Opportunities and Challenges Revealed in Green Survey 2022 Results.

In this 8th year of Vision: 2025’s annual Industry Green Survey for outdoor events, 119 festivals and events with a combined audience of over 2.1 million took part; from community events to the largest summer music events in the UK. The results give insight into trends and practices, challenges faced, and what event organisers are prioritising for the coming season.  Read a full analysis of the survey: https://bit.ly/GreenSurveyResults2022

Key findings:

  • Local authority expectations are changing; with17% of events reporting that their local authority required information about sustainability in 2022, and a further 24% saying it has been indicated that this will be required.
  • The priority areas for event organisers have changed since 2021, with waste slipping off the top three, to be replaced by a focus on overall carbon foot-printing. Despite this, less than half (45%) are currently measuring their total carbon footprint.
  • The use of grid connections is on the rise, with almost a quarter of events reporting that they are now using grid as part of their energy mix. A third have tried using battery units, up from 25% in 2021. In 2022 less than half of event respondents received a detailed energy report post-event or felt engaged enough with their provider to put in place a strategy to reduce fuel and increase efficiency.

Challenge areas for event respondents included; how to tackle carbon emissions from transport and how to work with traders on food sustainability. Waste featured too, with lack of clarity on the sustainability of certain materials and waste processes and how to work with contractors to reduce plastic waste. That said, in 2022 it was clearly the norm to have recycling system front and back of house (73% and 82% respectively), and encouragingly 74% now have a reuse policy for décor and production materials, showing how circular waste principles are being adopted. Notably, 68% say they know what recycling plant their materials are going to.

Top barriers and drivers: Cost and capacity within organisations are still identified as the top two barriers with difficulty engaging contractors and an inability of suppliers to deliver coming joint third. The main drivers for taking climate action were staff expectation and internal commitment, audience expectations and artists’ expectations. This is the first time that ‘artists’ have been cited in the top three drivers for climate action, suggesting that the artist community are more engaged in advocating for change.

The annual survey helps the Vision: 2025 steering group gather a vital picture of the sector’s practices, to chart development and to shape support for event organisers.  In 2022, in direct response to issues around reducing and handling waste consistently ranking as a top priority for outdoor event organisers participating in the survey in previous years, the Vision: 2025 steering group undertook a research project with Julie’s Bicycle to deepen understanding about waste management and its impacts at outdoor festivals, aiming to set the industry on a course to overall waste reduction, zero waste to landfill, and increased recycling rates. The resulting ‘Zero Waste Festivals Project’ report and recommendations are due to be launched in February 2023.