Lessons from Coldplay: Normalise eco-friendly concerts!

2024 is the year of concerts! From Bruno Mars to Taylor Swift, influential artists are taking over Singapore in the coming months. Exciting as it may sound, having a fun concert experience doesn’t have to come at the expense of our planet. Coldplay and Billie Eilish say so.

At least, that’s the message we get from their recent concert tour sustainability reports.

4 years ago, BBC News reported that Coldplay would pause touring until their concerts were deemed environmentally beneficial. This year, they finally reaped the fruits of their labour after publishing the impact of their Spheres of Music stadium tour.

Are Sustainable Concerts Realistic?

The results are surprisingly impressive. So far, so good – they’ve reduced CO2 emissions by 47% compared to their previous tour, just 3 percent shy of their targeted 50%. They’ve incorporated innovative measures like kinetic dance floors, planting a tree for every ticket sold (totaling 5 million trees), and utilising 100% renewable energy for show production. The band was lauded by fans and critics alike for their full commitment to keeping a tight leash on the carbon footprint left by their concerts. Users on Reddit, a popular social forum, have sung their praises.

Source: Reddit

While laudable, Coldplay isn’t the only artist to engage in sustainable touring. In her interview with Jimmy Fallon, Billie Eilish revealed that she partnered with Reverb to make her concerts planet-friendly. The subsequent report in 2022 demonstrated that Billie Eilish’s Happier Than Ever World Tour actively engaged over 133,500 fans in supporting social and environmental causes. They eliminated 117,000+ single-use plastic bottles and by opting for plant-based meals for artists and crew, the tour saved 8.8 million gallons of water – a conscientious approach to resource conservation.

ESG = good PR?

So, why should brands care? Let’s be frank – ESG is one of the gateways to the future of branding. Being a part of a cause not only helps the planet and its people, but also elevates a brand’s reputation to the public eye.

Participation in ESG initiatives earns public adulation because it resonates deeply with audiences due to the sincerity of their efforts and authentic voices. Coldplay and Billie Eilish showcase a genuine commitment to addressing pressing global issues, fostering a positive public image grounded in authenticity. When you give back to the community or Mother Nature, you align yourself with values that resonate with environmentally- conscious audiences who appreciate sincerity in sustainability efforts.

It shows you have a heart. It shows that you are a brand that knows how to listen.

So yes, ESG is good PR. But that shouldn’t be the only reason why a brand should lean into it, unless you want to end up getting called out for greenwashing.

Consumers who are increasingly informed and discerning appreciate transparency as it demonstrates accountability and honesty. In this socially conscious landscape, climate reporting emerges as a tool to showcase the actual outcomes of sustainable efforts. Providing clear and measurable data through climate reports allows brands to communicate their impact authentically. Businesses that adopt ESG must be ready and confident about the direction they’re headed once they’ve jumped into the fray.

That’s why ESG solutions should be founded on sincerity and expertise in order to be done right. For brands, embracing sincere and authentic sustainability initiatives becomes imperative for success in this landscape. Consumers are drawn to genuine efforts that extend beyond mere greenwashing. Therefore, integrating ESG values not only contributes to a healthier planet and society but also enhances brand equity through an authentic and transparent approach. Going the sustainable route doesn’t always have to be loud – purpose can be woven down to the nitty-gritty details.

Take for example the local enterprise Coffeehock, with whom ABrandADay worked for the launch of their new product, Oat Milk White Coffee. Oat milk is plant-based; not only is it significantly better for the environment to eat plant-based foods, but the paper packaging for the drink is recyclable, too.

Turning habits into a lifestyle

You might be wondering – so what if the big artists are doing it?

Let’s take this from a top-down approach. Fans often look up to celebrities as authentic voices, and when these influencers champion sustainability with genuine dedication, they encourage their followers to adopt eco-friendly practices. Similarly, when influential brands start adopting sustainable practices, they become role models for such actions. Cue a domino effect. These actions become a habit, and these habits turn into a lifestyle – a green one.

Last month, we touched on why both corporations and consumers need to work in harmony to make any significant change for the environment. The answer is in the collective.

Coldplay is one admirable example of using your massive influence for good. If they can do it on such a large (and probably very costly) scale, then why shouldn’t we do it too in our own little ways?

Unless it’s a natural phenomenon, any real-world impact is only ever created by collective action. Let us weave intention and purpose into ours.

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