Insights from A Greener Festival Training


Exploring Environmental Sustainability in Outdoor Events

Over two 3-hour sessions this online training delivered by A Greener Festival (AGF) worked with participants to develop their understanding of how to make their outdoor events more environmentally sustainable, exploring a range of key topics.

The training was primarily aimed at outdoor events organisers from the Without Walls festival network, which currently includes over 30 regional and national organisations delivering outdoor arts events and festivals. 

Each session used a combination of presentation, discussion, and practical exercises, explore suggested reading lists and resources shared in the session below. 

About A Greener Festival

A Greener Festival is a not-for-profit company, committed to helping events, festivals, and venues around the world to become more sustainable and to reduce environmental impacts. As pioneers in event sustainability since the first research in 2005, AGF provide certification, training, expertise, and facilitate the exchange of best practice. 

Programme Outline

Legal Framework and Policy
Outlining the legislation, regulation, and self- regulation. The session provides the context for current environmental practice in the arts and performance event industry. 

The materials and services we buy, hire or rent are an integral part of reducing the environmental impacts of our events. The session will also look at Ethical Procurement Policy and issues such as scenography, reusables and food will be discussed. 

Behaviour Change and Communications
Good communications about our own sustainable practices can help in changing the behaviour not only of our audiences but of all our stakeholders. We discuss examples of good and bad communications and the impact this can have on behaviour change to more sustainable practices.  

Travel and Transport
Of all the environmental impacts created by staging our live events, travel and transport creates the largest CO2e emissions. Using practical examples, we discuss a range of approaches to reduce your event’s travel emissions.  

Solid Waste and Recycling
The waste created by our events is the most visible environmental impact of all. Starting with the waste hierarchy we look at how to reduce and manage our waste streams, what happens to our event waste once it leaves the venue and examine some of the claims made by waste contractors. 

 Circularity and the Circular Event
The idea of the circular event is a recent development. We explain the principles, look at how it connects to current legislation and procurement policy discussed in the first session and provide examples of circularity in practice at live events and festivals.  

Sustainability Management and Reporting
AGF was the first to develop the criteria and reporting system for assessing and managing the environmental impact of live events back in 2006. Using extracts from our assessment criteria we take you through an exercise in assessing a live outdoor arts festival. The knowledge you have gained from the topics in both sessions will be drawn upon to evaluate your own event’s environmental impact.  

Image credits:

Mayfly by Kapow Dance Circus Theatre at Timber 2021 © Andrew Allcock