Coldplay stop touring to save the world: is pop music going sustainable?

coldplay

Coldplay concert in Seoul, South Korea (Jisu Han, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Robin Pomeroy, Journalist, World Economic Forum


  • Coldplay will stop touring for the foreseeable future in an effort to be more environmentally sustainable.
  • Rock concerts and music festivals generate waste and carbon emissions.
  • Fans traveling to concerts generate one-third of the carbon emissions of a typical concert, while the concert venue generates another third.

They’re one of the biggest stadium-rock bands in the world, but Coldplay will not be touring for the foreseeable future, as they seek to make their concerts less environmentally damaging.

“We’re taking time over the next year or two to work out how can not only our tour be sustainable but how can it be actively beneficial,” lead singer Chris Martin told the BBC at the release of the band’s new record, Everyday Life.

Rock concerts and festivals may be joyous celebrations of music and togetherness, but they generate a serious carbon footprint and mountains of trash. After their last album, Coldplay performed 122 shows on five continents.

“Our dream is to have a show with no single use plastic, to have it largely solar powered,” Martin said, adding: “We would be disappointed if (the next tour) is not carbon neutral.”

“The hardest thing is the flying side of things.”

Rock stars’ jet-setting is not the biggest cause of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Green Touring Network, a German organisation that aims to improve the environmental performance of live music. While band transport produces less than 10% of total emissions, the carbon emitted by fans travelling to and from gigs accounts for a third. Another third is emitted at the venue itself.

Carbon footprint of a tour
Transport, accommodation and the venue are the main sources of a gig’s greenhouse emissions.
Image: GreenTouring

Coldplay are not the first band to examine their carbon footprint. In 2008, Radiohead – vocal campaigners for climate action – said they were trying to make their tours ‘eco-friendly,’ choosing, among other things, to perform at venues accessible by public transport.

Most recently, Billie Eilish said she would reduce the environmental footprint of her world tour next year by, among other things, banning single-use plastic and ensuring the availability of recycling facilities. The singer, who will be 18 during her Where do we go tour, also plans to install an ‘eco-village’ at each gig where audience members can learn about the environment.

With more than 40 million followers on social media, her calls to action, including this YouTube video, will not go unnoticed.

Eilish is following in the footsteps of veteran blues singer Bonnie Raitt, whose Green Highway tours include environmental awareness booths.

To green-up her own tour, Eilish is working with REVERB, a consultancy set up to build on the work started by Raitt, which has also worked with artists including Dave Matthews Band, Jack Johnson, Maroon 5, John Mayer and Barenaked Ladies to improve their performances’ environmental performance.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

European Youth Forum @ European Business Summit 2014: European Youth Unemployment

The sad plight of fledging doctors

Why feeding the planet doesn’t have to mean sacrificing our forests

One for all? Are physicians prepared to deliver care to the LGBTQIA+ community?

Children in crisis-torn eastern Ukraine ‘too terrified to learn’ amid spike in attacks on schools

Who really cares about the 26.2 million of EU jobless?

Does the West play the Syrian game in Egypt?

UN chief welcomes ‘first concrete step’ in normalizing Eritrea-Ethiopia relationship

It’s time to fulfil the promises made to women 25 years ago

Jade Spring Meeting 2017 – day 2: Coporate workshops, general assembly and magna moment

From Grexit to Brexit: UK industry now says the in/out referendum is good for your health

Rising landmine blast toll in Afghanistan highlights long-term care needs of survivors

Paris, Rome, Brussels and Frankfurt to confront Berlin over growth and the Athens enigma

Changing world of work needs new jobs strategy

UN expert condemns new sentence for jailed Venezuelan judge as ‘another instance of reprisal’

CO2 emissions on the rise for first time in four years, UN agency warns

Number of MEPs to be reduced after EU elections in 2019

Gains by Abyei interim force can help advance resolution of border issues between Sudan and South Sudan, UN peacekeeping chief says

Entrepreneurship in a newly shaped Europe: what is the survival kit for a young Catalan and British entrepreneur in 2018?

Syria: Urgent, concrete actions needed, to protect children too young to ‘make sense of this senseless war’

Mergers: Commission approves Varta AG’s acquisition of Energizer’s divestment business, subject to conditions

German elections: Is Merkel losing ground or Shultz is winning?

Risks rising in corporate debt market

Get off the path of deadly emissions, UN chief Guterres to urge in key climate change speech

Will the three major parties retain control of the new EU Parliament?

International tourism arrivals hit record high in 2017, UN agency reports

‘Cataclysmic events’ in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, began ‘global push’ against nuclear weapons says Guterres, honouring victims

There’s a new global technology race. It needs better trade rules

Latest leaked TTIP document confirms EU sovereignty may be under threat

New UN report shows record number of children killed and maimed in conflict

Children of ISIL terrorists likely held in ‘secret detention facilities’, UN human rights office warns

A Sting Exclusive: “Climate change and youth inaction: oblivion or nonchalance?”, AIESEC wonders from Brussels

‘Business as usual’ will not achieve global education goals

Uneven progress on climate action at Bangkok conference

9 climate tipping points pushing Earth to the point of no return

Nigeria: Armed conflict continues to uproot thousands, driving up humanitarian need

Brazilian officer a ‘stellar example’ of why more women are needed in UN peacekeeping

At last some rules on banks

This woman changed the world of work – and you’ve probably never heard of her

New SDG Advocates sign up for ‘peace, prosperity, people’ and planet, on the road to 2030

EU budget for 2019: do more for the young, SMEs and the climate, urge MEPs

EU is not only obsessed with Facebook but also blaims now innocent websites using social plugins to serve democratic dialogues?

Business leaders join UN to rev up sustainable development investments

MEPs agree on new rules to tax digital companies’ revenues

UN and African Union in ‘common battle’ for development and climate change financing

At UN, youth activists press for bold action on climate emergency, vow to hold leaders accountable at the ballot box

EU and UK soon to be in a post-Brexit rush over free trade agreement with Australia

Venezuela: MEPs demand free presidential elections and an end to repression

UN standing with Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique as Southern Africa death toll from deadly cyclone mounts

How venture capital can transform global health

MWC 2016 LIVE: Qualcomm looks to pick up Hamilton’s winning ways

Marginalized groups hit hardest by inequality and stigma in cities

Anti-vaccination movement affecting youth in Europe

Boom in Artificial Intelligence patents, points to ‘quantum leap’ in tech: UN report

UN forum spotlights cities, where struggle for sustainability ‘will be won or lost’

Erasmus+ 2021-2027: more people to experience learning exchanges in Europe

Sustainable development funding is broken. Here’s how to fix it

The EU cuts roaming charges further while the UK weighs Brexit impact

Climate change brings a host of other risks for businesses

Car bomb attack on National Police Academy in Colombia, ‘strongly condemned’ by UN

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s