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Reducing, Calculating and Offsetting our Climate Impact


A lot of what we do to produce and perform music, alongside the business of music, creates the pollution that drives the climate crisis. This includes travelling for tours, selling recorded music and merch, waste at events, accommodation and more.

To become a green music scene, and to work out how to reduce our impact and offset what we can’t reduce, we need to follow a four stage process that begins with measuring our impact. But before we dive in, let’s first address the most common barrier to action – funding.



There is a common misconception that going green is too expensive. While some big ticket items like solar panels do indeed require a substantial cash investment upfront, many initiatives aren’t costly at all, and almost all of them can actually save you money on your bills in the long term.

Here are just a few ways you can fund your green operations:

Include in your annual budget
Allocate an annual spend into your operations budget.

Include in your grant applications
If you’re applying for an arts grant, add a line item to cover your sustainability initiatives. Many grant funders are beginning to ask about sustainability in their applications, and others view applications which address sustainability more favourably.

Apply for Sustainability Grants
There are sustainability and environment grants available for all types of business models - small to medium businesses, not-for-profit organisations etc. Keep an eye out for local, state and federal government grant announcements, or even easier, subscribe to Green Music Australia’s SYNTHESISE e-newsletter and we’ll keep you up to date.

Cost savings
Use operational savings achieved through implementing sustainability initiatives to offset up front costs. Take the Corner Hotel for example. After completing an energy audit at their site as part of the Green Action Program, they realised that by spending approximately $15K upfront on energy efficient lighting and equipment, they could save over $20K per year for the next ten years on their energy bills. That’s a whopping $185K ROI.

Some ways you can reduce your costs and improve your green credentials include improving insulation, reducing your waste, switching to energy efficient appliances and installing solar panels. Read more about this in our Sound Country guide here.

Allocate a portion of each ticket sale towards funding your sustainability operations. By doing so, you can help audiences become more connected to your green journey, while also ensuring you have funds to implement your projects.

Not sure where or how to allocate your funds? There are plenty of great organisations who can help out including us here at Green Music Australia, FEAT’s Solar Slice program, or US charity Plus1.


OK, so you’ve worked out how to fund your green initiatives, now’s time to begin measuring your climate impact. A good starting point is to review your: 

  • Electricity bills
  • Waste bills
  • Gas bills
  • Transport data (such as flight and ground transport invoices)

While this won’t provide you with emissions data or industry comparisons, it will give you a basic overview of your activities from which you can start to make improvements (see the reduction section below). If you want a more detailed reading of your impact, or just need someone else to do some of the heavy lifting for you, check out the options below.


Green Music Australia has developed AMIDESI, a bespoke technological platform designed to analyse and report on sustainability data for the Australian Music Industry. A step up from offsetting, AMIDESIis designed to help you gain knowledge of your business' environmental and social impact by collecting quantitative data, e.g. flight emissions, waste tonnage or electricity usage.

The program's cutting-edge software then analises your data to help you understand challenges and identify improvement pathways to decrease your impact. Performance comparisons are also made with similar organisations or events, using size metrics to help businesses understand their relative standings.

We’d love to work with you to understand your climate emissions and that of the broader sector. For more information contact [email protected]


You can also measure your impact through other tools and organisations including:

  • Julie’s Bicycle Creative Green Tools – a widely used tool in Europe that provides a comprehensive analysis of large tours or events
  • Green Your Noise (a project we've been helping develop!) – A simple carbon calculator for smaller gigs/artists.
  • TreeCreds Carbon Calculator – for understanding your individual footprint or something similar to a small office space. Treecreds work with our friends at Untitled Group and Strawberry Fields on audience travel emissions and do a wonderful job.


This is where the rubber hits the road. Reducing your emissions is essential and requires all of us to think smarter about the way we do business. The questions we need to be asking are how can we reduce our energy consumption? How can we generate less waste? And how can we travel more lightly or more efficiently? Hint: the data you've captured above should help get you on the right track.

If you’ve landed on this page and haven’t already dived into Green Music Australia’s resources on how to do reduce your negative impact, here’s some helpful links for artists, venues and industry.

Sound Country: A Green Artist Guide
Green Venue Guide
Industry Research and Case studies


“Carbon offsetting” is a way of compensating for your climate impact - it doesn’t stop or reduce it, but supports others to reduce the impact somewhere else on your behalf.

The traditional way to offset your emissions is by purchasing carbon credits from a supplier, and in return they use your money for initiatives like planting trees or building renewable energy infrastructure. It’s how companies (and bands!) can claim to be carbon neutral or even carbon negative.

Green Music Australia’s research shows that a “good” Australian offset product starts at around $35 per tonne; meaning a return flight from Brisbane to LA would cost $120 to offset. However, offsetting is only ever a partial solution, and a risky one, too. According to a recent Guardian study, many of the world’s most traded offsets are not cutting planet-heating emissions. Even “good” carbon offsetting projects can take years to take effect, and assume that they’ll reach maturity. In the case of plantations, trees need to grow healthily for up to 20 years to capture the amount of carbon dioxide promised, but new trees are vulnerable to natural disasters and disease, an increasingly common occurrence in a warmer world, not to mention deforestation.


At Green Music Australia, we ask the people we work with to consider using the funds they might otherwise spend on offsets to invest in ‘in-house’ or hyper-local initiatives that further reduce their business’ emissions and negative impact. Some ideas include:

  • Make a donation to Green Music Australia so that we can continue our advocacy work
  • Financially support local landcare groups to regenerate the country your event is taking place on
  • Increase sustainability budgets so that you can: Invest in energy efficient lighting and equipment; Invest in your own rooftop solar; Analyse supply chains; Analyse waste procedures and pick up methods
  • Invest in strategy days to foster environmental leadership and create sustainability policies
  • Run workshops for industry and artists about environmental sustainability
  • Create case studies to inspire your peers

This does not mean that we think that offsetting is always a bad idea, but in some cases other options may be more beneficial in the long term for your practice, and the planet.

Our top four recommendations for traditional offsetting:

When going down the traditional offset route, we recommend supporting Australia-based projects due to issues of climate colonisation, some overseas projects infringe on Indigenous lands (see this example in Kenya), leading to land dispossession and discrimination.

  • The Aboriginal Carbon Foundation focuses on carbon farming projects in local communities with the aim of generating jobs, caring for the environment and strengthening Indigenous and non-Indigenous relationships. They are focused on projects that are not only environmental but also social and cultural, connecting organisations seeking to offset their emissions with Aboriginal communities who supply carbon credits.
  • TreeCreds work with our friends at Strawberry Fields and Beyond the Valley and can help you buy credits from multiple carbon projects. They’ve also partnered with Green Music Australia to give us a 5% commission for anyone we send their way. Note that this percentage from their administration fee so you won’t be out of pocket. Thanks TreeCreds!
  • Greenfleet is a nonprofit planting native biodiverse forests across Australia to facilitate practical climate action.
  • Carbon Neutral are the first Australian provider to be Gold Standard qualified and have planted over 22 million trees so far, with a focus on preserving and rehabilitating Australian forests and biodiversity corridors.

If you’d prefer something different, look for suppliers with the Gold Standard, developed by the WWF.


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 CO2, 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.

Read the full case study here.


What other support can I get?

Are you going on tour or about to embark on something big and want our support? We can tailor a program to suit your needs and budget - get in touch with us at [email protected]!


* Top Banner Image: Photo of In Heart's Wake by Glenn Mossop as part of their tree planting initiative for their KALIYUGA album.

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