The carbon-neutral Flow Festival’s new Sustainability Rider is a ready-to-use set of clauses that artists can add to their existing riders — tackling items from transportation and food to recycling and energy production.
Helsinki’s Flow Festival, one of the hottest music festivals in the Nordics, attracts some of the music scene’s biggest names and most interesting up-and-comers. Aside from the quality of its performers, the 15-year-old festival has become known for its ambitious environmental work. Flow’s responsibility program, Sustainable Flow — which sets guidelines for everything from energy production and waste management to sustainable meals offered by food vendors — has made Flow one of the first carbon-neutral festivals in the world.
Now, along with its sustainability partner Neste — the world’s largest producer of renewable diesel — Flow wants to encourage the music industry to do its share in battling the climate crisis. This year’s festival (August 9-11) sees the launch of the Sustainability Rider, a tool intended for artists to push the industry to take environmental action.
Artist riders are notorious for allowing performers to demand the ultimate indulgences to ensure their comfort at a venue — now, in addition to (or instead of) insisting on a case of Evian water with which to wash their hair, artists can specify a number of sustainability measures, such as avoiding single-use plastics, ways of minimizing the carbon footprint of flying, recycling, sustainable ground transport and climate-conscious refreshments. So far, the Sustainability Rider has been adopted by artists including Neneh Cherry and Theo Parrish, both performing at Flow this weekend.
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“Sustainable choices are a part of Flow’s DNA. Over the years, we’ve shown that creating an environmentally conscious event does not mean compromising quality or making the experience any less unforgettable. Sharing responsible values with our partners, artists as well as festival goers makes Flow Festival a global forerunner in sustainability matters,” says Milla Valjus, Flow Festival’s Marketing Manager.
The sustainability clauses are put in place to encourage event and festival producers to think about how their events are produced. The clauses in the rider are all issues that Flow Festival has been successfully working on for a number of years, and therefore completely doable. Flow Festival has raised sustainability issues in the backstage area before, engaging some of the biggest artists in the world.
Now, Flow and Neste are encouraging artists, music festivals and venues all over the world to get proactive on these issues —adapting Flow’s Sustainability Rider for their own use.
“Neste and Flow share ambitious climate targets, and this collaboration is a prime example of sustainable choices that we can offer to large events, such as Flow Festival. We need all the possible ways to tackle the climate crisis,”* *says Sirpa Tuomi, Marketing Director at Neste. “I’m happy that we could provide our sustainability expertise to introduce the Sustainability Rider for the artists while continuing to offer our Neste MY Renewable Diesel to reduce the festival’s greenhouse gas emissions.”
Neste has taken a unique approach to building a better future, particularly in the US: In addition to being sustainability partner of Flow Festival, Neste was also the official sustainability partner for Super Bowl 50 Host Committee, and teamed up with spoken-word artist Prince Ea to call out the US' antiquated education system, in 2016; it is now working with companies including IKEA, Air BP, Alaska Airlines and The City of San Diego.