All Blog posts by Chris Johnson


Green Tips for Indoor Events

When considering green initiatives for an indoor event, event organisers can often think they are limited by the event space.  But as with all steps into sustainability it is about making incremental changes and improvements, event by event.

  • Choosing a venue

The Green Tourism Award  website is a great starting point for finding a ‘green’ focused venue. The award
system extends to event spaces and conference facilities.
For your hotel listings,  you can recommend delegates stay in Green Tourism awarded venues.

Check that a venue is located within easy reach by public transport.

  • Influencing Transport choices

CO2 Impacts

A full direct coach has a lower CO2 impact than a train so organising coaches for delegates is a good option.carbon footprints











Make public transport and walking easy

By including all public transport options makes it easy for your guests to choose these over grabbing a taxi. Organise walking taxis, highlight local bike hire options, bus stops and routes from train stations .

  • Menus

    Set minimum standards for the venue or event caterers. such as Fairtade, local and sustainably sourced. Request reusable serveware and ask how they manage their food waste. (read more on our 5 tips to reduce the carbon impact of meat)

  • Low energy options


LED lighting uses significantly less energy than traditional lighting options. For temporary event lighting LED par cans use a 1/3rd less energy than traditional par cans; last for 50,000 hours instead of 1,000; can change colour and require less infrastructure (dimmers, mixing desks etc), so all in all they cost less.

Bike & People Power   

For something a bit quirky and power-free, look for bike powered generators these are readily used for indoor cinemas as well as for live music events. A good example is Reaction Bike Power . There are even dance floors that generate energy such as the Sustainable Danceclub. 

  • Hire in & be creative

Rather than building bespoke stands with limited use, can you be creative with hired in equipment? Focal Point Marketing & Events Focal Point Marketing & Events explained how original spaces can be developed using standard exhibition infrastructure mixed with low-impact materials and creativity.

  • Look for a lifecycle analysis

There are lots of products that claim to be ‘eco’, ‘bio’ and sustainable, but often this can be ‘green wash’ so ask suppliers or do a bit of research to find a lifecycle analysis. These are particularly useful in comparing single-use items. Here are some examples: Reusable vs Disposable Cups and The Lifecycle of KeepCups.


  • Measure your impact

Whether you are making changes or not, measuring your event impacts will give you a bass line for future events. This will give you an understanding of where you can make changes. Things to measure include: audience travel, contractor transportation, energy usage water usage for event.

These can be recorded to give an indication of the events carbon footprint using the Julie’s Bicycle Creative IG Tool

More Support

If you would like to know more about managing the environmental impact of your event, developing a procurement policy then look at our consultancy packages or drop us an email and we can develop a bespoke support package.

Carolina Faruolo  - The Surplus Supper Club - 036a06f6-0dcb-11e3-bb9a-7606b0b1d62a - small

Five Tips to Reduce the Carbon Impact of Food at Events

Green house gases (GHG) including carbon and methane are generated throughout the lifecycle of food from growth, production, transportation, packaging, processing and distribution.

Food is a core part of most events and the quality and provenance can reflect on the event. Although the carbon footprint of food is harder to quantify than energy and audience travel, there are choices that can be made to limit the impact of menus, traders and caterers, whilst improving the quality, flavour and also saving money.


  • Choose local in-season ingredients for menus or provide traders and onsite caterers with a local supplier list, seeking out small-scale producers and farmers.
  • Where possible choose local traders and caterers, or have a quota who are locals. (This is also great for improving your event’s reputation within the area by bolstering the local economy).


  • For all the items that don’t grow locally (tea, coffee, sugar, chocolate) the Fairtrade certification includes environmental standards to reduced CO2 and pesticide impacts, as well as supporting small scale farmers.  See this inspiring video


A recent Chatham House report estimates 14.5% of the global green house gas emissions can be attributed to livestock which is more than the transport sector.

When we recognise that all factory production requires energy, heat and raw materials it makes sense that the more processed a food is the higher it’s carbon footprint is.  For example frozen peas have a higher carbon footprint to fresh peas.

A UK study (EPIC-Oxford cohort study) of diets found that green house gas emissions were two times lower in plant-based dairy-free vegan diets than meat diets.

Reduce the quantity served lunch_buffets-320x320

  • Place meat at the end of a buffet after all the salads and carbohydrates.
  • Serve a mezze-style menu rather than a traditional meat and two veg option.

Choose lower impact options
Compare the carbon impact of some common food items in these charts:

  • Wrap Resource Map – Click on the Grocery sector Map for information on 50 grocery items.
  • Friends of the Earth – Page 12 has a carbon footprint chart. Page 20 has advise for festival organisers.

Get some inspiration for recipes and changing menus:


Wasted food creates methane (at least 20 times greater global warming impact than CO2)  if it ends up in landfill;  to say nothing of all the carbon created in the growing, production and transportation of the raw materials.

