Each July sees the return of boutique arts and music festival, Latitude, to Henham Park, Suffolk, for three days of eclectic music, comedy, cabaret, contemporary art, theatre, ballet, literature, poetry and film.
Latitude has been committed to sustainability since starting up in 2006 and was one of the first festivals to pilot Industry Green, assisting the development of the certification.
The festival achieved 1 star Industry Green for the 2010 event and has a reduction strategy in place to achieve 2 stars in 2011.
Results from their 2010 report showed just a 0.33% increase in emissions from 2009 to 2010, indicating a stabilisation in the festival’s overall emissions, a small increase fo 2% in emissions from energy use, and a 30% recycling rate of total waste (47 tonnes).
Latitude is produced by Festival Republic, the powerhouse behind a portfolio of some of the UK’s most iconic major festivals and best-loved boutique-festival experiences, from Reading and Leeds to the Electric Picnic in Ireland and Hove in Norway. Festival Republic was an early adopter of sustainability, employing one of the first dedicated sustainability managers - Meegan Jones - who has since published the definitive Guide to Sustainable Event Management drawing on her expertise managing the festivals.
Festival Republic’s Sustainability policy is updated annually and overseen by a Sustainability Coordinator working across the festivals. Staff are provided with targets and strategies both operationally and for communicating to audiences, staff, volunteers and suppliers.
Working with suppliers
Contracts issued to certain suppliers included some regulation on sustainability matters; for examples traders and caterers were only allowed to use biodegradable cutlery, and bars could only serve drinks in reusable pints. Guidelines and sustainability initiatives were distributed to all traders, caterers, sponsors and artists via email, info sheets and the Green Republic intranet site. Meetings are also held with suppliers pre- and post-event to discuss progress and future goals. The Sustainability Coordinator is also responsible for overseeing the operations of suppliers during the festival.
Latitude also does its utmost to keep its audience informed and engaged with environmental initiatives on site during the festival. The Green Latitude section on the website outlines the festival’s commitments to environmental sustainability, and the expectations it has of audiences to be environmentally responsible.
In 2011 Latitude will also launch the Green Attitude Prize Draw which encourages audience members to compost and recycle waste, travel to the festival by public transport, take home tents and camping gear and donate unopened food.
For 2010 information stalls, green posters and interactive displays were put up on site and green messenger stewards were appointed to communicate sustainability initiatives and assist festival-goers adhere to them. Artists and performers were also briefed on sustainability at events and encouraged to participate in the various education and training campaigns happening during the festival.
Some of Latitude’s initiatives in 2010 included:
- Reusable beer cups deposit scheme - punters paid £2 for a Latitude-branded beer cup, which was refunded when they returned the cup to one of the festival bars. There were also containers where festival goers could drop their cups if they wanted to donate their £2 deposit to charity, and many people chose to keep them as souveniers. Each cup can be washed around 100 times.
- Separate waste bins were available for compostables, recyclables and landfill and green messengers were on hand to make sure people threw their rubbish in the right bin.
- Campers were encouraged to take their gear home with them.
- Campers waste kits were handed out for people to be able to sort rubbish into correct waste bags at their tent pitch, and were provided with clear guidelines of what can and can’t be recycled.
- Sustainable travel was promoted on the Latitude website with public transport options and a Go Car Share scheme.
- All food packaging on site was biodegradable. Many traders had plates, bowls and trays from BioPak products made from waste material from the sugarcane industry, which would otherwise be land-filled or incinerated.
- Audiences were encouraged to bring and accumulate less stuff through the promotion of 20 minute film, The Story of Stuff: www.storyofstuff.com
Festival Republic has incorporated a reduction strategy for Latitude Festival 2011 into its event planning, which includes targets for increasing waste vegetable oil biodiesel use, increasing recycling and composting, and reducing the overall impact of audience travel.