1.1 Organizing and starting the work

It is highly likely that most event organisers have, over time, accumulated a set of work routines for how things are to be done at their particular event. Routines may vary, but everyone has their own way of doing things. You should therefore «begin at home» and distribute tasks in a way that feels natural to you. In order to succeed with the environmental work, there are some things that need to be in place – before you get started.


Ask the municipality for help with garbage-trolleys and the like.

A dedicated management

An involved management with a strong dedication to environmental concerns is a prerequisite for success, and also a crucial motivating force to allow the work to be carried out to completion! This is important, because it’s the management’s job to motivate and involve the workers further down in the organisation.

Time and money

The startup phase is important; this is when the foundation for the work is put down. It’s important to set aside enough time and resources; resources can include people who have set aside time for the work, and perhaps also money for some of the tasks. Our experience is that the work of mapping your environmental footprint is more time-consuming than you might think. Not only that, it also takes a lot of time to inform and train the people involved, and to integrate the efforts in existing work routines.

Go through job descriptions and other printed information pertaining to work duties and describe everyone’s environmental duties in their respective fields.

It’s good practice to set aside some money for this work, for example for the purchase of equipment. Maybe you can also find partners/sponsors for some of this?

Environmental manager

One person should be in charge of the environmental efforts and lead the practical work. This person should ensure that environmental considerations become a natural part of the event as a whole. The environmental manager should be highly dedicated to environmental concerns and also have thorough knowledge of every part and aspect of the entire event.

Work group

Large events should establish a separate work group for environmental concerns which advises on and discusses special measures. It is highly important that this group is involved during the initial planning phase. If such a group is involved too late, this may lead to a deprioritisation of the environmental work.

The group should be comprised of members from all the main work groups at the event, e.g. the management, technical, rigging, security, sales/purchasing and market/sales/PR, and preferably they should include the head of each of these groups. The environmental manager should naturally lead the environmental concerns group.

A work group consisting of members from all these different areas should ensure a comprehensive environmental effort. This group will also prove important in order to formalise the environmental effort and to create understanding and dedication.

Environmental mapping

By mapping and measuring the environmental strain of the event at the present time, you will have a documented point of departure for the further environmental work. Read more about this in section 1.2.

Environmental vision and policy

The environmental vision should function both as a basis and a guiding star, and it should explain what is the superior goal of the environmental work. It should be concise and catchy, maybe in the form of a slogan. That way, employees/volunteers, suppliers, sponsors and the audience will understand what you are aiming for.

The environmental policies outline concrete and overarching details about why you wish to work with the environment, why you think it’s important, and what you want to achieve with the work.

Examples of environmental visions and policy:

The main goal of the Øya festival is to further the interests of Norwegian music and give the audience a unique experience. The focus on the environment is part of the package that will help the festival reach its goal.

The defining values for the festival are: innovation, inspiration, and idealism with integrity.

The environmental vision should be visible. The Øya-, Roskilde- and Hove festival all outline their environmental efforts on their webpages, in festival magazines and in the festival programme itself.

The mapping work hitherto described helps you see how you most impact the environment.

Set goals for the environmental work

1. Choose a main goal

Your environmental mapping helps you identify where you impact the environment the most. What do you wish to achieve in the different areas, e.g. purchasing, energy, and waste? What you wish to focus on is up to you.

2. Set partial goals

It might be a good idea to check on how the work is progressing, perhaps halfway into the timeframe of the project period.

3. Remember measurability!

This is important in order to see if you are making progress.

4. Make time and set fixed deadlines!

Not only do you need time, you need time limits as well! It is important that the management gives everybody time to carry out their appointed share of environmental work, and it is important to have fixed deadlines for when measures are to be completed.

5. Prioritise!

You can’t do everything at once!

Example from the Øya festival

The Øya festival will continue to spearhead environmental efforts for culture events both nationally and internationally. We will continue to accept the responsibility of inspiring and facilitating the environmental awareness of our audience.

Things to remember in order to set reachable goals. The goals must be:


Describe the goals clearly, leave no room for misunderstanding.


You must be able to check if the goals really have been reached!


