs, caring for Country and strengthening Indigenous and non-Indigenous relationships. These projects not only create environmental benefits but social and cultural ones too, connecting organisations seeking to offset their emissions with Aboriginal communities who supply carbon credits.

Greenfleet is a non-profit that plants native biodiverse forests across Australia to facilitate practical climate action.

  • Treecreds is an accredited provider of trusted carbon offset solutions and sustainability services catering to the arts, event and music industries.
  • Carbon Neutral were the first Australian provider to be Gold Standard certified and have planted over 22 million trees so far, with a focus on preserving and rehabilitating Australian forests and biodiversity corridors.

Lots of standards have been developed to help people choose between offset suppliers. We suggest looking for suppliers with the Gold Standard, developed by WWF. We also prefer to support Australian-based projects due to issues of climate colonisation, when overseas projects infringe on Indigenous lands.

Many airlines offer optional carbon offsetting as a ticket add-on, but not all offsets are created equal. Better to do it than not at all, but we encourage you to check what you’re getting and consider offsetting separately if the quality isn’t high.

CASE STUDY: FEAT

FEAT., or Future Energy Artists, created by our friend Heidi Lenffer from Cloud Control, is an artist-led movement to reshape the environmental legacy of the music industry. An alternative to simple offsetting, FEAT.’s mission is to help you invest in solar to offset your touring emissions, while getting competitive returns on your investment.

3. Tell your fans about it

Explain what you’ve done, sharing why it matters to you and how it’s part of your bigger commitment to living green through your music practice. Some bands work with their ticketing company to add a small carbon offsetting fee to ticket purchases, allowing fans to offset some of a concert’s emissions. This can be a good way to raise awareness and do good in the world. Just make sure the offsets are from a good source (see point 3, above).

WHAT ELSE?

Of course, these kinds of individual actions are just the beginning. We know the issues we face are systemic. So while we’re improving personal footprints, we also need to push for collective, political change. That’s why your voice is the most powerful tool you’ve got. See Speaking Up for our suggestions on how to use it well. Or get in touch if you want to get more involved in the Green Music movement.

CASE STUDY: In Hearts Wake

Australian heavy-metal band In Hearts Wake calculated the recording process of their fifth studio album KALIYUGA to be 26.37 tonnes of CO2e, which has been entirely offset through the purchase of carbon credits in the Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor of Western Australia. The album will also be packaged and manufactured plastic-free.

 

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Green Music Australia | ABN: 27 156 610 525

Green Music Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we work and meet and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. When musicians stand up and speak up for the environment, we’re following the lead of Indigenous people who have cared for Country for tens of thousands of years. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and appreciate the pivotal role that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to play within the Australian community - including the music scene. We acknowledge that this land – which we benefit from occupying – was stolen, and that sovereignty was never ceded.