As world leaders spent much of last year preparing for COP26, sustainability issues became an even more crucial issue for the music industry, including plans to go carbon negative. Here, Beggars Group CEO Paul Redding reveals how labels can play their part in 2022...
There was never a more important year for action on the climate crisis than 2021. As world leaders spent much of it preparing for COP26, momentum on sustainability issues within the music industry had been building at pace. There’s a lot to be optimistic about.
Alive to the work that must be done, independent labels have made a wave of assertive sustainability ambitions. During Earth Week in April, Beggars launched our own plan to become ‘carbon negative’ by the end of 2022, and to halve all emissions by 2030. We were accompanied by Ninja Tune and, more recently, German label !K7 Records with similar projects.
The hard work of actually reducing emissions has begun in earnest. There’s a lot that record companies can achieve in a short space of time; installing renewable capacity at offices, switching to renewable energy tariffs, tweaking the design of physical products and reducing business travel will all offer quick carbon reduction returns. Beyond this, our industry needs to address the innovation gap in the way we produce and distribute music.
We need more pressing plants adopting renewable energy. We need innovation in how physical products are created. We need digital service providers to share data on the impact of digital music. Above all, we need collaboration from all partners involved in the creation and distribution of music.
We’re making progress towards our goal of halving emissions by 2030, on an annual basis
To this end, industry associations like AIM and IMPALA have made huge progress in convening labels and distribution companies to discuss sustainability. IMPALA are developing an open-source carbon calculator tool that will help all labels measure their carbon footprints in a simple way.
In many ways, record companies are late to the game in all this. Musicians have been speaking and writing about climate issues for years and with increasing conviction over the last 12 months. More than 3,000 artists have now signed Music Declares Emergency’s declaration calling for more ambitious action on the climate crisis. Musicians are powerful agents of change and the greatest opportunity that record companies have is to empower artists.
At Beggars, we’re making progress towards our goal of halving emissions by 2030, on an annual basis. To take responsibility for emissions we can’t yet reduce, we’ll work with Murmur, which helps arts organisations to fund the most immediately impactful projects.