About the Green Events Code of Practice
The Green Events Code of Practice development has been led by the Vision: 2025 group, with extensive consultation across the outdoor live events industry during 2022. It is intended to establish best practice, provide clear and robust minimum standards, and shared targets for sustainability, understood and adopted by all stakeholders across the outdoor festival and events industry – event organisers, local authorities and supply chain.
The Code of Practice represents a science-based approach, aligned with existing frameworks and initiatives – global, national, and sector specific – see FAQs for the full list.
Development of the Code has been financially supported by the Purple Guide Grant Fund (managed by the EIF), the Association of Independent Festival’s (AIF), Festival Republic and Superstruct, and is supported by LIVE, the trade body for the UK music industry and the Local Authority Event Organisers Association (LAEOG).
The code is currently a working draft. Further consultation is underway, and work is ongoing with local authorities to understand the use cases and implementation.
Why is it needed?
In the absence of legislation or recognised minimum shared standards for event sustainability, it is important that we, as an outdoor events sector, step forward together to create shared targets and standards that meet the challenges of the climate crisis.
Local authorities are increasingly creating standards and requirements for events as part of licensing, funding, in-house policy and site permissions processes. A key aim of the Green Events Code is to create consistent expectations across the UK for event organisers, licensing authorities, Safety Advisory Groups, and local authorities.
Where did this come from? A brief history
The DCMS Select Committee on The Future of UK Music Festivals recommended in a report (May 2021), that “the Government, the Local Government Association and representatives from across the festival sector develop standardised environmental objectives that local authorities must adopt when licensing festivals”.
The Government response to the DCMS recommendations was published in August 2021:
The Government agrees with the Committee. The Minister for Digital and Culture made clear when giving evidence to the Select Committee that she believed it “is very important that local authorities make sure that they include strict environmental measures within their licensing framework”.
Discussion at the Vision:2025 industry steering group meeting 06.10.21, concluded broad agreement amongst industry stakeholders that:
- including environmental standards in arrangements between local authorities and event organisers is in principle a good thing for the environment, because it could promote a shift in practices in the sector, however;
- there is a risk of there being a ‘lottery’ of standards and enforcement if it were left to Local Authorities to create standards and enforce them, as many currently do not have the expertise to determine or monitor environmental standards.
- the success of the Purple Guide offers a good precedent for how the events industry is capable of establishing best practice, with government endorsement.
- Irrespective of the current context, creating a Green Events Code of Practice is a practical and potentially effective step that the industry can take to improve standards across the value chain by establishing top-level shared principles that relate to and apply to all stakeholders and;
- This work is symbiotic with the recent LIVE Green Vision and Declaration for the wider music industry, supporting the aim of every organisation taking responsibility for measuring and reporting emissions.
A Draft Green Events Code of Practice was prepared in late 2021, and has undergone 10 months of industry consultation, via online surveys, an industry roundtable meeting, and presentations to LIVE, the DCMS, UK Music, IoL, LAEOG.
The Green Events Code [Beta] officially launched as a ‘working standard in development’ at the Sustainable Events Summit, 19th October 2022.
Work is underway to engage further with all stakeholders to understand how to implement the code most effectively. It is a journey, and it will take some time. A key part of this work will be to understand the support and resources organisations of all types require to meet the standards and work with the Code.
Over the next year, we will work with the Local Government Association (LGA), LAEOG and the IoL to develop an adoption strategy for local authorities. As part of this, the Green Events Code will be piloted as a standard with local authorities in all the regions – England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
We aim that the Green Events Code of Practice be ready for wide-scale adoption by early 2024.
In time, the code will have a dedicated website with all partners credited, and the ability to join the Green Events Code of Practice for events and local authorities. However, this is not intended to be a pledge or ‘badge’ / certification of any kind – rather a collaborative effort to establish clear standards and stimulate clear best practice for a better future.
There are several key work streams ongoing:
- A partnership with the Donut Assessment Tool for Events (DATE), a tool which is being piloted with the Green Events Code to provide an accessible and affordable method for local authorities to assess community impact, accessibility and sustainability.
- Local Authority Pilot Project – see expression of Interest form here.
- Engagement with developing standards for a UK protocol for the assessment of live event impacts
- Publishing an environmental sustainability best practice supplement of The Purple Guide based on the Green Events Code
- the Green Events Code of Practice offers a set of standards and targets to work toward. We recognise that events vary in type, size, frequency, location and resources – every journey is different, and particularly, smaller and community events need support to make changes.
- there are existing initiatives, frameworks and standards for event sustainability, such as ISO20121, the Race to Zero, and the Net Zero Events Pledge. The Green Events Code of Practice has been designed specifically by and for the UK outdoor festival and events sector, as a practical step toward establishing standards that are sector-specific and practically implementable.
- there are well-establish assessment tools and services that can support events to improve their practices, such as Trace, Creative Green and A Greener Festival. The Green Events Code of Practice is not an assessment or certification.
Get Involved, fund or find out more
- Get in contact to find out more
Q. I’m already signed up as Vision: 2025 member and taken the pledge – what do I do?
A. All the 2025 targets remain valid and align with those in the Green Events Code. There is no need to ‘sign up’ to the Green Events Code. Carry on with the good work!
Q. We are a small organisation with limited resources – how will this affect us?
A. We are working with industry bodies who represent smaller and community events to understand what resources you need to support any changes. All our resources will be free to access
Q. Elements of the Code don’t relate to my business activity or event – what do I do?
A. That’s OK. The Green Events Code is a guide and it cannot apply in every detail to every event. Identify the elements that do apply to your event and work on those.
Q. Is this just another industry initiative based on voluntary actions that ultimately won’t change anything?
A. No, it isn’t an initiative to sign up to or make a pledge, primarily. It’s important to understand that there is no realistic prospect in the short term of legislation that pertains to event sustainability. In the absence of this, the Green Event Code is a concerted effort to establish standards that are environmentally credible, workable for events and widely adopted.
Q. If this is adopted by local authorities as part of the licensing process, could it be yet another requirement in an already demanding process?
A. There are two key points here: (a) Local authorities across the UK are already putting in place requirements that relate to event sustainability. The Green Events Code intends to create consistency across the UK for what event will be required to provide, a significant benefit to event organisers and for those engaged in tenders, and (b) The Green Events Code will not be one of the four licensing objectives under the Licensing Act (2003) and as such a licence cannot be denied – it’s more a case of best practice. It’s more likely that site permissions will require proof of standards, which is where the Green Events Code can become a common language and recognised standard.
Do you have a question we have not answered? Great! Get in touch – this is a journey and we want your feedback email email@example.com