All workers must be familiar with the goals and be motivated in order to make the necessary effort to reach them!


The goals must be possible to reach, but not so easy that no changes need to be made.


Set deadlines, as it contributes to driving the work forward. The environmental strategy is more concerete and describes how you intend to complete the work.

Example from Øya

Our aim is to become Norway’s most environmentally sound festival, and we wish to take on the responsibility of giving the audience an opportunity to act in an environmentally responsible way.

Priorities: In 2003, the Øya festival prioritized working on: waste, purchase routines and organic foods. In 2004, the focus was to lower the  CO2 emissions as much as possible, while in 2008, the focus was to further optimize the work on purchase routines, waste disposal, emissions and organic foods, while keeping special attention on calculating the carbon footprint. In 2011 the Øya festival will focus on ways to reduce the environmental impact related to the transport before, during and after the festival.

Example, waste:

What kind of waste bins are needed, and how many? Is special training needed in advance, e.g. in waste sorting or the use of special equipment? Also remember clear and unambiguous signs and marking in regards to waste separation, as well as implementing a good system for emptying waste bins and containers (Read more about waste handling in Ch.2, section 2.2).

Partial goals, waste:

  • Establish a system for better waste handling
  • Reduce the share of leftover waste by 50 %
  • Reduce the relative cost of waste handling by 20 %

Examples of initiatives started to reach the goals

  • An increase in the number of waste fractions from 1 (few) to 12 (with 14 being possible )
  • The development of a waste disposal plan for the entire area with thorough signage for the implemented solutions and training of the users
  • Evaluate after the festival has ended. Write reports outlining the amounts of all fractions and costs
  • Collaboration with different counsellors and suppliers, e.g. Retura, Grønt Punkt (Green Dot), Enviropac and Natur og Ungdom
  • Recycling implemented for all glass and paper cups, drinking cartons, trays and pizza boxes

Good information routines

It is important to create an understanding of why you want to carry out the environmental work, and thereby motivate a collective effort. Inform on which tasks that are to be carried out and what the effort of each individual will mean.

Information should be provided to everyone that is affected: the management, workers, volunteers, sponsors/partners, sub-suppliers and last, but not least, the artists/participants at the event. Make a list of who is to be informed and how.

In order to achieve credibility and involvement, you must be well prepared and able to argue why you want your event to be environmentally effective. All written information must be short, to-the-point and unambiguous, leaving no room for misunderstanding.

Necessary equipment and simple systems

Sometimes some new equipment is required if you want to carry out environmental work. Go through all the work sections, see what equipment you already have, and make a list of what you need to acquire. Maybe there is a need for special equipment in some of the sections. However, it is equally important that you have enough personnel and a clear allocation of responsibility.

Motivated employees and volunteers

Make time to talk to people! Good communication is important in creating involvement. Use all the regular meetings/forums that are already a part of your routines. During the event itself you should also be out talking to the people «in the field» about the environmental work. Consult them, ask them «what can be done here», listen to what they have to say, find out if they have any ideas, and try to find joint solutions. Let the ideas flow, and don’t brush any aside.

Focus on the environment is with us in the entire planning phase. It is a hot topic that most people in management, as well as volunteers, partners, and suppliers, are engaged in. They are proud of the strong team spirit that has been created and are good ambassadors.


Organising and starting the work

Management – Environmentally dedicated
– Motivated
– Stands firmly behind the project
Time and money – Make time for the environmental work
– Put aside some money for necessary equipment
Environmental manager – Dedicated and motivated
– Environmental work a part of the event as a whole
Environmental concerns work group – Participants from all sections of the event
– Discuss issues, distribute tasks
– Formulate an environmental vision
Environmental vision – A guiding star for the environmental efforts
– Defines the superior goal
– Easily understandable and relevant for all parties
Environmental goals – Specific
– Measurable
– Accepted
– Realistic
– Time-limited
Good information – Short and concise, so that everyone knows what is to be done and why
– Create understanding
– Involve all
Necessary equipment and simple systems – Overview of necessary equipment
Motivated employees and volunteers – Listen to the suggestions and advice of everyone involved
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