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Sustainability

What we’re doing now, and how we plan to do better.

Iceland Airwaves is excited to announce the launch of our sustainability pledge.

Over the past few months we have been working hard at analyzing what areas of our festival contribute to its carbon footprint and searching for ways in which we can work together in order to reduce its impact.

We have always been conscious about the environmental impact of the festival, and we know there is much more that we can do. That’s why we’ve decided to make an official commitment to sustainability and outline concrete action steps in order to make that happen. We’ve approached this project with the mantra of reduce what you can – offset what you can’t. 

One thing that is very clear to us is that this is not something we can do alone. We ask our festival guests and our artists to join us in this commitment. We also encourage other music festivals to join us in trying to make music festivals more sustainable and friendly to our planet.

If you have anything you’d like to add, or a tip or suggestion please e-mail us.

Venues

Examples of positive actions

  • Certified venues
  • Venues within walking distance / no car or bus needed

What is Airwaves doing now?

We are getting rid of venues out of downtown Reykjavík, it’s important they are all walking distance from each other

Plan for 2023 - 2026

  • Collect information from each venue about their sustainability policy
  • Create a list of venues in Reykjavík who have a policy in place for sustainability.
  • Encourage IA venues to adopt a policy and we will share it with our guests.
  • We don’t expand the venue radius and keep everything walking distance as far as is possible.

Accommodation

Examples of positive actions

  • Choose partner hotels that allow artists and guests to be walking distance from the festival
  • Certified hotels

What is Airwaves doing now?

We already book all our artists, speakers, and invited journalists to stay downtown.

Plan for 2023 - 2026

  • Encourage guests to stay in downtown Reykjavík
  • List sustainable hotels somewhere on our website. Encourage guests to stay there.
  • Collect information from each partner hotels about their sustainability policy

Transportation

Examples of positive actions

  • Environmentally friendly transportation
  • Carbon of-setting

What is Airwaves doing now?

  • We work with Icelandair that offers carbon of-setting
  • Artists, press, and industry are transported with buses/ride sharing not private cars
  • Private cars across the board are kept to a bare minimum

Plan for 2023 - 2026

  • Raise awareness, encourage responsible travel behaviours – we can encourage people to use electric scooters
  • Suggest a collaboration with Strætó for 2023 where wristbandholders can use the bus for free
  • We encourage international guests to use a bus from Keflavik Airport. 
  • Work with Icelandair to encourage carbon offsetting for international flights.
  • Create more opportunities for artists while they are in Iceland e.g. shooting music videos or Record in Iceland initiative so their trip is used for more than just the gig.

GUESTS

Examples of positive actions

  • Important that guests are aware and active
  • Tips and instructions on how to be environmentally friendly
  • No single-use merchandise
  • Recyclable wristbands
  • No printed schedule

What is Airwaves doing now?

  • Got rid of goodie bags for IA Plus as they caused too much waste.
  • Printed schedule was abandoned

Plan for 2023 - 2026

  • Getting rid of all free merchandise and goodie bags.
  • Make sure IA wristbands and conference lanyards are environmentally friendly
  • More messaging about environmentally friendly practices

Outreach, marketing & media

Examples of positive actions

  • Communicate better to partners about sustainability and our policy
  • Shine a spotlight on sustainability during Airwaves
  • No print ads or flyers

What is Airwaves doing now?

  • Communicating sustainable travel options as far as is possible.

Plan for 2023 - 2026

  • Get more festivals on board to make a sustainability pledge
  • Recycling wherever possible by e.g. checking beverage supplies and venues
  • Reach out to more festivals and encourage them to participate
  • Make all signange reusable (no dates on logos etc.)
  • If anything must be printed do so with a certified printing company. Make sure it’s recycled.
  • Use digital screens that can be reused wherever possible.

Food

Examples of positive actions

  • Make sure to meet the 2/4 standard: Vegan and vegetarian options, organic, sourced locally
  • Use as little packaging as possible
  • Reusable tableware
  • Sustainable packaging

What is Airwaves doing now?

  • Vegetarian and vegan options everywhere where we have control over offerings
  • Airwaves Cleanup day post festival in 2019
  • Plan for 2023 - 2026

  • Try to go completely vegan/vegetarian in all the catering IA controls.
  • Only work with with restaurants with vegetarian/vegan options. Encourage guests to eat less meat. 
  • Have the backstage catering packaging free – buy in bulk and refill bowls. Figure out a way this can be done with drinks cans and bottles etc.
  • Make sure all tableware is reusable or recyclable, and if it’s recyclable that it is truly being recycled.
  • Speak with our drink sponsor about sustainability, packaging etc. Idea: use a beer glass four times, get one free.
  • Only allow restaurants in IA Recommends that are very vegan/vegetarian friendly
  • Waste

    Examples of positive actions

    • Increase recycling, clear signs and instructions
    • Keep foodwaste as little as possible and make sure they are recycled as organic, not in the regular waste which goes to landfill

    What is Airwaves doing now?

    • Most venues has specific bins for everything – is clear for plastic and cans – options for trash.

    Plan for 2023 - 2026

    • Create a guidance sheet or checklist for venues.
    • One pager for responsible venue partners

    Stuff

    Examples of positive actions

    • Reusable stuff such as props, decorations, photo backgrounds etc.

    What is Airwaves doing now?

    • 95% from bands performing (backline, staging etc) is all reused.
    • Festival marking are without a date so they can be reused. We list all backline in a matrix so they are not moved around too much from one venue to another and help bands collaborate. Props & decorations are minimal, photo backgrounds digital.

    Plan for 2023 - 2026

    • Discourage use of unsustainable decorations like glitter bombs etc.

    Merchandise

    Examples of positive actions

    • Ethically sourced, local, upcycled etc.

    What is Airwaves doing now?

    • Iceland Airwaves minimize what they give to guests.
    • Working with 66°North as a sponsor and produce everything with them. We try to use the methodology of preorder, click and collect and minimize overstock.
    • Speaking with Grapevine about selling excess stock on their shop online after the festival, including excess stock from previous years.

    Plan for 2023 - 2026

    • Speak to our clothing sponsor 66°N about upcycling any merch that doesn’t sell.
    • Sell unsold stock online after festival ends.

    CARBON OFFSETS

    Examples of positive actions

    • Measure the carbon footprint, offset it, use certified and Icelandic partners to do so

    What is Airwaves doing now?

    • We are not offsetting anything at the moment directly

    Plan for 2023 - 2026

    • Work with a certified offsetting company to offset what carbon footprint cannot be eliminated.
    • Work with our guests and partners and strive towards a carbon neutral festival for 2026.