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The Big Green Round Up 2019

As we start to close the book on 2019 and look towards Shambala 2020, let’s take a moment to look back on everything we achieved together in the name of a better future.

Exploring the impact of food

2019 saw us continue our focus on exploring the impacts of our food on the world around us.

Gone off Milk

New for this year, we removed cow’s milk from café’s selling hot drinks (for audience, crew and artists) to spark conversation about how this small, simple dietary change can make a big difference. 

We made this decision after doing extensive research into the impacts of cow’s milk vs different plant based milks and finding that oat, coconut, European grown soy and hemp milks to come top of the class on a variety of sustainability scorings. You can dig into our research here. 

(Shout out to Minor Figures for supplying us with loads of tasty oat milk to pull this out of the bag!)

But did it all go sour on site?

The proof is always in the pudding with these initiatives – how would people react to us messing with that most beloved of British institutions; the humble brew?

  • Half of our audience (46.4%) reported that ‘they didn’t notice the difference’ – showing just how easy it is to make the switch.
  • 24% of our audience (and 26% of our crew) said they intended to reduce their dairy intake
  • 1 in 5 cow milk drinkers reported being total converts to plant based milk alternatives after Shambala 2019.

…and the impact?

We saved nearly two olympic sized swimming pools of water.

  • The production of an average pint of dairy milk requires around 1020 litres of water whereas oat milk only requires 150 litres. 
  • As a result of making the switch, we have reduced the water impact of our supply chain alone by 4,927,680 litres! 
  • That’s nearly enough to fill two Olympic size swimming pools.

We cut emissions by at least half.

  • In terms of carbon impact (CO2e emissions) the average production and transportation of a litre of dairy milk produces is at least double for cows milk compared to oat m*lk.

Huge thanks to everybody for their support on this new initiative.

Serving up ‘one planet plates’

This year we launched our One Planet Plate initiative, with 15 of our food traders and cafes taking us up on our challenge to create a ‘one planet’ meal.

In short, this is a meal that is responsible for under 0.5kg of Carbon Dioxide equivalent (C02e). The UK average meal factors in at around 2kg C02e, so 0.5kg is seriously low impact.  These dishes were created using a food carbon calculator (courtesy of Carbon Cloud). 

Big shout out to the traders who got their chops around this challenge; ChurriosoHappy MakiUber TuberWrappers DelightDeli Posh DogsPod Café, La Bonne CrepeThe Chai Shop Organic, and PB&J Society.

In this year’s ‘Big Debate’ feedback survey we asked you to vote on your favourite of these One Planet Plate dishes. The Happy Maki’s ‘Thai Sweet Potato Sushi Wrap’ stole the crown, with almost a third of the vote, followed very closely behind by Deli Posh Dog’s ‘Guac Dog’. Tasty and future-proof, what’s not to like?!

The impacts of crew food

Behind the scenes at Shambala, you’ll find the crew canteen – where the wonderful folks at Henry’s Beard serve up thousands of meals, to keep our hard working crew fuelled up. 

This year, we analysed the environmental impacts of our crew meals, discovering that the average crew meal was responsible for 1kg of c02e – 50% of the national average. This is a great start, and we’ve identified areas we can improve on, to get this down even further, without compromising on the taste, portion size and quality.

Meat remains firmly off the menu

Every year, we ask whether you want to keep Shambala a veggie-paradise.

This year, only 0.3% of you wanted to see meat fully back on the menu, with 66% of you requesting we stay as we are, and 17% wanting to see Shambala go fully vegan.

Food Waste

Food waste at Shambala has been way, way down since we took the meat-and-fish plunge back in 2016, however we were able to send 0.5 tonnes of edible un-used food that would be wasted to local causes, such as Fruitful Abundance, Refresh Foodbank and Sid Valley Food Bank

Inspirational Trader Awards

Our Traders have to jump through a whole host of sustainability hoops to bag a spot at Shambala, so their very presence is a sign that they’re doing a wicked job of minimising their impacts – however some of them go even further, and are subsequently honoured in our Inspirational Trader Awards. 

This year, we awarded Uber Tuber as our Inspirational Trader, Burger Theory as our Sustainable Trader and The Happy Maki were voted The People’s Choice. Heaps more information on the awards, our winners, and how we chose them, HERE.

