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Green Events & Innovations Conference

Green Events & Innovations Conference

The tenth edition of the UK’s leading conference for sustainability at live events took place 6 March 2018 and welcomed 150 professionals working, or with an interest in, environmental and social initiatives and development of live events. 

A full report of the topics discussed will appear here shortly.

If you are interested in attending GEI 2019 and/or would like to hear about A Greener Festival's projects, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will add you to our mailing list.

The Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI) is A Greener Festival’s annual flagship event delivered in partnership with the International Live Music Conference (ILMC). 

The GEI Schedule

09:00 – 09:45 REGISTRATION
09:45 - 10:00 WELCOME & INTRO
Hosts: Teresa Moore, Claire O’Neill, Ben Challis (A Greener Festival, UK)
10:00 – 10:25  QUICK-FIRE ROUND
Enviro-Cup, ButtiFly & KICK (keep it clean kids) EVENT
10:25 – 10:35 PRESENTATION: Eco Coin - An Alternative Economy
Host: Kate Rolfe (ECO Coin)
10:35 – 11:20  PANEL: The Growing Climate Justice Movement and How Events are Supporting It
Moderator: Jamie Kelsey-Fry (New Internationalist, UK)
11:20 – 11:40 Coffee & Tea Break 
11:40 – 12:05 PRESENTATION: Tame the Transport
Host: Liz Warwick (Landsdowne Warwick Sustainability Consultancy, UK)
12:05 – 12:15 TUNED-IN-TRAVEL: Reduce travel emission and raise income
Hosts: Dawn Kendall (Environmental Sustainability Manager), Christian Steele (Off-Site Operations Manager), Tuned In Travel (UK)
12:15 – 12:45 KEYNOTE: More than just their tents?
Keynote Speaker: Bob Wilson (Greenpeace UK)
12:45 - 13:30  PANEL: Taking A Stand for Social Cohesion
Moderator: Holger Jan Schmidt (GO Group/Yourope, DE)
13:30 - 14:30 Lunch
14:30 - 15:15 PANEL: The Facts of Live: Poo, Pee & Water
Moderator: Chris Cooke (CMU, UK)
15:15 – 16:00 PANEL: Sustainable Procurements & Circularity
Moderator: Chris Cooke (CMU, UK)
16:00 – 16:20 Coffee & Tea Break
16:20 – 16:40  PRESENTATION: Why Don’t Audiences Clean-up Their Act?
Host: Teresa Moore (A Greener Festival, UK)
16:40 – 17:05 PRESENTATION: What’s the Point in Recycling?
Host: Ed Cook (Resources Futures, UK)
17:05 – 17:55  PANEL: Plastic Seas & Campsite Chaos
Moderator: Natalie Fee (City to Sea, UK)
17:55 – 18:00 Closing Comments
18:00 - 21:00 IPM/GEI Closing Drinks Party 
Supported by Toast Ale
18:30 – 19:00 AGF & TGEA Awards Ceremony

The GEI Agenda

QUICK FIRE ROUND:

Enviro-Cup – Stainless Steel Reusable Cup solution
Host: Russell Blakey, Enviro-Cup (UK)

Russell presents the ultimate solution for reducing plastic drinking cup use at events and festivals. 
ButtiFly – Cigarette Butt Solution
Host: Iren de Pascuale, ButtiFly (UK)

Iren showcases ButtiFly's innovative answer to tackling cigarette litter at events.
KICK (Keep It Clean Kids) EVENT
Hosts: Danilo Manuputty & Sisley Beau, KICK (NL)

Hosts Danilo and Sisley present a dynamic approach aimed at the future generation that encourages working together towards sustainable development goals and a world with no or less waste.

PRESENTATION: ECO Coin – Alternative Economy

Host: Kate Rolfe, ECO Coin (UK/NL)

It seems strange that businesses can make money from cutting down forests and turning it into a raw material, but people are not paid to plant the forest. We know money is a great way to incentivise people, so what if we could design a new system that rewarded people for their actions not only to limit damages but to improve our ecology? What if we paid people to act in a more sustainable way? 

The ECO coin is a digital currency that positively rewards people who are actively contributing to a more sustainable world. The company's Kate Rolfe explains all.  

