Some research undertaken by Julies Bicycle, a UK based organisation who have collected data from numerous events and festivals, has identified the travel that the audience undertake to get to an event as having the largest impact on the environment, over 70% of an events total emissions are produced this way. Green Chief believe this is one of the areas that requires most innovation in tackling, especially with the large distances particular to australia and the strong live-in vehicle culture embraced by festival attendees.
Often large amounts of data need to be gathered over several years in order to assess the true environmental impact of an event or festival. Green Chief Sustainability can help in the gathering and analysis of this data, especially transport and emission related. A typical transport audit records data such as numberplate, amount of people in the car, type of car and point of departure. From this it is possible to ascertain the amount of carbon equivalent emissions produced and from there either offset, gain insight to future transport initiatives, or offer a voluntary offset (with good publicity, about 40% of attendees take this option). The transport audit also takes into account production transport and artist transport to gain an overall figure which can then be reduced year on year.
The management of a scheme that allocates tickets to coach and rail schemes by retaining a portion of tickets (10% or 20% to start) and including travel must be set up in an organised way and include incentives such a prime camp spots or access to already erected tents/tepees/Biomes, an on-site bottle shop, provision to carry extra camping gear (such as trailers) and a drop off zone close to camping areas. All these considerations should be taken to address the audiences most common concerns (will I be able to camp with my friends? can I leave the event when I want?) and are effectively dealt with by festivals such as Bestival and Island Vibe (both located on islands and include ferry transport). Peats Ridge festival provide a luggage carrying service from the nearest train station for attendees who are prepared to cycle to the event.
Car Sharing & Public Transport
If time and manpower resources are low then the next best initiative is promoting car-sharing through links on your website and providing similar incentives for cars that turn up with three or more seats taken.Public transport should be publicised and promoted before, during and at the end of the event with shuttle bus services and coach pick-up points located in easily accessible areas and timetables posted in obvious areas. Again, a reward whilst waiting for these services (icy poles, a shady spot or a cup of tea) make the attendees feel good about their choice to lessen their impact on the environment.
If the reward system is not deemed a good enough incentive then a penalty, usually in form of a charge or fine, can alter habits. A car parking charge where the money goes to green issues (offsetting, land regeneration) can have a big impact0-often a 50% reduction- on the amount of traffic experienced at the site. This charge must be anticpated by the attendees and as such, be promoted via marketing materials and the website. There should also be an option when purchasing the tickets to buy car parking in advance and an explanation of where the charges go should be provided to prevent a negative backlash. Cost savings can be made in this way from providing less land and staff for car parking.
On Site Vehicles
The use of sustainable transport on site, such as bicycles or electric buggies, can be implimented fairly easily and usually results in cost savings on fuel and a reduction in air pollution. Another quick win is instigating, and policing, a no-idling policy for on-site transport. Modern cars use less fuel to start the engine than 30 seconds or more of idling. And finally, promoting the use of public transport or car sharing to crew,as well as having set times for re-supply trips can minimise emissions and maximise work time.
Depending on the programming of an event, the artists transport can have a significant impact on total emissions. Are artists making a special trip to the site or is is part of a national tour which has been organised with destinations in mind? Do any of the artists have to fly to the event or use a helicopter? Will tour buses be running to generate their own electricity or can bio-fuel generators be provided instead?