Massive Attack publish new report on carbon emissions in live music sector

Massive Attack

The report is available to read in full now.

Massive Attack have today (6 September) published a new report on eco-friendly touring. Entitled Roadmap to Super Low Carbon Live Music, the report was commissioned by the band and created by Manchester University’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, a specialist body made up of scientists, engineers, economists and more. The open resource, which is available to read for free and in full here, suggests that touring arts should refrain from using private jets and reduce the amount of kit they take out on the road. 

The band commissioned the report in 2019, with scientists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research investigating the environmental impact of the band’s own touring practices before developing a carbon reduction roadmap for the wider live music sector in line with the UN Paris Agreement. 

However, in a new interview with The Guardian, Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja also criticised the government for not taking necessary steps to help the industry reduce its carbon emissions. 

“Where’s the industrial plan for the scale of the transformation that’s required for the UK economy and society? It doesn’t seem to exist,” said Del Naja. “The live music industry, especially after Brexit, is so important to national identity and self-esteem. It’s one of the few areas you could describe as genuinely world-class and has a vast social and economic value, as well-reported, generating over £4.6bn for the economy every year and employing thousands of dedicated people.”

“But where is the government planning to support the rate of adaption we’re going to need to hit compatibility with [the Paris agreement]? It doesn’t seem to exist,” he added. “The data [from the report] is not surprising, it’s the strategy that’s missing here.”

Speaking on the new report in a statement, Professor Carly McLachlan, who led the research, said: “We hope that this roadmap can help to catalyse change by outlining the scale of action required and how this maps across the different elements of a tour. To reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, touring practices need to be reassembled differently as the industry emerges from the significant challenges that the pandemic has created.”

She added: “This starts from the very inception of a tour and requires the creativity and innovation of artists, managers, promoters, designers and agents to be unleashed to establish new ways of planning and  delivering live music tours.” 

Late last year, Massive Attack shared a short film examining the music industry’s impact on climate change. “We came to the realisation that our industry couldn’t, or wouldn’t, move fast enough for live music to play its part in rapid decarbonisation,” said Del Naja at the time. “So we opted to design that change ourselves, to put together the identities and circumstances to push through and show that it’s possible.”

Read the Roadmap to Super Low Carbon Live Music report in full here.