PANEL: The Growing Climate Justice Movement and How Events are Supporting It

Moderator: Jamie Kelsey-Fry, New Internationalist (UK)

When it comes to the topic of climate change, what can realistically be done?

In this session, our expert panel will focus on alternative technologies and solutions for event organisers that can make a renewable and clean energy supply a very real and available option, right now.

Chaired by editor and activist, Jamie Kelsey-Fry, we will take look at current climate science and its implications on a political, as well as environmental, landscape. Jamie – who is also the co-author of Rax Active Citizen Toolkit (a publication aimed at GCSE-level citizenship studies) – will also be discussing contemporary youth activism.

Joining Jamie will be green activist Shane Collins who will outline the perils of runaway climate change and the post-Paris carbon budget, and the urgency with which this controversial topic should be broached.

Environmental scientist Rob Scully, who has achieved clean energy across a multitude of events over the last two decades, will add his voice to the panel, along with Marie Sabot, founder of We Love Green Festival in Paris, who will prove that a major event that attracts 60,000 people, can still work in harmony with the environment, and provide a hub for eco-friendly initiatives and ideas.

Finally, we will ask what can really be done to reduce the impact of events on the environment? With so much conflicting information, knowing which way to turn for the better can be confusing and overwhelming.

This panel – oozing with green expertise – will bust some of the common myths relating to sustainability, and help event organisers to make informed decisions and take positive action in the greening of their events.

Guest speakers include:
Shane Collins, Green Gathering (UK)
Marie Sabot, We Love Green Festival (FR)
Rob Scully, A Greener Festival (UK)

PRESENTATION: Tame the Transport

Host: Liz Warwick, Lansdowne Warwick Sustainability Consultancy (UK)

In this presentation, Liz Warwick of Lansdowne Warwick Sustainability Consultancy and consultant for Cambridge Folk Festival, will demonstrate how we can better understand and therefore reduce transport impact at events.

The process of data gathering and analysis can yield a wealth of valuable information when attempting to green an event, and can help focus efforts and create initiatives in those areas that can significantly reduce emissions.The session will look at understanding the audience and other stakeholders in order to encourage change through targeted approaches. Analysis may seem time consuming but the very process of data gathering engages all sectors and encourages dialogue that can lead to reduced emissions. 

TUNED IN TRAVEL – Reduce travel emission and raise income!

Hosts: Dawn Kendall (Environmental Sustainability Manager), Christian Steele (Off-Site Operations Manager), Tuned In Travel (UK)

Is it possible for events to actually make money whilst providing safe, efficient sustainable transport solutions for their audience, or is the more environmentally friendly way always the more expensive option? Hear from the expert logistics teams at Tuned In Travel about how events will be doing exactly that this summer.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Bob Wilson, Greenpeace UK

"The optimism of the action is much more valuable than the pessimism of the thought. How can we send them home this year with more than just their tents?"

Who better to set the tone for the 10th Green Events & Innovations Conference than Bob Wilson, a man who has spent the last three decades running Greenpeace UK’s event team, and the Greenpeace area at Glastonbury Festival.

Bob was at the first ever Glastonbury in 1970 (or at least he thinks he was – ‘if you can remember it, you weren’t there’ someone famous once said), along with many other legendary festivals that have taken place since.

Having sat atop lighting towers listening to the likes of Hendrix and The Grateful Dead, he managed to make it out of the 70s alive, carving out a career for himself at Time Out Magazine, which included stints as the managing editor and marketing director. It was in the latter role that he ran the sponsorship programme and began to get involved with Greenpeace, who he described as the only organisation that he came across actually doing something to “stop the rot.”

In 1991, Bob joined Greenpeace UK, the same year that Michael Eavis invited them to take part in Glastonbury Festival, and these days he heads up the events team.

Bob originally joined Greenpeace in order to help them set-up their network of active supporters that now exists all across the UK. Encouraging the festival community to get involved with the work of Greenpeace all around the world remains his key mission.

GEI10 delegates can look forward to hearing about some of the amazing experiences Bob’s had whilst attending and being involved with festivals, since the concept of music festivals began, along with his enthralling journey as an activist. He will also discuss some of Greenpeace UK’s latest campaigns.

