14 Nov 2023

The O2 launches its ‘Green Rider’, in UK arena first

  • The O2 has launched a Green Rider intended to drive industry change and make live events at the world-famous venue more sustainable
  • The Green Rider will act as a helpful guide for incoming productions, with recommendations for how to make more sustainable choices and reduce their overall environmental impact

The O2 has today announced the launch of its very own Green Rider, an industry-leading document intended to drive real change in live events and touring at the world’s most popular live entertainment, leisure, and retail destination.

The venue’s Green Rider, which is being shared with promoters and artist teams visiting The O2 from now onwards, acts as a guide for incoming productions and tours, outlining considerations and recommendations of how to make more sustainable choices and reduce the environmental impact of live events, whilst continuing to create best-in-class experiences and events for fans, bands, and brands. This includes best practice recommendations for how to reduce CO2 emissions, make more sustainable choices for equipment and materials used, reduce waste and energy consumption, and monitor an events’ carbon footprint, alongside an appendix containing useful resources and local suppliers.

Sam Booth, Director of Sustainability at AEG Europe said: “As a world-famous venue and industry-leaders in live entertainment, we have a responsibility to help drive forward the sustainability agenda for international touring and live events, and that’s exactly what we’re trying to do with The O2’s Green Rider. Working closely with organisations like A Greener Future, we’ve identified key areas where the environmental impact of a tour can be significantly reduced, and this document has been designed to directly address this. Our ambition is to create a blueprint for shows visiting the arena moving forwards, and for the wider live industry, whilst also working collaboratively with artists and touring crews to make events at The O2 more sustainable, but still a great experience for the bands and the fans.”

The creation of a Green Rider follows the announcement that The O2 will be hosting ‘carbon removed’ events as part of a worldwide arena first, in collaboration with carbon removal experts CUR8 and sustainable event specialists A Greener Future. These pilot events, taking place at The 1975’s headline shows at the venue in February 2024, will use a portfolio of carbon removal methods to physically extract the carbon generated by the events from the atmosphere and durably store it out of harm’s way.

Adam Pearson, Commercial Director at The O2 said: “The O2 arena hosts over 200 events a year with some of the biggest acts in the world, so we have a massive opportunity here to really drive the sustainability agenda forward in our industry. Sustainability forms a core part of the venue’s business strategy as we strive to reduce our overall environmental impact and ultimately achieve net zero, but we need to be aligned with the artists, promoters and touring crews that come through the door to produce truly impactful change. We’re really excited about the launch of our Green Rider and have received a really positive response from the industry so far, but the document will be ever evolving, so we welcome any suggestions for how to improve this further from the industry.”

The O2 was the first arena in England to achieve its Greener Arena certification from A Greener Future in December 2022. From the procurement of green electricity to the implementation of digital ticketing and major reductions in single-use plastic within the arena, The O2, which is visited by over 9 million people a year, has long been paving the way for greener arenas in the UK. A back of house recycling programme, state-of-the-art waste compound, green cleaning program, onsite wormery and Eco-Digester all also contribute to none of the venue’s waste going to landfill.

Significant strides have been made by The O2 relating to the venue’s food and beverage offering, with the world-famous arena going fully vegan for six Billie Eilish show dates last summer, resulting in a carbon saving of 14,000kg and the permanent removal of the beef burger from arena menus. Alongside The O2’s catering partner Levy UK + Ireland, a plant-forward menu with 70% plant-based options has been launched in the arena, alongside a food waste collection initiative with local sharing app Olio, which sees leftover food items collected from the venue and distributed to those in need within the local community. These measures all contribute towards Levy’s commitment to reach net zero at The O2 arena by 2025.

The O2’s sustainability practices and commitments sit under the venue’s broader umbrella initiative ‘Good Vibes All Round’, which was launch in 2019 and underpins The O2’s CSR work across the four pillars of sustainability, accessibility, charity, and community.