Setting green standards for festivals and cultural events

Summer festival organisers are hard at work during the festival season, and public authorities often purchase the suppliers and services used. LIFE GreenFEST is helping administrations to adopt greener buying measures through more sustainable tenders.

Public authorities can be strong supporters of sustainable services because of their significant purchasing power. By choosing services and goods and upgrading their supply chains, they can help countries move towards more resource-efficient economies.

But they need help to make the shift. In Italy, green public procurement and minimum environmental criteria are mandatory since 2015. Yet in the field of cultural activities specifically, European common criteria for green public procurement do not yet exist.

The project LIFE GreenFEST is focusing on training public authorities in Italy to choose more environmentally-friendly, sustainable goods when tendering for cultural events like music festivals, shows or exhibitions. This process, known as green public procurement, describes how public authorities buy goods and services which have a reduced environmental impact throughout their whole lifecycle. 

EU-wide application

“Italy is the first European country that has decided to elaborate these criteria”, said project manager Egidio Longoni of Anci Lombardia. And using the criteria developed by LIFE GreenFEST, with the necessary adjustments and integration, the European Commission (DG Environment) would be able to develop criteria at European level within its green public procurement toolkit and make them an integral part for all European countries.

The project’s minimum environmental criteria for the cultural sector were the result of wide consultation with stakeholders and market suppliers, and borrowed some aspects from already-established criteria in other sectors. They cover all phases of the tender process, including candidate requirements and rewarding criteria, and define environmental aspects to be considered – location, energy consumption, waste management, staff training, and so on.

The criteria for tenders pay special attention to:

  • calculation of CO2 consumption;
  • risk management from climate change;
  • destination of waste food;
  • sustainable mobility;
  • health and safety;
  • development of the territory;
  • packaging and cleaning products to be used at the event.

46 operators, institutions and public administrations across Italy have signed a memorandum of understanding [pdf, Italian] so far, cementing the criteria in their future tendering.

On display

Time in Jazz is a big international event, now in its 32nd year. After working with LIFE GreenFEST since 2017, this year’s edition will apply the minimum environmental criteria put together by the project.
“It’s one of the most sought-after events of the European Jazz summer”, explained Mrs Lentini, project manager for the Association TECLA. “By applying these minimum environmental criteria, the event is preparing itself for the green tender and green regulation templates.”

Training for the future

LIFE GreenFEST has asked partners from local government to identify future cultural events where the new minimum environmental criteria could be applied. The aim is to train these partners with the tools they need to put green tendering into practice. Sessions have already been held in Rome, Milan, Cremona and Bergamo, and other municipalities are booked for training.

Partners are fully engaged to take on the new practices, In Rome for example, the Emilia Romagna Region and the Zetema society have expressed their intention to apply them to events where supply chains can be simplified, while in Lombardy the region will adopt environmental criteria for the 2020 European Youth Parliament.

The region of Lombardy is also willing to  introduce the project’s criteria in its regional water management plan, its integrated sustainable management plan, and its green public procurement plan run within the EU-funded GPP4Growth project.

Other LIFE projects

The LIFE GreenFEST team wants to extend its scope as widely as possible, and has garnered interest from other projects Life Soil4Life, Life I-Share and Life Plan Up.

Article published by the European Commission: