This month Andy Fryers answers our 20 Industry Leaders Questions. Andy joined Hay Festival as Sustainability Director in 2007, having worked in a voluntary capacity for the Festival since 1995, and has helped them become genuinely pioneering in their sustainability practices. He sits on the board of Brecon Beacons Tourism and since 2008 has run a consultancy business, EqualState, which undertakes sustainability related projects both in the UK and abroad.
1. What is the proudest sustainability achievement or moment of your career?
Running the first public waste-recycling scheme in the Maldives in 2010.
2. What was your worst ever decision, project or initiative and why?
Not asking for help soon enough for a major project that almost broke me and my family.
3. What are you most excited about implementing this or next year?
Redesigning what we do and how we operate both digitally and live, utilising the lessons of COVID-19 and applying them with a sustainability filter.
4. Which environmental issue do you most care about?
The Climate Emergency
5. What change have made in your personal life that you are most proud of?
I find life is an ever-evolving series of changes, some better than others.
6. What do you read to stay in touch with green issues?
Eco-business, Positive News, and Ethical Consumer.
7. What is the most memorable live performance in your life?
July 1998 Jools Holland in Thetford Forest, East Anglia – this was the first major music event I was responsible for and the pre-cursor for the annual Forest Live series.
8. Was there a moment you committed to taking action on climate change?
Yes. In 1994 at a seminar launching Rescue Mission Planet Earth, A Children’s Edition of Agenda 21.
9. What is most important issue to tackle at your event(s)?
Reducing the impact of transport.
10. What do you think is the most significant challenge for the events industry becoming more sustainable?
Bringing human desire within planetary boundaries
11. Can you share something about/from another event or company that inspired you to make a change?
Experiencing the integrated approach of The Eden Project and how everything pulls together for a common goal.
12. What is the secret to your sustainable success?!
Not having secrets – share your knowledge and learn from others.
13. Tell us something you feel positive about right now
It’s early, the sun is shining and I have a new day to learn from my mistakes.
14. Tell us a book, film or recent article you feel others should watch/read and why?
“From What Is To What If – Unleashing the Power of Imagination to Create the Future We Want,” by Rob Hopkins – read it and you’ll know why I’m recommending it. And, “#futuregen – Lessons from a Small Country,” by Jane Davidson
15. Can you give people new to sustainability in events a top tip?
Start with the low-hanging fruit but aim high, oh and don’t sweat the small stuff.
16. What is the favourite festival moment of your career!?
Watching 200 Maldivian young people dance their socks off to DJ Ravin on the former dictator’s private island, given to us to run Hay Festival Maldives.
17. What habit or practice has helped you most in your personal journey in life?
Being a realistic optimist – hope for the best but know that doesn’t always work out and it often takes hard work to make it happen.
18. Is there anything new you are planning for the future that you can tell us about? Even a hint!
It’s global and it’s digital…
19. Will we save the world?
See answer to Question 17…
20. What would your sustainable super power be?
Knocking sense into people.
Follow Andy Fryers on Instagram and Twitter @AndyFryers
This Q&A originally appeared in our October 2020 Vision: 2025 newsletter. Sign up receive monthly event sustainability news, case studies and guest blogs direct to your inbox using the form below.