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Live Earth's maiden event met its goal in restraining carbon emissions to 19,708 metric tons, while of the 97 metric tons of waste collected, 81% was diverted from landfills via recycling and composting efforts.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Los Angeles (October 25, 2007) -- Following a ten-week audit, Live Earth has issued final report on the energy reduction and waste diversion efforts surrounding its worldwide concerts held this past July. Live Earth's maiden event met its goal in restraining carbon emissions to 19,708 metric tons, while of the 97 metric tons of waste collected, 81% was diverted from landfills via recycling and composting efforts.
The results of the report confirm the efficacy of Live Earth's "Green Guidelines," posted on its website, www.LiveEarth.org, which offer practical advice for organizers of future large-scale events, whether musical concerts, cultural gatherings or sports competitions. The report, written by Live Earth with assistance from L.A.-based Brand Neutral, has been issued as Live Earth transforms from a one-time event into an organization that seeks to leverage the power of music and integrated entertainment to combat climate change. This report also arrives on the same day as the highly anticipated report by the United Nations Environment Program, which warns that "there is now 'visible and unequivocal' evidence of the impacts of climate change," with rising temperatures approaching "a threshold beyond which the threat of major and irreversible damage becomes more plausible."
EXPLORE THE LIVE EARTH CARBON ASSESSMENT & FOOTPRINT REPORT HERE.
In planning Live Earth, its founder Kevin Wall explains that it was not enough to "talk the talk" in raising awareness about global warming. "From the start we were committed to making the concerts themselves low-impact events and to a high level of transparency and measurement in conducting a thorough report." Wall hopes that Live Earth not only "set the bar high for ourselves, but hopefully has set a new watermark in sustainable event production for the industry at large."
On July 7, 2007, Live Earth brought together 150 musical artists with close to two billion fans, in person and through broadcasting the 24-hour, 7-continent concert series across television, broadband, radio and wireless platforms. Official concerts were staged at eight venues: Giants Stadium near New York, Wembley Stadium in London, Aussie Stadium in Sydney, Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, the Coca-Cola Dome in Johannesburg, Makuhari Messe in Tokyo, the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai, and HSH Nordbank Arena in Hamburg.
The events varied in size, from roughly 3,000 people in Shanghai to over 50,000 in New York and London to hundreds of thousands on the beach in Rio. Planning the concerts, and the sustainable event production surrounding them, began in the fall of 2006, nearly ten months out. The Live Earth Green Team began by conducting a wide-ranging "carbon footprint assessment," a scientifically grounded estimate of projected energy and resource consumption. In a lengthy and all-inclusive data collection process, the team interviewed Live Earth participants globally -- from performing artists to venue staff, construction crews to back-office personnel.
This meticulous process not only led to a thorough recognition of emissions and waste sources, but also a systemic spirit of collaboration. Based on their data collection, and with broad support from the U.S. Green Building Council, The Climate Group and creators of the LEED Green Building Rating System, the Live Earth team created an industry first: a set of "Green Event Guidelines" and "Green Artist Guidelines." The former identified three primary areas in which an event organizer has the greatest control and potential impact: energy reduction, sourcing of sustainable materials, and waste diversion. Live Earth sought to maximize the purview of its responsibility, defining the event's broadest footprint. Its scope encompassed its headquarters, production team, production contractors and subcontractors, venue operations, artists, broadcasters and audience travel (which accounts for the largest portion of emissions and waste at any event). It excluded areas where control was clearly out of their hands, such as hotels, merchandise manufacturing, sponsor programs, NGO travel, concessionaire transport, and activities by television/radio/Internet audiences. While the single most important decision made was to hold most concerts during daylight hours, the Green Team also understood that small decisions would add up to create a significant impact.
