IMPALA launches sustainability programme for European indie sector

IMPALA launches sustainability programme for European indie sector

IMPALA is launching a sustainability programme including a climate charter for the European trade body, overall targets and voluntary tools for members.

The programme will collectively help make the European independent music sector more sustainable. 

IMPALA’s ambition is to aim for a climate positive membership by 2030, with an interim net zero target for 2026. These targets are voluntary for members. The trade body also stressed that there is no one size fits all, as each company and country is different. Members will have access to guidance and training and will be able to use IMPALA’s voluntary climate declaration as well as other tools. 
A project to develop the first carbon accounting tool specific to the recorded music sector is also in the pipeline. The calculator will cover the supply chain as well as label activities and IMPALA is open to working with partners to ensure maximum impact. Possible collective offsetting investment options will also be reviewed. 
IMPALA’s climate charter sets out 15 commitments for the organisation. Last month, IMPALA took another step to implement its charter by asking streaming services to help assess and reduce the carbon footprint of digital music. This is one of IMPALA’s priorities set out in its 10-step streaming plan.
IMPALA’s sustainability package was put together by a taskforce initiated by Horst Weidenmüller from !K7, with Alison Tickell from Julie's Bicycle appointed as adviser, alongside a range of members including Will Hutton from Beggars Group and Peter Quicke from Ninja Tune, who made up the team presenting the recommendations to IMPALA’s board.
Horst Weidenmuller, chair of IMPALA’s task force, and CEO of !K7, said: “IMPALA’s programme means we can plan ahead, provide real sustainability options for artists and develop flexible tools for members. Acting early isn’t just a climate question, it avoids disruption and carbon taxes. Credibility is important, so we are including the supply chain. Our ultimate ambition is to be carbon positive rather than just neutral. This is what sets IMPALA’s work apart in the music sector today.”

Alison Tickell, founder and CEO of Julie’s Bicycle, adviser to IMPALA’s task force, said: “Managing carbon targets means a systems shift and IMPALA’s collective effort is the right approach. Mapping what the transition looks like whilst making sure it accommodates the range, size and national differences of the IMPALA membership is a cornerstone of success. Ambitious industry-led collaborations on this scale will not only help the EU deliver its Green Deal, they also help us all rise to the challenge of the climate crisis.” 

IMPALA’s mission is for the sector to grow sustainably

Helen Smith

Peter Quicke, co-CEO of Ninja Tune, said: “It's fantastic to see IMPALA take on a leadership role in this most important of issues. As an influential cultural industry, music must play its part in leading as well as demanding systemic change. Artists want and expect the record industry to focus on sustainability, IMPALA is helping us do that.”
Will Hutton, head of sustainability at Beggars Group, said: “Joining IMPALA’s programme will help members maximise the business benefits of acting quickly and assertively on the climate agenda, and removes the risks associated with inaction. IMPALA is sending a really positive message to all stakeholders across the record industry by encouraging systematic change.”
Helen Smith, executive chair of IMPALA, concluded: “IMPALA’s mission is for the sector to grow sustainably. Our guidance for members sets out common-sense steps that a company can take voluntarily and expand afterwards if needed. Many of the issues can’t be solved by members acting on their own, but a collective approach will make the difference. We see this programme as part of our role of being a leader and will work with all others in the sector interested in accelerating change.”
IMPALA’s task force also includes IMPALA’s treasurer Geert de Blaere from News and Belgian association BIMA, Danko Stefanovic from Balkans association RUNDA, Paul Pacifico from AIM, Sonia Duran from Spanish association UFI and Zsolt Jeges from Hungarian association HAIL, and additional input from Jacob Bilabel from Germany’s THEMA1.

IMPALA’s climate charter commits to:

1.    Hold framework for European independent music sector targets

2.    Convene and administer a Sustainability Task Force

3.    Appoint a climate advocate for IMPALA's board and each committee

4.    Develop carbon reporting tool for members, disclose aggregate statistics

5.    Transparently monitor and report own climate impacts

6.    Map and share examples of best practices across Europe

7.    Make climate literacy training available twice a year

8.    Produce guidance for members with practical tips

9.    Recognise no one size fits all, each company & country is different

10. Engage with suppliers to promote change across the supply chain

11. Work with digital music services to assess & reduce carbon footprint 

12. Explore possible collective offsetting solutions for the sector

13. Support initiatives using music & culture to mobilise climate action

14. Inform members about EU funding for climate projects, help them apply

15. Speak out where we support specific issues and use our voice in Brussels


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