  • Give caterers and traders realistic figures, so they don’t over cater.
  • Reduce plate and serving spoon sizes to avoid excessive portions


The aim is to avoid food ending up in landfill.

Salvaging Good Food

  • For festivals, there are organisations such as Eighth Plate who collect food and cook it up.
  • For daytime events, it is important that food has not been served or put out in order for a local charity to collect it.

Responsible Disposal

  • Arrange for a collection to go to a compost or anarobic digestion facility. The Food Waste Network and Gather can both link you up with local collection agencies that are relevant to your event.

More Support

If you would like to know more about monitoring your carbon footprint,  managing traders and greening your events; then look at our consultancy packages or drop us an email and we can develop a bespoke support package.


Do You Know Where Your Event Waste Goes?

Were you aware that the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 require all business to apply the waste hierarchy when discarding items of waste:

  1. Prevention
  2. Reuse
  3. Recycle
  4. Recover
  5. Dispose

To improve recycling rates and limit the amount of waste going to landfill, the regulations were also updated in January to include a legislative focus on source segregation, so that ‘waste collectors must collect waste paper, metal, plastic and glass separately’.

But do you know that your waste management company is upholding this, and recycling your event waste? and what happens with your segregated waste once it leaves site? 

There is a simple way to check, and that is to request the waste transfer notes, which identify where the waste has been take. By law, a waste collection company must supply these.

So how can you know if the place that your waste has been deposited was the best local option?

It makes sense to check in advance where your waste can be taken to in the local area

So here is an overview of some of the methods of waste processing:

Ideal Processing Plants for recycling

MRF- Materials Recovery Facility = these do vary greatly in their capacity so worth checking what they will recycle and the costs per tonne.

Composting (Look for PAS100) – Food waste and often cardboard and wood serveware – check in advance to see what can be processed.

Anaerobic Digester (Look for PAS110)  – Can take food waste and toilet waste

Processing plants for recovery

  • R1 (high efficiency) incinerator – Burning materials means more raw materials have to be sourced
  • Anaerobic Digester (NOT PAS110) – Can take food waste and toilet waste
  • Composting (NOT PAS100) – Food waste and often cardboard and wood serveware – check in advance to see what can be processed.
  • MBT- Mechanical-biological treatment

Processing plants for Disposal

  • Incinerator – no energy is extracted during this process
    Landfill – compostable/biodegradable items should not be placed in landfill because they create methane which has a 20-25 times greater impact on climate change than CO2

 What can you do before your event?

Investigate the local options and understand what waste streams they can take and how they will receive them- cardboard food boxes and wooden forks with food waste, mixed plastics etc.

Work with your waste contractor to ensure you know your waste will be managed how you expect to fit with your environmental policy and targets.

Want to know more?

This information comes from a forthcoming guide commissioned by the Bristol Festival Forum and written by Ed Cook from Resource Futures. The guide will be launched in September and will include a document to send to waste contractors to gather the relevant data including waste transfer notes. It will mean you can complete a carbon report or the Julie’s Bicycle IG tools, which we highly recommend as a way of understanding the carbon footprint of your event.


Business Green Week

Last June was Bristol’s Business Green Week (BGW). This sounded like a great opportunity for us in the Bristol office to engage our tenants and contractors in some of the fun elements of being Green, and challenge those who think they are pretty Green already (after all we spend  lot of time suggesting how other people can be green).

What the week involved

As many people in the building are getting ready for the festival season it wasn’t practical to follow the suggested BGW programme so instead we suggested people made personal pledges. These ranged from

  • Go veggie or vegan
  • Go packaging free
  • Give up hot drinks- according to Which magazine, on average a kettle uses the same amount of energy to boil a litre of water as it takes to run a fridge for about seven hours

To kick-start the week off and get everyone engaged, we hosted an all vegetarian tenants lunch provided by the Surplus Supper Club, a caterer that uses food that would otherwise be wasted by the food industry. We also asked everyone to bring along a plate and cutlery to avoid the need for disposables.

Tools for gardening and litterpicking, were made available for offices to go and get stuck in to Portland Square Gardens as the council can no longer afford to maintain the flowerbeds. The news of our endeavours soon spread across the square and another local festival office, Boomtown came and joined us (working in events, litter is always something close to our hearts).

The benefits of the week

The week provided a great way to get the team feeling connected, but it also re-engaged people with their personal choices, around packaging, diet choices and dependency on electricity. It was also important in connecting people with the local environment and we are now talking with the local residents committee in making the gardening a regular activity with the potential to engage other local businesses.

This activity will now become a regular weekly/monthly activity.

And what does this have to do with festivals?

In our consultancy work we talk with a lot of events that aspire to engage their audience with more sustainable living practices after they leave the festival; as well as festivals who believe that they can’t reach their audience

BGW demonstrates that by taking people out of their usual patterns of behaviour and asking them to explore other ways that there is an opportunity to influence behaviours and open up lasting changes. The initiative led to lots of open conversations about meat and environmental impacts in an open, non-confrontational way.

What should always be considered when developing initiatives is the behaviour change acronym EAST:

  • Easy
  • Attractive
  • Timely
  • Social

At Shambala Festival, our most successful behaviour change initiative was going disposable plastic-free – the banning of bottled water coupled with the Bring a Bottle scheme for drinking tap water. It provided a way for audience to easily but meaningfully engage with an issue, and improved the experience of the site as there was noticeably less litter.

Event Sustainability Consultancy
Whilst the season is now in swing, and it may be too late to deploy initiatives for 2015, we are still  working with a number of festivals to review their activities to plan their environmental initiatives for 2016 .

plastic bottles

3 alternatives to single-use plastics at events

Plastics have replaced glass at events and festivals as a safe alternative, however it comes with it’s own set of issues for event organisers and the wider environment.

The Plastic Problem at Events

  • Litter – The perception of plastic cups and bottles as a single-use item means it is readily discarded which at events often means being chucked on the floor, creating a litter problem
  • Quickly filled bins – Bars and events that serve single-use plastic cups find their bins are filled frequently. On a festival site this means increased bin maintenance.
  • Recyclability – Not all plastics are recyclable or recycled. Plastic recycling varies from facility to facility.

 The Environmental Impact of Plastics

  • The production of plastics uses significant resources. This impact is far higher for single-use items due to their limited life.  One study claims it takes 6.74 gallons of water with a litre of fossil fuels used in the transportation of just one litre bottle.
  • A recent report by Dr Jenna Jambeck, (University of Georgia, USA) claims that 8 million tonnes of litter is dumped in the oceans each year.
  • A 2013 study found that one in six ­fish in UK waters contained plastics in their bodies
  • Every piece of plastic that has ever been made still exists as it takes 500 years for plastics to break down.


There are a number of alternatives available to UK events which ensures that the audience stays hydrated whilst reducing the litter and waste impacts.

Reusable Cup Schemes

A reusable cup scheme can be implemented by venues and events using hardened plastic glasses.  These can be washed on site during the event or afterwards at an off-site location by the cup provider.

To ensure the guests bring the cups back a deposit or levy scheme is advisable.  Reusable cup contracts can take many forms from hiring generic glasses or getting branded glasses printed.

Water Refill Stations

These can take the form of jugs of water with glasses to drinking fountains or mobile refill stations as supplied by water charities at major festivals.

Reusable Bottles

Encouraging the use of reusable bottles either by bottles brought to an event or ones sold onsite or in advance with tickets. The reusable metal bottles can provide a revenue stream to counter that lost from water bottles


At present plant-based (PLA), ‘compostable’  plastics can’t be composted or processed as a plastic in the UK (processing plants are not set up for them). If they do end up in the compost or the plastics waste stream it will result in everything being landfilled.

Get more information and advice

There is more detailed information in the Plastics Free Festival Guide and in the Green Event Guides on our Resources page.

Kambe offers Green Event Consultancy for the UK Event and Festival Industry. Drop us an email to discuss

  • Reduce environmental impact
  • Improve audience experience
  • Improve reputation
  • Reduce costs
20140821204640 - Shambala 2014 CF

The Industry will Respond with a Strong Green Message

Common newspaper reports on festivals highlighting left tents and piles of litter perhaps say more about the wider society than they do about festivals per se. However this recent Evening Standard article demonstrates that there is a strong perception we as an industry could do with shaking off.

“A festival is essentially a small, incredibly wasteful temporary city. Generators burp into the atmosphere, while cables and wires gobble electricity.” (Phoebe Luckhurst 26 March 2015)

Last year, the significant increase in festivals signing up to industry green initiatives including A Greener Festival Award , energy revolution and the Creative IG, suggests that there is an appetite for change afoot.

That is why in conversations with the AIF, AFO, Powerful Thinking and Julie’s Bicycle this year seemed pertinent to undertake industry-wide research and investigate the priorities for an industry wide Green Manifesto. The premise for a Green manifesto would be to share a vision for how we as an industry can address a number of areas from cost-saving, reduced waste, and of course improved reputation both with new audiences and of course the media.

Information from the survey will also help to inform a vision for the industry in the context of the Global COP21 environmental talks in Paris this November, with UK festival industry think-do tank, Powerful Thinking, publishing a state of the industry report based on findings.


In the meantime, at Kambe Events, we have a wealth of free resources and links on greening your event should you need any inspiration for this season.


A vision for the industry

Imagine; an industry as dynamic, creative and audience-facing as the UK festivals not having a coordinated strategy for responding to climate change. The time has come….

