Coldplay have shared details of their game-changing environmental measures on their ‘Music Of The Spheres‘ world tour.
Back in 2019 the band – comprised of Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman and Will Champion – announced that they were taking time to consider how they would tour in the future in order to make it as environmentally friendly as possible.
In 2022, they pledged to cut emissions by 50 per cent compared to their previous world tour between 2016-2017. A year later, figures showed that the band were able to emit 47 per cent less carbon emissions on the tour. Speaking of the achievement, Coldplay said at the time “This is a good start – and something that our incredible crew should be very proud of – but clearly there’s still room for improvement.”
Now, the have released a sustainability report detailing all of the initiatives undertaken during the ongoing ‘Music of the Spheres’ World Tour.
DHL was brought on board as the tour’s official logistics partner, with a focus on using advanced biofuels in the air and electric vehicles on land. Where the band cannot reduce their impact, they have been drawing down unavoidable emissions following guidance within the Oxford Principles for Net-Zero Aligned carbon offsetting.
Coldplay also partnered with BMW to create a mobile, reachable show battery made from recyclable BMW i3 batteries. The battery powers 100 per cent of the shows through renewable energy.
They have also installed kinetic floors around the stadiums and venues so that the dancing and movement from the crowd can be converted into energy and used to power shows. The band have strategically planned minimal flying and send a sustainability rider to all venues and stadiums in advance to inquire about the best environmental practices they can take on.
Speaking to NME about their environmental efforts back in 2021, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin said: “The reason that we did the BMW commercial [the car manufacturer recently used ‘Higher Power’ for their range of electric vehicles] was because they are giving us these batteries for the show that we can power with left-over restaurant oil and solar power. We also have this kinetic flooring in the front section of the audience, so when they move up and down the audience will create power. It’s a long way to go, but we want to get on with what we can do.”
The stages are built from recyclable lightweight, low-carbon and re-usable materials which can then be reused after tour. LED wristbands that are worn by fans throughout the crowd are made out of 100 per cent compostable, plant-based materials. Per The Ticketing Business, wristband production was reduced by 80 per cent by collecting, sterilising and recharging them after each show. The return rate for the bands averaged at an 86 per cent turn around during the tour’s first year.
Other eco-friendly measures taken include sustainable lighting and audio production, low-energy LED screens and lighting systems and biodegradable confetti.
Martin previously spoke about why he believes eco-friendly tours make “business sense” in the music industry.
“What we’re trying to do is actually not advocate at all, but just prove that it makes business sense because that’s where we feel you’ll really get people to change, like ‘Hey you can make more money’,” he told Ellie Goulding on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on December 28.
He also said that “way more people than you think” are interested in looking after the planet. “Most people, if they have the luxury of being able to care about it, care about it,” he added.
Martin continued, saying that they were trying to show through their tour that being green isn’t “some charitable, left-wing, wishy-washy thing, it’s like, ‘No, no, this is the best business sense, too’.”
The band also reacted to a claim that they’re being used as “useful idiots for greenwashing”
They partnered with Finnish oil company Neste to cut their touring emissions by half. Neste claims to be the world’s largest producer of sustainable biofuels but the firm’s palm oil suppliers cleared at least 24,710 acres of forest in countries including Indonesia and Malaysia between 2019 and 2020 [via Friends Of The Earth].
Carlos Calvo Ambel, a senior director of the Transport and Environment campaign group (T&E) said: “Neste is cynically using Coldplay to greenwash its reputation.”
In response, Coldplay wrote a statement that read: “When we announced this tour, we said that we would try our best to make it as sustainable and low carbon-impact as possible, but that it would be a work in progress. That remains true. We don’t claim to have got it all right yet.”
They said: “Before we appointed Neste as supplier of these biofuel products, we received their guarantee that they do not use any virgin materials in their production – most especially not palm oil. It’s still our understanding that they use renewable waste products only, like cooking oil and byproducts from wood pulp manufacture.”
They were also criticised for working with BMW, which they addressed in their statement which added that they had approached other electric car manufacturers but “BMW were the ones that offered to help”.
“We have no connection to or influence on their corporate policies,” Coldplay continued. “We just need their batteries so that we can power our shows with renewable energy.”
They added: “We are doing our best, and always genuinely welcome suggestions as to how to do it better.”
In other news, the band will head back to Asia, Europe, Australia and New Zealand later this year.