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How and Why of Creating an ECO-POLICY

What is an Ecological Policy and why does it matter?

How and Why of Creating an Ecological Policy

This post examines what an ecological policy is and why it matters.

An ecological policy is both a statement, plan, and report to staff and stakeholders on environmental, sustainability, and social good activities of the organization. Although I believe that "all change starts with you" (the individual), the next steps are taking action in the office, and then taking action in the world through the business of the organization and eventually extending efforts out into the surrounding community.

If you are an ecopreneur, this should be one of the first things you consider in your business plan. If you are already in business, it's never too late to start and create one today.

This post is meant to serve as a Quick Tip guide to getting started by creating an ecological policy for your business.

The why:

With ice caps melting and plastic filling our oceans, and kids revolting, it's clear that the way we live and do business must change. When you look at our festivals, it's clear there's a lot of us. Think about our scene. All the clubs, all the festivals, all the house parties, all the everyone that is part of it on any level. The festival organizers and all the artists have global reach. All of us within this culture have a circle of friends we can influence. We, therefore, could make a HUGE impact.

So, let's do this.

An Ecological Policy should cover:

  • Waste management (this could include recycling for the office whereas for an event it’s what are we doing with water bottles and compost and should include a plan for Ewaste/ old electronics).
  • Toxins (for an office this would be "what are we cleaning with?", or "how do we get rid of our electronics waste responsibly?", or for the event, "does that mirrored confetti biodegrade?")
  • Energy (this can be looking at fan transportation - which is a huge burden on the impact of the event - or for an office switching your lights to LED)
  • Regeneration (This is the giving back element. This can be strictly “green” or looked at more from an holistic perspective, that we should give back to our local communities)
  • Problem Identification strategies to brainstorm eco-friendly alternatives and solutions.  

These concepts can be addressed on the level of:

  • Spheres of Influence (personal and any businesses or contacts that are part of the business in some form or fashion)

  • Self (or individual staff member)

  • Office (the collective)

  • Events (all staff, contractors, fans)

The concepts of reducing, reusing, recycling, rethinking should lead our eco-policy creation.

An eco-policy can be inspired by theories or applications such as:

  • Permacultural Principles

  • Earth Charter initiative

  • Charter for Compassion

  • Cradle to Cradle

  • Biomimicry

Other resources or memberships to investigate:

  • LEED

  • Green Chamber of Commerce

  • Green America

  • Julie's Bicycle model as a sample of an in-depth policy

Samples of simplistic Eco Policies:

And now an article and call to action written by EMA Founding Member, Kira Sadler:

According to the United Nations, “music is one of the most powerful media to communicate environmental messages to billions of people worldwide...” Electronic dance music (EDM) exemplifies this statement uniquely by uniting people to a beat as opposed to lyric restricted by language. With an estimated value of $4.5 billion and a globally expanding audience, the EDM industry has the opportunity to create a new era of sustainable festivals and to educate a global audience on the importance of environmental preservation. The Electronic Music Alliance (EMA) calls on the industry as a whole to take action and use our creative, celebratory culture to protect the resources and planet we depend on.

EMA is dedicated to ensuring that our parties and joy do not come at the expense of the environment. EDM festivals from around the world already provide brilliant examples of practices the industry could adopt as standards to green our clubs and festivals. Lightning in a Bottle’s (LIB) “free water initiative” offers water to all with a reusable container. This practice reduces festival waste dramatically and also provides for healthier, more hydrated participants. LIB hosts environmental workshops on sight to educate interested individuals on do-it-yourself practices that can be adapted for their home community. To ensure effectiveness, LIB hosts an audit each year to grade their environmental performance.

Each August full moon, Portugal hosts the BOOM festival, widely acknowledged as the greenest EDM festival in the world. In addition to providing free water, event staff built an environmentally friendly water treatment unit which is used to treat 100% of wastewater. Composting toilets were built over the years and most recent figures state that 98% of the toilets on site are composting, leading to no black water waste. BOOM currently aims to produce 25% of the required power for the event with renewable resources such as solar and wind. LED lighting reduces energy consumption in all public areas and on art installations. The festival educates the public on waste, water usage and other environmental practices through ample signage.

BOOM’s constant effort to improve sustainable practices is exemplary of the innovation that might be adopted in the EDM industry, creating a culture that constantly transcends expectations and creates new solutions for a fun and sustainable world.

Burning Man exists uniquely among festivals. Creating a city where resources must be imported from great distance poses challenges most producers will not encounter. The circumstances of the event however, required the adoption of a leave-no-trace culture that will ideally spread to all festivals and clubs. When event organizers don’t have to pay for extra clean up help, those resources can be allocated to more important efforts. Burning Man has acknowledged their communities unique potential to address global environmental crises and has offered the “6 Rs”: Respect, Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Restore as their environmental strategy. Beginning with a position of respecting all people, environments, and objects and ending with an ethos of paying it forward adds soul to the process.

EDM leads in music, so why not take the lead in sustainability? Each festival or club event should incorporate a multitude of actions to become more sustainable and the industry as a whole should create a comprehensive strategy for environmental sustainability. Any of the below actions (as well as others) could be incorporated into this plan:

  • Composting food

  • Offering local and organic food choices both in food vendors and back stage

  • Consider food purchase from CSAs where available

  • Provide free water to attendees who bring re-usable bottles

  • Use signage and messaging to educate festival goers on environmental issues and sustainability before, during, and after the event

  • Creating volunteer teams to sweep all areas for trash aka MOOP (matter out of place)

  • Creating eco-villages populated with environmental non-profits and others to educate and provide examples of sustainable practices

  • Reducing waste as much as possible, as well as finding ways to turn waste into revenue streams for the industry

  • Active recycling at all events

  • Greening artist entertainment and hospitality

  • Using alternative fuels and energy sources where possible

  • Creating ways to reuse essential materials brought to festivals

We are all connected intrinsically to the earth. Its resources support our health, our livelihoods, and our recreation. Nothing that we do is possible without our unique planet. As members of the EDM community we recognize our connection and we participate together with joy and celebration. In this spirit, let us be leaders in protecting that which sustains us.

Now is the time.

Questions? Contact us!

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