The Green Music Initiative is a think tank for the creative industry, trying to understand how to create a sustainable future for this sector. It was founded by Jacob Bilabel in Berlin. They look at sustainability in three different angles: economic, ecologic and social. All of these three aspects have to work closely together, you can’t focus on the economic part without looking at the other two. What is interesting about the creative industry is that there is not much need for resources, the only needed resource is creativity and energy. In other sectors resources are needed and the more you need, the less you have. In the creative sector it’s the other way around, the more creativity you use, the more you have.
The biggest issue in the sector is the need and storage of energy. Mainly for festivals it’s hard to organize this in a sustainable way. They are mainly organized on temporary locations with no fixed solutions so diesel generators are a solution which are impossible to get around. Other issues occur with the handling of waste. It all lands on one pile and it’s hard to separate it, which is a ‘waste’ as 25% is re-usable. Think of plastic, aluminium and paper. Finding a way to separate this would be better in many ways. To re-use materials or sell them and for the organizer it’s less expensive as they have smaller piles to transport from the festival.
Challenges are found in the whole sector, for example music labels. Music labels stream their music in the cloud which is basically a network of computers and servers who run 24/7 and consume huge amounts of energy. If the energy price goes up, the price of streaming goes up too. This is a good example of the three aspects economic, ecologic and social that need to work closely together.
Most of the solutions are not yet available at the moment. The Green Music Initiative is mainly focusing on creating awareness about the problems. A solution for the energy problem at festivals can be found in the future and I think it’s an interesting one. Niels van Loo, an intern and student at the VU University in Amsterdam is working on this. They have the idea to ask visitors to come to the festival with their electric car. The cars are then connected to the grid and this way the festival is powered. An EV is basically a battery on wheels and this way the festival’s energy can be fully sustainable. Visitors can park their car at select at what time they leave. An intelligent software system makes sure that the car is charged when you leave and between that electricity can be used from the car.
Watch the full interview with Jacob Bilabel & Niels van Loo of the Green Music Initiative.