PANEL: Taking A Stand: Social Cohesion

Chair: Holger Jan Schmidt, GO Group (DE)

Dysfunctional societies, war-torn nations, and divided peoples are obscuring our ability to focus on what really needs to be done to protect the environment and retain a planet on which all living things can continue to thrive.

We would stand a much greater chance of changing our globally destructive behaviours, if we encouraged collective understanding and acceptance, and also nurtured social cohesion.

Chair Holger Jan Schmidt will welcome some of Europe's most inspiring contemporary festival organisers, who will discuss what social engagement means to them, and how this has played out in various wonderful ways at their events and with additional projects they are involved in.

Guest speakers include:
Michal Kaščák, Pohoda Festival (SK)
Mikkel Sander, Roskilde Festival (DK)
Oliver Wilson, 10,000 HOURS Foundation (UK)

PANEL: The Facts of Live: Poo, Pee & Water

Chair: Chris Cooke, CMU (UK)

4.5 billion people currently live without access to safely managed sanitation, and by 2025, 66% of the planet will live in water-stressed conditions.

So what actions are festivals and events taking to ensure that their water and sewage is being managed safely whilst harnessing maximum nutrients and using minimum resources? And how practical is it to actually achieve some of the new ideas on the ground? Does the work done by events to manage their water usage coincide with the bigger picture when it comes to the topic of global sanitation?
 
In this panel, an essential for all event and festival organisers, we will hear from Jane “I truly love toilets” Healy, who has the mammoth task of managing sanitation at Glastonbury Festival, an event that attracts around 175,000 pooing festival-goers a year. Jane will share with GEI delegates how the festival manages to cope with the facilities, storage and processing of such a colossal amount of waste. 
 
Jane will be joined by Virginia Gardiner of Loowatt, who will share her company’s experience of developing an innovative waterless flush toilet for the closed-loop processing of human waste, in order to generate biogas, electricity and fertiliser. She will look at off-grid toilet options and challenges, and the direct benefits that the work done in the events industry - to provide waterless toilets - has had in poor communities.
 
Proving it’s not all about poo, Adrian Mills from Watermills, one of the largest temporary water suppliers in the UK – who contributed to the British Standard (BS 8551) for temporary water supplies – will chair a discussion on how, as festival/event organisers, we should be researching alternative ways of providing welfare services to the public. Recycling water onsite and the reduction of single-use plastic waste are just two of the projects that Watermills have recently been involved with.

And last but not least, having site-managed events of all sizes, from global sailing events to four-day music festivals, and city-centre arena shows, GMC Events' Graham MacVoy will give invaluable on-the-ground insights into the challenges and practicalities of water and sanitation infrastructure across a variety of event types and spaces.

This panel will be moderated by Chris Cooke, who is an editor, journalist, and media entrepreneur, and the founder of the highly respected Complete Music Update (CMU). Chris is known for his ability to get to the very heart of a subject.

Guest speakers include:
Jane Healy, Glastonbury Festival (UK)
Virginia Gardiner, Loowatt (UK)
Adrian Mills, Watermills (UK)
Graham MacVoy, GMC Events (UK)

PANEL: Sustainable Procurements & Circularity

Chair: Chris Cooke, CMU (UK)

Event organisers are in the unique position of being able to greatly influence punters’ purchasing decisions, at least for the duration of the event they are putting on. A festival that only provides healthy, organic food outlets or unhealthy fast food outlets, for that matter, gives festival-goers little room for choice (unless they smuggle in their own couscous or chicken drummers.)

In this panel, experts Laura van de Voort, Wicki Nielsen and Rob Wilson will provide excellent examples and expert insights into how we – as event organisers – can ensure our procurement choices are truly sustainable, in order to lessen the deleterious impact of consumerism and positively influence consumer choice.

In reality, how sustainable is the timber we use to build the festival eco-village and stage façade? Wicki from the Soil Association will provide invaluable insights into how we can source materials that literally won’t cost the Earth, and will offer guidance on FSC® and PEFC TM certification.