Powerful Thinking pre-launched the Zero Carbon Festivals 2025 vision at the UK Festival awards on December 2nd with a ‘teaser’ on all conference seats! The vision will map out how the whole festival industry can work together to meet the challenge of climate change.

In Spring 2014, the initiative will publish the Zero Carbon Festivals 2025 report , providing a framework for festivals, suppliers and audiences to work together to achieve zero carbon balance for the industry by 2025.

The strategy will encompass; what the science is saying and how the industry can play a valuable role in the challenges ahead, ways festivals can easily reduce their carbon footprint without compromising costs, a mechanism to allow audiences to voluntarily offset their travel journeys, and a carbon positive investment mechanism to mitigate unavoidable baseline emissions.

Kambe is proud to be one of the driving forces behind this initiative, and is committed to playing its role in leading the industry toward a positive future.

For more information see the Powerful Thinking website

Shambala wins the A Greener Festival Award at the UK Festival Awards 2013

A Greener Festival Award 2013

We are very proud to have won this years international A Greener Festival Award for Shambala 2013, presented at the UK Festival Awards at the Roundhouse on December 2rd. Chris Johnson, representing the team on the night, was presented with the recycled tent flag for achieving “outstanding” along with another 10 international events (below) and the winners plaque at the evening ceremony.

Croissant Neuf Summer Party (UK)

The Falls Festival, Marion Bay (AUS)

Hebridean Celtic Festival (UK)

Island Vibe Festival (AUS)

Lightning in a Bottle (USA)

Oya Festival (NOR)

Shambala Festival (UK)

Splendour In The Grass (AUS)

Sunrise Festival – Another World, The Festival Micronation (UK)

Way Out West (SWE)

Welcome to the Future Festival (NL)

The Greener Festival Award is the internationally recognised independent scheme for environmentally aware festivals which is available for events throughout Europe, North America and Australia. In 2012 forty one festivals gained the prestigious mark, and this year forty three events successfully completed the scheme certifying their green credentials. Festivals who apply for the scheme must prove to the judges that the festival has meaningful and effective environmental policies and practices to deal with traffic and transport, greenhouse gas emissions, waste and recycling, water conservation, noise pollution, ethical policies and environmental protection. The festivals should also have sustainable office policies.

GreenEvents Europe 2013 please credit Foto by Horst Schmitz 2

Mysteries solved…

Shambala were invited to present our “Bring a Bottle” initiative at the forth Green Events Europe conference in Bonn (25th & 26th November). Our second year at the event, it was another thoroughly worthwhile 2 days, meeting fellow festival organisers and event professionals from across Europe who are committed to doing things sustainably. Sessions ranged from disposable plastics, the tent problem, catering, sustainable power and invariably had academics presenting the facts, festival organisers sharing experiences and suppliers presenting innovations. No other event brings such a critical mass of European industry players together to tackle issues in this way. We found some robust answers to long running questions such as; “How many times do you have to use a re-usable plastic cup for it to be environmentally better than a disposable, even with washing and transport?” The answer is 3 times in most circumstances – yes hard to believe, but the research behind this is absolutely robust.

Green Events has managed to develop an active community of organisations across Europe which are making an impact. UK organisations attending included Fareshare Soutwest, Zero Waste (Cym Harry), A Greener Festival and Natural Events. European Festival”s Included Roskilde, Way Out West, Exit, We Love Green, Shambala, and many others.

GreenEvents Europe 2013 please credit Foto by Horst Schmitz 1

More info about Green Events Europe Conference HERE

OR check out our Bring a Bottle initiative HERE

ADE Green 2013

ADE Green is born!

ID&T, Amserdam Dance Events (ADE), the Green Music Initiative (Germany) and GO Group joined forces to create the first “ADE Green”, an afternoon filled with interactive panels, discussions and debates on sustainability. This new collaboration aimed to kick-start a global Green Dance movement, and share experiences from green “trailblazers” from across the world.

The ADE conference is to dance music what SXSW is to live music, so offered a perfect moment With the warm are almost over and the time to put the BBQ into hibernation is drawing close, it might be the last time to enjoy a bit of sunshine and eat el fresco. to reach into the consciousness of the dance music scene. Kambe”s Chris Johnson talked alongside speakers from the infamous Burning Man (US), Sensations (NL) Mysteryland (NL), Julies Bicycle (UK), Boom Festival (PT) and TEDx (NL) to share experiences of going green in the Learning from the Trailblazers session, to a capacity audience at the Chicago Club. The event had a real buzz and looks set to mark the beginning of a new annual green focus at the conference.

ADE attracts over 300,000 visitors across 200 venues in Amsterdam over one week each year, and hosts a diverse conference program.

Check out the Official ADE 2013 aftermovie below!