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Green Leader Q&A #39: Zofia Plonczak, Sustainability Lead at Junction 2 Festival

Zofia has been working in event operations for over 10 years across a number of small, medium and large scale festivals and venues. Her journey with event sustainability started during first COVID-19 lockdown when she could not sit still and decided to upskill herself in sustainability management amongst other areas of interest. She has been working closely one of her long-term clients Junction 2 Festival on a 3-year journey toward Net Zero published in their recently launched sustainability report for 2023.

1. What is the proudest sustainability achievement or moment of your career?

Establishing a 3-year Net Zero strategy for Junction 2 Festival alongside Chris Johnson.

2.  What was your worst ever sustainability-related decision, project or initiative and why?

Introducing reusable cups at a festival without appropriate cooperation between bars, cups and waste suppliers. A number of cups could not be accounted for with big financial and (potentially – we don’t know!) environmental impact.

3.  What are you excited about implementing this year?

Setting goals for impact reduction following our first ever impact measurement carried out in 2023.

4.  Which environmental issue do you most care about?

Biodiversity loss

5.  What sustainable change have you made in your personal life that you are most proud of?

Cut down on my air travel by 50% in 2023 by opting for train journeys between my home in the UK and my hometown in Poland.

6.  What do you read to stay in touch with green issues?

Following the right people on Linkedin

 7.  What is the most memorable live performance in your life?

Elton John at Glastonbury last year.

8.  Was there a moment you committed to taking action on climate change?

I started introducing sustainability initiatives at the events I was working for back in 2017. The first time I took active part in direct action was in 2019 XR blockade of Waterloo Bridge and other London locations.

9.  What are the most important issues to tackle at your event?

Reduction of carbon footprint across the board.

10. What do you think is the most significant challenge for the events industry becoming more sustainable?

The temporary nature of them.

11. Can you share something sustainable from another artist or event or company that inspired you to make a change?

The circularity approach of DGTL Festival. We talked to them a few years ago as part of planning our event and it was a very eye-opening hour.

12. What is the secret to your sustainable success?

Top management buy-in. Nothing succeeds without it.

13. Tell us something you feel positive about right now that relates to the environment

Small-scale actions we take at the community level, where I live in Dorset. This weekend nearly 40 of my neighbours (and friends of the village) are getting together to plant trees. Again!

14. Tell us a book, film or recent article you feel others should watch/read and why about positive change?

‘Local is Our Future’ by Helena Norberg-Hodge. The concept of local economy and community is particularly close to my heart since I have moved to a small village in Dorset four years ago where a lot of people in our community share those values. It had a hugely positive impact on my health (both physical and mental), connection with nature and belief in action on small scale.

15. Can you give people new to sustainability in events a top tip?

Don’t be intimidated by the task ahead of you – it may seem like a minefield full of greenwash traps, but there is an incredible wealth of reliable sources and people to help you navigate sustainability management.

16. What is the favourite festival moment of your career?

I keep typing and deleting and retyping. There were so many but I think completing egress on my first Event Manager festival job in 2016 is right up there 🙂

17. What habit or practice has helped you most in your personal journey in life?

I’m a very methodical person – I have a habit of unpacking issues, putting them in a spreadsheet and creating a timeline plan of tackling them.

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 my own household more renewable and circular step by step!

19. Will we save the world?

We have no choice.

20. What would your sustainable superpower be?

Capitalism Destroyer.


Follow Zofia on Linkedin and find out more about Junction 2 Festival

This Q&A originally appeared in our January 2024 Vision: 2025 newsletter. Sign up to receive monthly event sustainability news, case studies and guest blogs direct to your inbox.