Story & Vision What We Do Trustees Partners FAQ’s

Story & Vision

ecolibrium started life as ‘Energy Revolution’ in 2015 as a festival industry response to COP21 and research* showing that travel typically causes 80% of a festival’s carbon emissions. Founding festival members include; Shambala, Boomtown, Secret Garden Party and Kendal Calling, with support and guidance from Julie’s Bicycle.

We were ambitious, aiming to work across the festival industry to raise awareness, reduce impacts, and balance 10 million ‘fossil-fuel’ travel miles with investments into clean renewable energy within 5 years.

We did it. Many of our community of over 80 members have made inspirational changes to how they do things, and balanced the equivalent of over 13 million travel miles. In the face of the climate crisis, in 2020 we decided it’s time to go up a gear.

ecolibrium aims to work with hundreds of organisations, artists and individuals to tackle thousands of tonnes of travel emissions, and invest £1m in climate solutions by 2025 – supporting ecosystem protection, regeneration and clean energy.

*Figures from The Show Must Go On (2015), a report on the environmental impacts of the UK festival industry by Powerful Thinking.


What We Do

ecolibrium works with everyone in the live events industry to respond to the climate crisis. We are a rapidly growing community of events, festivals, suppliers, artists and music companies taking action to reduce the environmental impacts of travel, the largest source of emissions from live events.

  • Travel is the largest source of emissions from live events

  • ecolibrium works with events, organisations and artists across the sector to tackle the environmental impacts of travel

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  • We provide resources, tools, advice and inspiration to reduce travel emissions

  • We invest in climate solutions through our Trees+ and Energy Revolution Programmes

  • We support our members to use their collective voice to spread the message of tackling travel impacts

  • We have worked with over 50 events and 40 suppliers to balance the carbon emissions from over 13 million travel miles.

ecolibrium provides advice about sustainable travel as well as tools and inspiration to take action and reduce impacts.

Our two core programs – Energy Revolution and Trees+ – provide options to invest in climate solutions to balance unavoidable emissions, with renewable energy and ecosystem protection and regeneration.


Trustees

Our trustees come from across the live events industry and represent and have a wealth of experience in their fields of music, sustainability, communications, branding, event production, governance and energy.

Liz Warwick

Lansdowne Warwick, Sustainability Consultant

Liz Warwick

Lansdowne Warwick, Sustainability Consultant

Liz is the owner of Lansdowne Warwick Sustainability Consultancy. She has specialised in providing environmental and energy advice since 2008 and is passionate about promoting climate change policy and reducing impacts. Liz provides advice to events, productions, business and property owners on developing and managing programmes, monitoring and evaluation, policy advice, risk management, compliance and regulations, research and analysis and stakeholder engagement. Reductions in energy and travel emissions are of particular interest and Liz has undertaken detailed research on festival travel emissions. Liz works with clients such as Cambridge Folk Festival, Fully Charged Live and Sony Pictures Entertainment to enhance environmental performance. At ecolibrium Liz leads on due dilgence processes and sustainable travel advice.

“I wanted to contribute my environmental knowledge and skills to be part of this cause that includes a lot of passionate environmental advocates. Promoting sustainable transport and reducing emissions is now a top priority in the world and ecolibrium engages, educates and connects vehicle users with the opportunity to mitigate their impacts. The reach includes a wide variety of fields in the entertainment, event and venue sectors. The balancing of travel emissions by investing in low carbon projects is a valuable contribution.

Chris Rutherford

Chris Rutherford

Boomtown, Co-founder and Director

Chris Rutherford

Chris Rutherford

Boomtown, Co-founder and Director

Chris co-founded the award-winning Boomtown Fair, an event at the cutting edge of the festival experience, both in scale and imagination. Part festival and part ongoing immersive theatre, each year Chris and the team create a city of wonderment at Boomtown with intricate stages and streets brimming with theatre, escapism and community.

Chris is committed to making Boomtown sustainable – they have been working with Energy Revolution for the last three years to tackle audience travel emissions and they are a Vision:2025 festival – pledged to aim to half their CO2 impacts by 2025.

“ecolibrium provides us with the tools, confidence and communications to work with our audience and suppliers to balance travel emissions. “ Chris Rutherford, Director at Boomtown.”