Along with the actions of thousands of Live Earth employees, contractors, artists and their staff, concessionaires and vendors, a half a million concertgoers would also have to do their part, bringing conscious decision-making to everything from alternative transportation to recycling. Strategies were also adapted to fit the specific needs and opportunities inherent in each venue, rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach. Key strategies, prior to and through the 7/7/07 concerts, included:
- Install energy-efficient lighting in headquarters/production team/contractor offices
- Use video and teleconferencing instead of travel, whenever feasible
- Design stage with LED or discharge lighting; adjust stadium/facility energy management systems to eliminate unnecessary lighting; procure green energy, as available
- Run generators on neat or blended biodiesel
- Take advantage of natural air circulation (e.g., London/Tokyo) to reduce air conditioning
- Produce signs from agro-materials; use bio-based inks and VOC-free paints; donate signs/banners for reuse (e.g., in South Africa, for example, banners went to a rural township to make sunshades for school playgrounds)
- Set up extensive recycling/composting to divert waste from landfills
- Use biodegradable plastics/recyclables at concessions; tailor menus to reduce packaging
- Book local/regional artists and those already on tour to reduce airline travel; encourage artists to fly commercial (e.g., all told, less than 1% traveled on private charter planes)
- Use alternative-fuel buses/tour vehicles, fleet of fuel-efficient cars
- Produce merchandise locally, as feasible, using organic or bamboo fibers with agro-inks
- Encourage/educate audiences about mass transit (e.g., in Hamburg and Sydney, fare for public transportation was included in the concert ticket price)
- Establish incentives for carpooling (e.g., in Johannesburg, for example, preferred parking was given for cars with three or more; through a unique partnership with Evite, local carpools were facilitated online)
On June 26, after most strategies had been planned and put into place, Live Earth produced a final pre-event estimate of 18,526 metric tons of carbon emissions. After the event, Live Earth completed a carbon assessment following the principles set forth in The Greenhouse Gas Protocol: A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard, a publication of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Resources Institute. It calculated gross carbon emissions, both for the concert day itself and throughout its ten-month planning and execution process.
The greatest area of carbon emissions was audience travel where, typical for live events, a great majority (87%) of emissions were generated by almost one million people who attended the concerts in person. Attendees nonetheless heeded the show's message. In Shanghai and Tokyo, more than three-fourths of the audience rode public transportation. Even in the New York region, where the concert took place at the relatively remote Giants Stadium in the New Jersey suburbs, an unprecedented 23% of attendees chose to ride trains and buses to the venue, thanks to a strong partnership with local transit authorities. While 99% of its musical artists chose commercial airlines for required flight, for ground transportation of artists Live Earth partnered with Smart car for a fleet of vehicles, and economical Bluetec and E-Class Mercedes fueled exclusively by biodiesel and ultra-low-sulfur diesel.
Live Earth also generated an estimated 97 metric tons of waste. Appx. 79 tons (81%) was diverted from landfills through recycling and compositing, with Tokyo reaching 99% (organic waste there is incinerated to produce energy). Even in the city generating the most waste, New York, only 6.2 tons went to landfills of the 25.9 tons created, representing a 76% diversion rate. Given that the most significant component of waste is related to food/refreshments concessions, a corps of Live Earth volunteers and staff supervised collection stations at most concerts, ensuring that recyclables were sorted apart from organic compostable material and trash. In light of the consciousness-raising nature of Live Earth, concertgoers played a critical role in taking action to make sure these efforts were successful.
On average, each of Live Earth's stadium concerts emitted between 300-400 metric tons of carbon as a result of the events themselves. This includes activities of the production team and contractors, but excluding artists and audiences, which accounted for an additional 900-4,500 tons, varying by venue depending on the size of the audience, the availability of non-automotive transit and the catchment area of each event. For future benchmarking of live stadium events which adopt similar energy-saving measures, Live Earth suggests using 300 tons for production and 1,000 tons for audience and artist travel. From the start, Live Earth placed its primary focus on reduction, efficiency and measurement. For residual energy usage that could not be reduced through conservation, Live Earth is now in the process of seeking the most effective projects to support through carbon offsets, such as the UN's Clean Development Mechanism. Carbon offsets fund the development and use of clean, renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, water, hydrogen, bio-mass and geo-thermal.
While well-intentioned, offsets have not been without critics. New York Times columnist Bob Morris griped about "green-standing" by corporate entities who, like a used-car huckster, hype a shiny veneer of environmental responsibility to drive brand loyalty while hiding a corroded, business-as-usual heap beneath. Fox News commentator Sean Hannity derides the hypocrisy of credits that can be bought like church indulgences. "It's okay if Learjet liberals fly around in private jets," scoffs Hannity, "because they buy carbon offsets." The debate about carbon offsets should define credible projects with additional, quantifiable and certifiable impact in fighting climate change. Individuals, businesses and organizations should only evaluate offsets once internal efficiency and reduction efforts have been implemented. "Some say we could have done more with less, that our method was antithetical to our message. Frankly, you can only reach so many people standing around a campfire singing 'Kumba Ya'" says Live Earth's Kevin Wall. "Our goal was to educate and inspire billions of people worldwide to take action, and while that effort generated carbon emissions on one day, those impacted by this event have been motivated to reduce their energy use every day."
