Green gi­ants: Ra­dio­head’s way for­ward

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Cover Story -

Last year, Ra­dio­head com­mis­sioned and paid for a study car­ried out by UK an­a­lysts Best Foot For­ward to ex­am­ine two of the band’s re­cent tours and to work out how to re­duce their car­bon foot­print.

“Tour­ing is very im­por­tant to us, a large part of the joy and pas­sion of what we do, and we are com­mit­ted to find­ing more re­spon­si­ble ways of do­ing it,” the band state on their web­site.

Ra­dio­head asked for a com­par­i­son of two dif­fer­ent US tours they had been on – an out-of-town am­phithe­atre tour in 2003 and a smaller, city-cen­tre theatre tour in 2006.

“We made rec­om­men­da­tions about how they could re­duce their own and their fans’ car­bon foot­print,” says Si­mon Miller, the con­sul­tant who co-or­di­nated the project.

The re­search found fan travel and con­sump­tion made up 86 per cent of the theatre tour’s foot­print and 97 per cent of the am­phithe­atre tour’s.

The am­phithe­atre show had a more detri­men­tal im­pact be­cause food was avail­able at th­ese shows and more fans drove.

For the big shows, Best Foot For­ward’s re­port showed that if just 10 per cent of car users had trav­elled by bus, it would have re­duced CO2 emis­sions by 7 per cent.

“Many [fans] were trav­el­ling by car to the con­certs, so Ra­dio­head agreed to re­struc­ture fu­ture tours and ap­pear at city-cen­tre venues that are bet­ter served by pub­lic trans­port,” says Miller.

While Miller ad­mits it was “very dif­fi­cult” to de­velop an en­ergy-ef­fi­cient tour, Ra­dio­head agreed to a num­ber of ini­tia­tives, in­clud­ing freight­ing their equip­ment by sea in­stead of by air and buy­ing two sets of equip­ment (one each for the US and Europe) to cut travel costs.

Best Foot For­ward also rec­om­mended that the band use char­tered trains for per­sonal and freight trans­port, in­stead of trucks and coaches – a move that would re­duce the car­bon im­pact in this area by 95 per cent.

While the rec­om­men­da­tions Best Foot For­ward made to Ra­dio­head could be used as a tem­plate by other tour­ing bands, Miller says that the com­pany has not yet been ap­proached by any of their peers.

“It’s a pity be­cause bands are in a unique po­si­tion to in­flu­ence peo­ple, more so than gov­ern­ments.”

Light­bulb mo­ment: Ra­dio­head aim to save en­ergy

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