Laura from Green Events Nederland, will also be dropping in to talk to us about your waste (no, not like in the poo panel). In 2015, nine Dutch festivals signed-up to Green Deal, a project that supports and encourages waste-free events, run in collaboration with the Dutch government and litter prevention foundation Nederland Schoon. Laura will provide details of the initial steps an event needs to undertake when transitioning from wasteful to waste-free.

“But what about the beer!?” we hear you cry. Ok, last but not yeast, Toast Ale’s Rob Wilson will present the company’s wonderful closed-loop solution that utilises surplus bread to create delicious award-winning beer – and there’s never any surplus beer…

Moderated by the wonderful Chris Cooke from CMU, this is a compelling topic and a panel not to be missed.

Guest speakers include:
Rob Wilson, Toast Ale (UK)
Laura van de Voort, Green Events Nederlands 
Wicki Nielsen, Soil Association (UK)

PRESENTATION: Why don’t audiences clean up their act?

Host: Teresa Moore, A Greener Festival (UK)

With all the work that has been done over the past few years and some notable successes by individual event organisers in greening some areas of their campsites, it would be easy to assume that audiences in general are engaged with environmental issues even if they don’t always behave in an environmentally friendly way.

In fact, recent research indicates that despite the best efforts of many event organisers to encourage their audience to choose green options and reduce campsite waste, there is still a large number of event-goers who remain largely untouched by environmental initiatives and options available to them to reduce their carbon footprint. This can prove very costly not only for the environment, but for the event itself.

So, after more than a decade of focus on greening events and development by event organisers to limit the amount of waste created by festivals and the like, why are so many audience members apparently still unaware, unconcerned, or both?

In this session, A Greener Festival’s very own Teresa Moore will provide insights into this issue, and will suggest a number of different approaches for tackling this ongoing problem.

PRESENTATION: What’s the point of recycling?

Host: Ed Cook, Resources Futures (UK)

As well as giving us expert advice and some no-nonsense insights into the contemporary waste industry and what really happens to materials once they are removed from an event, chair Ed Cook will discuss a number of challenging topics related to waste, and will help us to decide exactly where, as event organisers, we should be focusing our efforts...
 
Ed will look at the environmental impact of treating waste using a number of different methods, and the impact of litter on terrestrial and marine environments. He will ask the question why is litter bad? and will suggest ways in which event organisers can approach its management.

Finally, Ed will also revisit the much-discussed topic of recycling statistics misreporting, which damages the credibility of the industry and recycling in general.

PANEL: Plastic Seas & Campsite Chaos

Chair: Natalie Fee, City to Sea (UK)

Presenter, author, award-winning environmental campaigner, and founder of City to Sea, Natalie Fee, will be moderating thePlastic Seas and Campsite Chaos panel, which will take place on Tuesday 6 March in London.

During this panel she will take a look at the challenges events face relating to waste, and the opportunities that are available for transforming wasteful events, so that apocalyptic post-event campsite scenes, are a thing of the past.

City to Sea is a non-profit organisation whose campaigns aim to stop plastic pollution at source. Last year, City to Sea’s #SwitchtheStick campaign successfully called on all UK retailers to replace plastic cotton-bud stems with paper — a move that, in itself, will stop over 320 tonnes of single-use plastic at source, annually.

Check out Natalie’s TEDX talk on plastic pollution here.

Guest speakers include:
Rob da Bank, Bestival/Camp Bestival (UK)
James Dowdell, Raw Foundation (UK)
Adam Hall, Surfdome (UK)

GEI CLOSING DRINKS PARTY

After a day of green issues, GEI delegates can spend a couple of hours with a golden drink in their hands, courtesy of our very good friends at Toast Ale. The party will be held together with the delegates of the ILMC Production Meeting, whose event runs concurrently with GEI - it's a chance to chat, wind down, network, and have a drink.

AGF & TGEA AWARD CEREMONY

Help the events and festivals who won A Greener Festival Award 2017 to celebrate at the official award-giving ceremony that will be held during the GEI closing drinks party. Come and help us congratulate these pioneering brands who are paving the way to a greener and more sustainable industry.

To see who else will be in the room at GEI 10, click here.

Rooms 3 & 4, Royal Garden Hotel
10:00 - 18:00 | Tuesday 6 March 2018
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