A lot of what we do to create and perform music, alongside the business of music, creates the pollution that drives the climate crisis. This includes travelling for tours, selling music products, 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.
Reducing your emissions means thinking smarter about the way you do business.
ENERGY - how can you reduce your energy consumption?
WASTE - how can you generate less waste?
TRAVEL - how can you travel more lightly or more efficiently?
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.
MEASURING YOUR IMPACT
There's plenty of options for measuring your climate emissions. Consider:
Work with Green Music Australia to understand your climate emissions and help us benchmark the impact of the Australian Music Industry.
Green Music Australia has developed AMIDESI, an Australia-first technological platform designed to analyse and report on sustainability data for the Australian Music Industry. An alternative to simple offsetting, AMIDESI's mission is to help you gain knowledge of your business' environmental and social impact by collecting quantitative data, e.g. flight emissions 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.
For more information contact [email protected]
You can also measure your impact through other tools and organisations including:
Julie’s Bicycle Creative Green Tools for a comprehensive analysis of large tours or events
- Green Your Noise carbon calculator (a project we've been helping develop!) for smaller gigs/artists.
- Arts on Tour have partnered with Arup to deliver CIRCULATE, a carbon calculator for waste, travel and more.
- For understanding your individual footprint or something similar to a small office space, we recommend TreeCreds. Treecreds work with our friends at Untitled Group and Strawberry Fields on audience travel emissions and do a wonderful job.
COMPENSATING FOR YOUR IMPACT
“Carbon offsetting” is a way of compensating for your climate impact - it doesn’t stop or reduce emissions, but it 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, building solar infrastructure or supporting hydro-electricity projects. 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 one-way flight from Brisbane to LA costs around $65 to offset. However, it is only ever a partial solution, and a risky one, too. Offsetting projects can take years to take effect, and for some offsets like tree growth, it can take up to 20 years to capture the amount of carbon dioxide promised, with planting vulnerable to natural disasters, disease and deforestation, and ultimately the carbon being released back into the atmosphere when the trees die.
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 initiatives that will help further reduce their practices’ emissions and negative impact in the long term. Some of these suggestions are:
- Make a donation to effective local landcare groups where your event is taking place
- Make a donation to Green Music Australia so that we can continue our advocacy work
Increase sustainability budgets so that you can:
- Invest in energy efficient lighting and equipment
- Invest in their own rooftop solar
- Analyse supply chains
- Analyse waste procedures and pick up methods
- Invest in strategy days to create sustainability policies
- Run workshops for industry and artists about environmental sustainability
- Create case studies
This does not mean that we think that offsetting is always a bad idea, but in some cases it may be more beneficial to reduce emissions 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.
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]!