Call 2: Working sustainably internationally

SELECTED - Offset the damage and learn about alternatives.

What aspect of sustainable international work concerns you?

What can a band do when passion, economics and the environment exist in mutually exclusive relationships?


As music is intangible, we often forget that it too leaves an imprint on our environment, and that the fashion, technology or energy industries are not the sole culprits. Besides the considerable emissions brought about by streaming music, touring and concerts are proving to be a significant strain on the environment. In an era in which the environment has become an undeniable socio-political concern, touring, concerts and festivals are valuable experiences, yet unwarrantable. Or so we might think. To stop touring all together seems to be the only ethical response towards a burning world, in which all of our consumption has the potential of inducing guilt. Yet, whilst Coldplay can afford to not tour, smaller bands need live performances for exposure, as interacting with the audience is the only way a real profit can be made, and a reputation established. Artists and record labels get less than half of profits made from online streaming of their music and, accompanied by a reduced consumption of CDs, concerts seem to be the only lucrative option. But what can a band do when passion, economics and the environment exist in mutually exclusive relationships? For Musicians, Festivals and Venues have to green their concert events while engaging fans face-to- face at shows to take environmental and social action. Strategies include helping artists to implement basic measures, such as the elimination of single-use water bottles from events, or more complex changes such as encouraging bands to use biofuels in their tour buses. Artists have to understand that a lack of awareness of sustainability is clearly a problem at every stage of the event – before, during and after. Endeavours such as these demonstrate a movement towards offsetting further damage without compensating culture. Whilst music events will never be 100% zero waste or carbon emission-free, rarely anything we do can be. Even the fact that our regular streaming of music on Spotify can be linked to carbon emissions expresses the demoralising awareness that all we can do is reduce, not eliminate. Instead, these events and concerts should encourage environmental mindfulness. Venues are transformed into places of entertainment as well as education, teaching the festival-goer about manageable behaviours that make us just a bit kinder towards the world we live in. Let us do our best to offset the damage and learn about alternatives, rather than restrict culture and enjoyment in fear. An environmental conscience should become part of the festival and concert experience, allowing music and nature to thrive.

How can your idea or proposal have an impact on international practice within or with Flanders and Brussels and beyond?

My idea will have an impact on international practice by making sure we encourage environmental mindfulness for a healthy environment for the artists and fan and the awareness that all we can do is reduce, not eliminate.

Do you have the time to commit to online meetings with an international working group on a regular basis (e.g. monthly) starting in May 2021, for a period of max. 1 Year?




Do you have access to a stable internet connection for online meetings?


What time zone are you in?

EET-Eastern European Time-UTC +2

Which languages do you speak and understand?

Engels, Andere

Contact details

Xolani Mdawe