May 14, 2024

Over the last year we've been working with sustainability researchers to find out just how much positive impact our festival has on the wider world, and how that balances with the carbon impact of putting on an event.

So many people have told us, over the years, that "The Green Gathering changed my life!". We felt sure the festival must be a net positive... but we wanted proof, not just anecdote.

Roll on a year of surveys and spreadsheets...And now, at last, with a great drum roll and big grins, we can say that YES, The Green Gathering really does change things for the better!

Over a third of our festival community has been inspired to change behaviour in terms of what they eat, buy and waste, and 20% say the festival has influenced them to become more engaged in community activities and climate change activism.

It's been levelled at us in the past that "The Greenest festival is one that doesn't happen", so we wanted to check out if that's true. We found that not only does our festival have the behaviour-change impact described above, it also reduces the carbon footprint of attendees for the time they're at the festival - and yes, that even takes into account audience and crew travel, build materials and infrastructure transport.

Total emissions at GG 2023 were calculated to be 7kg CO2e per festival attendee, which is plenty lower than the daily carbon footprint of a UK resident estimated at 19.5 kg CO2e. Carbon footprint calculations aren't 100% reliable so we're not staking our lives on those exact numbers... but it seems pretty clear from the vast difference between the two figures that for the 'average' person it's better for the planet to spend time at our solar-powered festival eating wholesome veggie food than it is to stay at home.

What a result! Festivals with a core ethos of being environmentally and socially responsible can serve up fantastic, life-changing activities, inspire people to more sustainable behaviour, and avoid harm in the process. Of course many festivals don't have that ethos at the core... but we hope to provide a beacon of possibility and get more on board!

Read the full Behavioural Change research report HERE

And read the the full GG Carbon Footprint report HERE

For more on this subject, Green Gathering directors Steve Muggs and Em Weirdigan, and sustainability facilitator Jak Hill, spoke at the Green Events and Innovations conference in London, March 2024.

Thanks to A Greener Future for carrying out this research with us, and The Green Gathering charity for commissioning and funding it. 

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