Philip Hellberg is one the founders of the non-profit SNNTG; an association that voluntarily organise the annual SNNTG festival, and other events around Hanover, Germany. Their aim is to make art, culture and music tangible and to work with local people and unconventional ideas. SNNTG was featured in the Future Festival Tools project for its work in reducing car travel by incentivising public transport and arrival by bike. You can read the case study and here all about Philip’s journey in event sustainability in our monthly Q&A:
1. What is the proudest sustainability achievement or moment of your career?
Developing our own sustainability concept and sharing it with others.
2. What was your worst ever sustainability-related decision, project or initiative and why?
Separating the waste before, during and after the festival. It didn’t work out, all the rubbish was put back together in the end!
3. What are you excited about implementing this year?
We will calculate the CO2-footprint of SNNTG festival this year, in cooperation with another festival from Augsburg. The next step will be to calculate the CO2-footprint of our other smaller event, such as the one-day open air events in the city of Hanover we run.
4. Which environmental issue do you most care about?
Recycling & circular economy
5. What sustainable change have you made in your personal life that you are most proud of?
Mindfulness with myself and the environment.
6. What do you read to stay in touch with green issues?
7. What is the most memorable live performance in your life?
Ben Howard at the Admiralspalast in Berlin
8. Was there a moment you committed to taking action on climate change?
Not a concrete moment, but it was strengthened by watching Greta Thunberg’s conviction and seeing how many people took to the the streets to demonstrate for the climate.
9. What are the most important issues to tackle at your event?
Festival-arrival by car.
10. What do you think is the most significant challenge for the events industry becoming more sustainable?
Sourcing vegan and local food; reducing car travel and trash.
11. Can you share something sustainable from another artist or event or company that inspired you to make a change?
Great conversations with the St. Gallen Festival about their sustainability strategy.
12. What is the secret to your sustainable success?
Staying inspired by the internal motivation of the team around me.
13. Tell us something you feel positive about right now that relates to the environment?
People are more and more aware of their impact on the planet.
14. Tell us a book, film or recent article about positive change you feel others should watch or read and why?
Eckhart Tolle – The Power of Now. It’s about finding the connection to yourself, people around you and nature. In my opinion, personal change is key for a sustainable, long-term change in the society. When you understand the impact on yourself and the things around you, it’s harder to continue actions that have negative impacts.
15. Can you give people new to sustainability in events a top tip?
Check your transport and food offers: supporting less cars and less animal products onsite is a great step forward.
16. What is the favourite festival moment of your career?
Arriving at the campsite of every festival I’ve ever been to.
17. What habit or practice has helped you most in your personal journey in life?
Becoming more aware of the insight and outsight world. [Outsight is the ability to see beyond yourself and your individual perspective. While insight is the ability to see and understand things within yourself].
18. Is there anything new or exciting you are planning or changing for the future that you can tell us about? Even a hint!
Making arriving at the festival by bicycle an event itself – making it a fun part of the festival experience to leave the car at home.
19. Will we save the world?
Of course, otherwise nobody will be able to go surfing anymore!
20. What would your sustainable superpower be?
To be able to change human mindset.
Follow Philip on LinkedIn
This Q&A originally appeared in our April 2023 Vision: 2025 newsletter. Sign up to receive monthly event sustainability news, case studies and guest blogs direct to your inbox.