Seize Opportunities to Create Long-Term System Value with Creative Industries

Coldplay, everyone’s favorite band, is presently shocking with their world tour “Music of the Sphere,” anticipated to be the most sustainable music event after a four-year break.

Chris Martin, the lead vocalist of Coldplay, said in a 2019 BBC interview that the band would not be doing any more concerts on the road until they could provide greener forms of entertainment. After enticing 5.4 million spectators with exhilaration throughout the 122-city tour of A Head Full of Dreams 2016–2017, Coldplay’s choice drew the media’s and fans’ attention. This reflects a 2015 UK study that found five prominent musicians’ concerts emit more than 19 metric tons of CO2. Meanwhile, the Green Touring Network predicts that one live performance in the United Kingdom could release 405,000 metric tons of GHG emissions annually. Approximately fifty percent of all emissions may be traced back to either the venue or the travels of the crowd. Some responses criticized their announcement as only a publicity stunt to promote the release of their “Everyday Life” album, which was not as successful as their previous record, and ticket prices were rising.

Regardless of gimmick or otherwise, Coldplay has shown its commitment to staging a worldwide tour dubbed “Music of the Sphere” in 2022, which conveys the notion of sustainability. According to the Coldplay website, this British rock band adopts three principles: reduce, reinvent, and restore. They strive to reduce carbon emissions by 50%, as well as to reinvent new green technology and ultra-low carbon methods, and actively restore the environment by funding different green initiatives that aid in CO2 reduction throughout the trip.

The band Coldplay developed a strategy to make their performances environmentally friendly, even carbon neutral. In his interviews, Chris Martin believes that there will always be other enterprises or organizations capable of addressing the issue of climate change. “But then you realize there is no such thing as them; they are you.” This message then becomes a reflection and notion of opportunities for collaboration to promote sustainable initiatives to the public with the involvement of multiple stakeholders.

Creating Sustainable System Value in the Creative Industry

Coldplay collaborates with various environmentally conscious businesses and non-governmental organizations on a 12-point strategy to reduce their carbon footprint in logistics, travel, stage performances, electricity, water, waste management, food, fans, and project finance. Some green project highlights include an LED wristband, kinetic energy floors & static bicycles to generate power, Portable Recycled Battery, Sustainable and Ethically Sourced Merchandise, Food Bank Partnership, and Sustainable Aviation Fuel-Based Flights. They also work with SAP to create mobile apps that use a gamification model and provide incentives for discounts on merchandise to audiences who are dedicated to choosing environmentally responsible travel alternatives.

Not only does Coldplay care about the environment, but they also ensure that their performances are inclusive and accessible to everyone. They provide local sign language interpreters, sensory packs for fans with autism, and touch tours for guests who have low vision or blindness.

The bold and brave endeavor raised the bar for other bands and performers to include ESG elements in their operations. It turns out that the creative sector company may also evolve, concentrating on earning money from tours and utilizing revenues for a more significant cause because the business’s mission has evolved beyond shared values of profit, the environment, and social responsibility. However, transitioning to a more ethical, long-term value system is underway. Whereas the creative industry is part of the social sector, both are part of the broader environmental context. As a result, everything the business undertakes will result in exponential development in economic, social, and environmental systemic value creation.

Fans Create a Green Culture of Change

As UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Jack Johnson said, “Fans have a powerful voice to promote environmental issues such as climate action, plastic waste reduction, and food security.”

Having a solid sustainability campaign message is a goal that everybody can accomplish. Campaign messages advocating to protect the environment have been widely disseminated through movies, posters, and essays issued by governments, corporations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). However, it is a different story to inspire others to pay attention, take it in, and put it to use.

Despite the rise of inflation and increasing costs, the green concert effort was favorably greeted by spectators, environmental activists, and scholars. As of June 2, 2023, Coldplay has stated that they can reduce direct carbon emissions (show production, freight, band, and crew travel) by 47% from the previous tour, plant more than 5 million trees in 17 countries, deploy one solar powered River Interceptor to reduce plastic waste in the sea, produce an average of 15kWh of energy per concert, distribute 3,770 meals, and donate 73 kg of toiletries and financial support to several environmental organizations.

This development is a direct outcome of the previous years’ worth of traveling around Europe and Latin America, which drew over 3.8 million spectators and grossed over $407 million. More than 7 million people are expected to attend the Asia and Oceania concert tour until it finishes. Therefore, the economic, social, and environmental effects will be amplified.

It’s worth recognizing that there is a sizable fanbase for each given artist, band, or public figure and that it exists entirely on the merits of the fans’ will. Excitement and extreme or obsessive fanaticism influence people’s willingness to take on various actions. The influence of this passionate attitude tends to make individuals less concerned with themselves, illogical, and closed-minded. Aside from the negative consequences, this fanatical fan phenomenon can create a culture of change.

Collaborations of Multiple Stakeholders

Coldplay’s projects have captured more than just the media’s and fans’ attention. The President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, even requested this UK rock band to visit and play at COP30, which will be held in Brazil in 2025 after discussions on the environment, hunger, and sustainability. Not only Coldplay, before there was BTS-a Korean idol group who worked with the UN to promote the SDGs. It can be seen that music has also been shown to be capable of revitalizing a strict regime’s political realm.

The creative sector, particularly music, is a universal language that may impact people’s feelings and ideas regardless of their background. This business has a unique chance to inspire and share how we may live better lives. Movements promoting sustainability via multistakeholder collaboration may draw on the collective power of diverse people and groups, including artists, designers, entrepreneurs, activists, and government agencies. The action is led by visionary artists and designers, with global firms and public sector agencies providing their experience, finance, and logistical assistance to increase the effect of the cause. Other enterprises, NGOs, governments, or even regions can leverage multistakeholder collaboration to draw the attention of individuals, win their hearts, gradually introduce green messages, and transform perceptions into public behavior. The path is not easy, but that does not imply it cannot be nurtured. Thus, this engagement will make the public more concerned and eager to change.

Farah Nabila Luthfiyya
Farah Nabila Luthfiyya
Farah Nabila Luthfiyya is a student of ASEAN Master in Sustainability Management, a collaborative master program designed by Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia and University of Agder, Norway. She has professional experience in communication, specializing in sustainability. She possesses a deep passion for food security, agriculture, marketing and actively seeks ways to integrate sustainability principles into her work.