As Live Earth extends its mission to raise awareness and educate the world's citizens about the climate crisis. It is currently shepherding 60 short environmental films to film festivals in the U.S. and worldwide, helping bring entertainment to forums (e.g., the upcoming UN Conference in Bali) where music can be joined with its message, and developing an on-campus program to educate and inspire the next generation to instill the virtue of climate protection. A DVD compilation of the Live Earth shows, as well as the best short-subject films, is also currently being released by Warner Bros. Home Video.
ABOUT LIVE EARTH Based in Los Angeles, Live Earth is an organization that seeks to leverage the power of music and integrated entertainment to combat climate change. On July 7, 2007, Live Earth held the largest global entertainment event in history, staging simultaneous concerts in New York, London, Sydney, Tokyo, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg and Hamburg, as well as special broadcast events in Antarctica, Kyoto and Washington, DC. The day featured more than 150 musical acts -- a mix of legendary artists like The Police, Genesis, Bon Jovi and Madonna with the latest headliners like Kanye West, Kelly Clarkson, Black Eyed Peas and Jack Johnson. Through TV, radio and the Internet, the concert reached an estimated two billion people. Live Earth's 24 hours of music across seven continents delivered a worldwide call to action and the solutions necessary to answer that call. With this maiden event, Live Earth has launched a multi-year campaign to drive individuals, corporations and governments to take action to solve the climate crisis. Live Earth is partnered with former Vice President and recent Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore and his Alliance for Climate Protection. Live Earth was founded by Kevin Wall, CEO of Control Room, the company that produced the concerts globally. Exclusive online media partner MSN is helping Live Earth reach people in every corner of the globe. Official Live Earth concerts were streamed live at http://liveearth.msn.com. MSN's 39 localized web portals worldwide attract 465 million monthly users. smart is the world's only automaker serving as an Official Partner. Unlike any other vehicle, the new smart fortwo combines a modern, individual lifestyle with environmental protection by setting the standard in urban mobility and offering the lowest CO2 emission of any vehicle on the market. smart responds to environmental demands with innovative, technologically sound solutions and as a result produces positive and credible answers to the question of ecological driving. Philips, as the world's leading lighting supplier, joined Live Earth as an Official Partner. Philips was the first to introduce the energy saving light bulb in 1980 and has put environmental product improvement at the heart of its business with its EcoDesign program since 1994, increasing its green product range year by year. Stonyfield Farm, an official partner of Live Earth, is the world's leading organic yogurt maker. Stonyfield donates 10 percent of its profits to environmental causes; was America's first manufacturer to offset 100 percent of its CO2 emissions from its facility energy use; and recently installed the largest solar array in New Hampshire to help power its production plant -- all efforts to reduce global warming. It has also launched Climate Counts, a non-profit bringing consumer and companies together in the fight against climate change. Climate Counts scores well-known companies to help consumers buy and invest from companies that take climate change seriously. Live Earth partnered with companies on a local level who share the commitment to helping people live a more energy efficient lifestyle. PepsiCo, an Official Partner of Live Earth, is committed to making a difference with eco-friendlier packaging, energy and water conservation and waste reduction. It's all part of PepsiCo's commitment to Performance with Purpose -- to do better by doing better. Esurance, the direct-to-consumer personal auto insurance company, joined Live Earth as an Official Sponsor and is the latest extension of Esurance's efforts to conserve energy and preserve the planet's precious resources. For more than seven years, Esurance policyholders have helped save thousands of trees by buying their auto insurance online and using electronic documents. An official partner of Live Earth, The Absolut Spirits Company, Inc., a subsidiary of V&S Group, produces and markets Absolut® Vodka, Levelâ„¢ Vodka, FrÃ¯sÂ® Vodka, Plymouthâ„¢ Gin and Cruzan® Rum. The Absolut Spirits Company focuses on reducing the impact on climate change, sustainable agriculture and optimizing use of natural resources as mandated by V&S Group. To view details on the company's efforts to combat global warming, visit www.vsgroup.com and click on "Corporate Responsibility/Environment." Intelsat, the leading provider of fixed satellite services worldwide, is the official satellite capacity sponsor to Live Earth, providing the global high definition infrastructure for an unforgettable viewer experience. Intelsat connects the planet to Live Earth through its network of 52 satellites and global terrestrial facilities. For more information, visit liveearth.org.