Alison Tickell

Alison Tickell

Julie’s Bicycle, CEO

Alison Tickell

Alison Tickell

Julie’s Bicycle, CEO

Alison established Julie’s Bicycle in 2007 as a non-profit company helping the music industry reduce its environmental impacts and develop new thinking in tune with global environmental challenges. Julie’s Bicycle works with music festivals, performing and visual arts communities, heritage and wider creative and cultural policy communities, defining the contributions the arts should be making to climate and sustainability challenges.

Originally trained as a cellist, Alison worked for many years with socially excluded young people at Creative and Cultural Skills where she established the National Skills Academy for the music industry. She is a 2012 London Leader, Advisor to Tonic Theatre, judge on Observer Ethical Awards, Royal College of Arts Sustainable Design Awards, D&AD White Pencil Awards, and a fellow of the RSA.

Trustee: Ben Robinson

Ben Robinson

From the Fields, Company Director

Trustee: Ben Robinson

Ben Robinson

From the Fields, Company Director

Ben is the Company Director of From the Fields. Promoters, festival organisers and creative minds behind Kendal Calling, Bluedot, Off the Record, Electric Fields & Bournemouth’s Arts by the Sea. Having grown Kendal Calling from a 900 capacity conceptualisation to a 25,000 capacity multi award winning festival over the last ten years, Ben and the From the Fields team have not stopped adding to their portfolio with innovative, imaginative and ground breaking shows.

“For years I have been looking at practical and well researched ways to make a direct impact and ecolibrium  have nailed this. The team behind it have the relevant experience in the field, literally, and also the drive to create a movement for change. That’s a rare and bold thing in life.”

TomSmallwood

Tom Smallwood

Chai Wallahs, Director

TomSmallwood

Tom Smallwood

Chai Wallahs, Director

As Director of renowned festival venue ‘Chai Wallahs’ and former Director of artist booking agency ‘Diplomats of Sound’ Tom brings a wealth of experience from the live events and music industry to the board. Having recently completed a Masters in Environmental Management, Tom is well placed to introduce ecolibrium to artists, agencies and music companies to help them account for, reduce and balance their touring emissions.

“The festival, event & music industry is full of people who acknowledge and care about the impacts of climate change and want to take positive and meaningful action. ecolibrium’s Trees+ programme provides a platform to take concrete and positive action with that care & intention.”

Ed Gillespie

Ed Gillespie

Ed is a writer, communications specialist, serial entrepreneur and futurist. He co-founded Futerra, an internationally renowned change agency that specialises in business transformation and creative campaigns – including work on award-winning corporate sustainability initiatives. Ed is a seasoned sustainable traveller – he circumnavigated the globe without getting on a plane and wrote, ‘Only Planet – a flight-free adventure around the world,’ a book about his 381 day, 33 country, 45,000 mile trip. He is also, along with fellow futurist Mark Stevenson, one half of ‘The Futurenauts’ who do talks, live stage shows and a popular podcast.

“I’ve worked on climate change for the best part of two decades and I love the fact that ecolibrium takes a really, positive and creative approach to tackling what is almost always an event’s biggest environmental impact – the travel miles generated by eager punters getting there!”

Graham Brown

Brown Fox Comms, Director

Graham Brown

Brown Fox Comms, Director

Graham was invited to join ecolibrium in 2018 having met other trustees through his role as brand advisor for ecolibrium’s founding organisation, Powerful Thinking, and realising the positive impact the charity could make around transport emissions in the festival and event sector.

Graham has over two decades in events media and PR, supporting sustainable initiatives and creative event industry communications, through his consultancy Brown Fox Comms. He supports organisers and suppliers to strategically connect their brands with their clients, stakeholders and to build communities.

The event sustainability space is a creatively innovative one, as the world seems to be taking more notice and realising that it’s really important that we urgently take responsibility for the wellbeing of our natural environment. ecolibrium has a pro-active group of trustees who embrace the opportunity to inform the ever-changing dynamic of carbon reduction in the area of audience and artist transport. I’m delighted to be a contributor as a trustee to increase the reach and effectiveness of the charity.

