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Tue 22 Jul 2008 11:33 AM

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Big steps - small footprint

As awareness of environmental issues reaches a peak, there’s a 'green revolution' taking hold in the music industry.

As environmental awareness reaches its peak, there’s a ‘green revolution’ taking hold in the music industry – artists, labels, manufacturers and event managers are promoting responsible methods in a bid to do their part to stop further environmental degradation.

Bands like Radiohead have changed their touring practises to help them reduce their environmental footprint. For their current world tour the band has transformed their entire operation – from lighting design to the fuel being using for their transportation requirements.

The band is running a 100% LED lighting system to reduce their carbon emissions, as well as working with venues to use less disposable materials and increase on site re-cycling efforts; and they are using sustainable goods such as organic cotton and 100% recycled plastic for the tour merchandise.

To achieve their goal of reducing their environmental impact and become “carbon neutral” they are fuelling tour vehicles with biodiesel fuels and have introduced alternative transport initiatives for fans to cut down emissions created from their travel.

While many artists can holistically adopt a ‘green approach’, most corporations have to be convinced of the financial rewards in order to find such reasoning.

But, as support from artists and their fans continues to escalate, the industry is beginning to see a real shift in attitude with several major companies making significant changes in their business practices.

Musicians such as Pearl Jam, Jack Johnson, R.E.M and The Dave Matthews Band have for years pioneered with environmentally sustainable measures. It seems the push from such artists is now finally rubbing-off on the music industry causing it to self-examine itself.

It is encouraging to note that well-known labels like Smog Veil Records and even Warner Records are now taking charge and working with eco-friendly practises.

Surely with more pressure from musicians and consumers, who campaign on behalf of the environment and urge the industry to be accountable, more companies, big and small, will heed the call and make significant changes to their business approach.

As it stands, the music industry and the environment are at a crossroads. If every band, label, manufacturer, venue and promoter adapted just one ‘green initiative’ – collectively they could change the face of the industry and ensure its longevity, but more importantly preserve the environment.

Kelly Lewis is the editor of Sound & Stage Middle East.