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It’s no coincidence that Coldplay will be making its first appearance in Costa Rica with the “Music Of The Spheres World Tour” on March 18, 2022. Their show at the National Stadium is sold out. Howler’s friends at Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter, have informed us that the multiplatinum British band have created a comprehensive set of sustainability and regenerative initiatives addressing global issues regarding environmental and social concerns. 

It’s the first time that a band of this caliber has created its own mandate in the hope of inspiring fans and paving the way for other bands to do the same. Costa Rica historically has been at the forefront of confronting climate change through programs such as renewable energy. 

“This is why we’re starting the tour in Costa Rica, where 99% of power mains are renewable,” lead singer Chris Martin said. 

Coldplay has pledged to do the following:

  • Reduce consumption, recycle extensively and cut CO2 emissions by 50%, and work with partners and suppliers to reduce their impacts and emissions wherever possible. For remaining CO2 emissions, the band is creating a carbon fund for the drawdown of carbon via nature- and technology-based solutions.
  • Support new green technologies and develop new sustainable, super-low carbon touring methods. Make the tour as environmentally beneficial as possible by funding a portfolio of nature- and technology-based projects and by drawing down significantly more CO2 than the tour produces.
  • Adapt tour operations to minimize emissions, in line with the best science and practices: from set build to travel to freight to power. Avoid fossil fuels and use clean energy and sustainable biomaterials wherever possible.

In 2019, Coldplay commissioned a team of sustainability experts to investigate the band’s environmental impact and carbon footprint. This has helped to identify the key areas where the musicians can avoid, reduce and mitigate our carbon emissions. 

Using the previous stadium tour as a baseline, they have set themselves a science-led target of 50% reduction in their CO2 emissions using the ‘absolute contraction’ method. They will continue to capture climate impact data and calculate an accurate environmental footprint using the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol Framework and appropriate conversion factors.

Despite best efforts, the tour will still have a significant carbon footprint. Coldplay members pledge to draw down more CO2 than the tour produces by supporting projects based on reforestation, rewilding, conservation, soil regeneration, carbon capture / storage (DACCS) and renewable energy. As part of this pledge, the tour will fund the planting — and lifelong protection of — millions of new trees, including one tree for every ticket sold. 

 

  • Power the stage production almost entirely with renewable, super-low emission energy.  The band will avoid fossil fuels wherever possible. Install solar tiles in the build-up to each show, on the stadium floor, outer concourses and on the stage. 

 

  • In partnership with BMW, Coldplay has developed the first ever mobile, rechargeable show battery – made from recyclable BMW i3 batteries – which will power the show with renewable energy.

 

  • A kinetic floor will be installed in and around the stadium so that the fans’ movements can be converted into energy and help to power the show. Electricity-generating power bikes are being installed so that fans can choose to actively charge our show battery.

 

Travel considerations

 

Although the Coldplay tour has been carefully routed and pre-planned to minimize air travel, some flying is unavoidable. The band will mostly fly on commercial flights, but there will inevitably be occasions when charter flights are required for band, crew and equipment.

 

For all flights, commercial and charter, they will pay a surcharge to use or supply sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), either for our own use or for others’. SAF is made from renewable waste materials and can reduce emissions from air travel by up to 80% over the fuel’s life cycle, compared to standard aviation fuel.

 

Wherever possible, electric vehicles or biofuel will be used for ground freight and transportation.

 

Coldplay will also send a sustainability rider to all venues and stadiums in advance to request best environmental practices. In various locations, to minimize freight emissions, they will adapt the show design so that local equipment, materials and resources can be used.

 

The LED wristbands worn by the audience as part of the show will be made from 100% compostable, plant-based materials. They will reduce wristband production by 80% — by collecting, sterilizing and recharging the wristbands after every show. The electronic components will be repurposed for wristbands to be used in future tours.  

 

Gamut of tour details

 

The show will upgrade to ultra-efficient equipment such as low-energy LED screens, laser and lighting system, and a PA system with up to 50% less power consumption compared to the previous tour. This will also dramatically reduce environmental noise outside the venues.

 

Even the confetti used during the show will be 100% biodegradable and will require significantly less compressed gas for ignition than on previous tours.

 

They are also using a new generation of sustainable pyrotechnics that have less explosive charge and new formulas that greatly reduce or eliminate harmful chemicals. All tubing and holders are either biodegradable or recyclable.

 

Coldplay has partnered with SAP software on the development of a free tour app that encourages fans to use low carbon transport to and from shows. Fans who commit to low-carbon travel will be given a discount code.

 

Coldplay has covered everything from water to waste, reuse to recycling and food to merchandising. Other issues being addressed include reforestation, soil health, rewinding and ocean conservation — in the latter instance through an alliance with Howler’s friends at Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

 

The band will be working with Green Nation, Live Nation’s sustainability platform, as a special artist advisor to ensure that the sustainable practices developed on this tour are shared, adopted and scaled throughout the rest of the industry.

 

During this time of global tumult and turmoil, it’s inspiring and refreshing to see that real change often happens through the arts. For many readers who aren’t fans of Coldplay, we have just found a list of why you should become one. 

For more information visit: https://sustainability.coldplay.com/

Photo by @jamesmarcushaney

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