Travel – are we there yet?

We are getting there! Having reduced carbon emissions from the festival itself by over 85% over the last decade, audience, crew and artist travel now accounts for over 90% of our associated emissions. We’re throwing everything we have at bringing this down, year by year.

Whilst our announcement to go fully vehicle free for 2020 was an April Fools prank (albeit one we’re still getting several confused emails a week about..!) we are serious about pushing our sustainable transport offerings and encouraging those who do have little choice but to drive, to at least ensure there are bums on every seat in their vehicles.

Carbon Balancing

  • This year we built in a carbon offsetting donation to Energy Revolution into the prices of all our car and campervan passes. 
  • These donations raised a whopping £6,177 which balances 123 tonnes(!) of CO2e – the equivalent of 424,974 average car miles
  • The funds raised will go to the Schools’ Energy Co-operative; a project installing solar panels systems on UK schools to provide them with affordable clean renewable energy. 

All aboard the Shambala Express

  • A third of our 2019 audience joined us by coach or shuttle bus from local transport links – which is pretty impressive. 
  • To encourage folks to choose the coach over the car, we set aside a quarter of tickets at every tier for coach passengers only, and knocked £15 off the entry ticket price at every tier for Shambala Express Coach packages. 

A round of applause for our pedal powered heroes!

  • In 2019, 1% of our audience arrived at Shambala by bicycle as part of a Red Fox Cycling tour. We salute you all, and your thighs of steel. 
  • Our cyclists were rewarded with £15 off their entry tickets, free programmes on arrival and a right royal pampering in our healing meadows with a dedicated, muscle-healing workshop.

Fuel for thought

  • To create a culture of energy efficiency amongst our café’s onsite, we charge our traders per kilowatt-hour. 
  • 40% of our food traders reduced their energy use vs Shambala 2018 – a really promising start.
  • Our on-site generators use 100% renewable fuels, and we trialled an electric buggy and bike within our on-site vehicles.

Waste not, want not

  • We were incredibly proud to report that this year, only six tents were abandoned at Shambala 2019 – a truly amazing result. Six less, next year please.
  • You also did a wicked job of using our campsite food waste caddies – with 10 tonnes of food waste collected and sent for composting!

Conscious carnivalling

This year we challenged everyone to create their carnival costume masterpieces out of second hand and recycled materials only – this was particularly poignant due to 2019’s Extinction Carnival theme. It truly warmed our cockles to see how seriously you took this – from cardboard crustaceans to recycled rhinos and plastic bag penguins.

You’ve got bottle…

  • A whopping 97.3% of you told us that you brought a reusable bottle with you this year.
  • 74.5% of you remembered to bring a reusable coffee cup as well.

Awards & Industry Collaboration

We’re very pleased to find out that 2019 saw us maintain our five star Creative Green rating for the third year running (see our certificate here). We also discovered we reduced our overall carbon footprint by another 5% this year – taking us to an 85% reduction over the past decade!

We were very chuffed to pick up the Outstanding Achievement award at the 2019 Creative Green Awards. We were recognised for remaining the only festival to have achieved a 5 star rating creative green rating and for our impact in moving the sustainability agenda forward dramatically within the festival industry.

In 2019 we also joined the Circular Festivals Green Deal; a family of festivals from across Europe, who have committed to collaborating and knowledge sharing in order to meet the enormous challenges of climate emergency. In a time when politics seems to be retreating from common sense and evidenced based policy making, we are proud to be part of such an inspirational group, with whom we can continue to pioneer better ways of doing things and share the experiences. 

We’re also proud to be lending our voices to Music Declares Emergency – a group of artists, music industry professionals and organisations that stand together to declare a climate and ecological emergency and call for an immediate governmental response to protect all life on Earth. We believe in the power of music to promote the cultural change needed to create a better future.

What’s next?

LOADS. Stay tuned…We’ll be back with a bang in January 2020, as we launch an ambitious five-year vision for Shambala. 

As ever, a huge thank you to our audience, our crew, our artists and our traders for coming with us on this journey, keeping an open mind to our initiatives and helping us live our dream of keeping this party going, forever. 

Team Shambala x