Graham MacVoy

GMC Events, Managing Director

Graham MacVoy

GMC Events, Managing Director

Graham began his events career planning and delivering pro-snowboard and extreme sports events in the Alps, working with major brands such as Nike, XBOX and Oakley. Since then, he has expanded the GMC Events’ portfolio to include events of all sizes, from global sailing events to four-day music festivals and city centre arena shows.

I am passionate about the environment and how we as an industry can reduce our carbon footprint. A large part of my work is on site design, particularly with power, to reduce the impact these large scale events have on the planet. ecolibrium provides a perfect solution to help balance the travel of all the equipment to get to and from the site, something that to date has been outwith my control. I see this as a crucial next step in the process. ecolibrium’s work is not just to balance travel but also to raise awareness of the impact we as an industry are having. By encouraging companies to log their mileage and be more aware of what they are doing will make a huge difference in the long term.

Chris Johnson

Shambala Festival, Co-founder and Sustainability Lead

Chris Johnson

Shambala Festival, Co-founder and Sustainability Lead

Chris is Co-Founder, Operations Director and Sustainability lead of Shambala Festival as well as ecolibrium CEO. He has spent 17 years pioneering green initiatives that tackle food sourcing, plastics, energy, travel and wider environmental impacts at events. He has has written and collaborated on many resources that support festival organisers tackle their environmental impacts, and has key roles in a number of industry initiatives including: Environmental Consultant at Kambe Events, co-founder and Chair of Powerful Thinking and Associate for Festivals and Events with Julie’s Bicycle.

“After writing the Show Must Go On Report (Powerful Thinking, 2015), it was very clear that a key part of a road map for the events industry to become more environmentally sustainable was travel, it accounting for around 70%+ of the industry footprint. I co-founded Energy Revolution, now ecolibrium,  to provide the festival community with ways to make better choices and take action.”

Wayne Lee

Wayne Lee

Wayne is an ACCA qualified accountant with nearly 30 years experience in the profession, starting in practice before moving into industry with both SME’s and large multi-national companies, within different sectors. In 2019, he studied sustainability with Harvard Business School online, to further his understanding within this area, knowing that finance can play an important role in this critical issue.

 

Music has been a massive part of my life, both as a fan and musician and live music is especially precious to me (yes, i still have every ticket!). I’m involved with ecolibrium due to a real interest in how the music sector can help, with this critical climate emergency. Music and how we can protect this planet, are two of the most important things to me and it’s a real privilege to be involved with this fantastic charity.

Cassandra Frey-Mills

Festival Operations & Licensing Consultant

Cassandra Frey-Mills

Festival Operations & Licensing Consultant

Cassandra has worked on the operational side of a wide range of festivals since 2013, including Boomtown, Shambala, Standon Calling, Bluedot and Truck. Her roles at these events have given her direct experience of the challenges in tackling the carbon footprint of event-related travel emissions. However, she also sees an active commitment from within the industry to reduce the environmental impact of events and works hard to ensure this translates into real-world changes. Cassandra became involved with ecolibrium after working with ecolibrium to support sustainable travel at Standon Calling in 2015.

 

I’ve always been proud to be part of an industry passionate about making real, collaborative change. Working at numerous festivals each year, I see first-hand the work put in by many events to tackle the impact of travel emissions. It’s great to be actively involved, with so many experienced colleagues, working to find actionable solutions to often complex problems; that can only be a good thing for the industry and the wider environment.”

Partners

Rainforest Trust
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Forest Carbon
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The Schools Energy Cooperative
The Schools Energy Co-operative
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Electric Buses with The Big Lemon
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The Converging World
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Bristol Energy Co-op
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Solar PV Systems & Biomass Heating 
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Wind Turbine at Alvington Court 
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Solar panels on school roofs with Solar for Schools
Solar for Schools
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FAQ’s

Q. Is carbon balancing a valid approach?

A. The short answer is yes, if done as a secondary action to account for ‘unavoidable emissions’ whilst on an active journey toward lower carbon travel, and if the climate investments are valid and verifiable.

The long answer is that there are valid criticisms of carbon offsetting or ‘balancing’ such as: it gives a social licence to those who intend to continue ‘business as usual’ and who can afford to ‘pay to pollute’. On the latter point, we believe that wealthier nations and companies do need to invest in a sustainable future on behalf of all humanity – global inequality is a significant barrier to progress.

On the point of effectiveness, European Commision research[1] concluded in 2017 that 85% of offsetting initiatives under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)[2] simply haven’t delivered the carbon benefits they claimed. The EU are currently abandoning this mechanism. There were a number of problems (1) It did give polluters globally a mechanism to ‘pay to pollute’, (2) which activities delivered climate benefits wasn’t defined well enough and (3) projects were not regulated adequately. Well-intended, but ultimately it didn’t work.

However, it does not translate that planting trees responsibly, protecting forests, or investing in clean energy, does not deliver measurable climate and nature benefits – it does. Fact. So let’s get on with what needs to be done.

Our commitment is to balancing unavoidable emissions, after taking action to reduce emissions. Our investments in climate solutions are transparent and have clear  benefits – our UK woodland investments are regulated by the UK Woodland Carbon Code and come with carbon offset certificates, and every kWhour from our renewable energy investments replace fossil-fuel energy generation.

Our approach is simple, transparent and robust:

We work with members to help them calculate and understand travel-related carbon emissions and we support them to take action to reduce these impacts. Whilst on this journey, we offer the option to balance unavoidable emissions in two ways:

  1. Forest protection, planting and community investment through the Trees+ programme
  2. Renewable energy investments through the Energy Revolution programme

We are a registered UK Charity with excellent governance standards and industry leaders as trustees. We work with established and inspirational partners, and we undertake in-depth due diligence on behalf of our members and report back on the impact of our investments annually.

We believe that a lack of understanding, or concerns about how offsetting has been done badly, should not prevent anyone from investing in a sustainable future, we are here to support members to take responsible and effective action.

Q. Shouldn’t we just wait for legislation or technology to change?

A. No, the reality is we can’t afford to – everyone in society must actively take steps toward reducing emissions. We must all adapt to managing our businesses with less environmental impacts.

Projects like ecolibrium exist in part because of the relative vacuum of government action or economic drivers toward sustainable practices. The Governments own Committee on Climate Change (CCC) concluded in Summer 2019 that: ‘UK action to curb greenhouse gas emissions is lagging far behind what is required, even to meet previous less stringent emissions targets. Over the past year, the government has delivered just one of the 25 critical policies needed to get emissions reductions back on track’[3].

We believe we must come together as an industry to show leadership and take action in the areas we are able.

The music industry is orientated around live events & shows (although we acknowledge the challenge that Covid-19 presents for live events in 2020) and this represents a considerable percentage of emissions and sector income. Recording artists are not likely to stop touring in future and festivals, concerts and events will not cease to exist, so we believe the pragmatic and positive approach is to work with the sector to inspire more sustainable approaches to travel and investment into climate solutions.

Q. What does the term ‘unavoidable’ emissions mean? 

A. We view unavoidable emissions as those that an organisation considers essential to operate whilst on a journey toward reducing their travel-rated carbon emissions. As a charity we do everything within our means to provide knowledge and inspiration to everyone in the events and music industry to reduce travel emissions.

Q. Why are the costs for balancing emissions different for Energy Revolution and Trees+ programmes?

A. The costs are different for mitigating a tonne of carbon for each programme because they are completely different activities. A full methodology is provided on the programme pages.

Q. Do you have any other questions or thoughts? Tell us if we can do better

A. We welcome your questions and ideas. We are a charity founded by leaders in the live events industry to take responsibility for and tackle our industry’s impacts. We take what we do seriously, have excellent governance, and the expertise that is required to do things right. But there is always more to learn, as contexts change and new ideas emerge, so please tell us what you think and how we can do things better.

Contact ecolibrium


[1] Source: https://ec.europa.eu/clima/sites/clima/files/ets/docs/clean_dev_mechanism_en.pdf

[2] The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is one of the Flexible Mechanisms defined in the Kyoto Protocol (IPCC, 2007) that provides for emissions reduction projects which generate Certified Emission Reduction units (CERs) which may be traded in emissions trading schemes 

[3] Reducing UK emissions: 2019 Progress Report to Parliament (UK Committee on Climate Change,  July 2019) – https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/reducing-uk-emissions-2019-progress-report-to-parliament/