It’s 2018: plastic is the confirmed enemy and sustainable living is the new goal. But how does the professional audio industry measure up? The good news is, according to reports within the arts and creative sector, emissions are reducing, energy efficiency is improving and the industry is becoming more resilient. But, according to many experts, the change is not fast enough.
South-west London’s Crown Lane Studio was set up in 2005 and has always had an ambition to be totally carbon-neutral. The studios use hydro electricity, timed lighting and have full insulation.
From the largest multinationals to the smallest startups, there are things we can all do to move our sector closer towards being sustainable – here are some suggestions for the studio sector.
1. Measure your impact
It’s important to be aware of the environmental effects of your business. London-based charity Julie’s Bicycle has a range of resources to help you measure your environmental impact, suitable for all kinds of businesses. The charity launched in 2007 to encourage creative enterprises to approach business in more environmentally friendly ways. It has since helped large venues create a sustainable business plan to tackle climate change. Go to their website for some ideas on how you can get started (www.juliesbicycle.com).
2. Shop around for sustainable kit
Could you lead development in using more sustainable materials? Could manufacturing be brought closer to home? Perhaps carbon-neutral delivery companies could be used? Genelec monitors, for example, use 95% recycled aluminium in their construction, and the company strives for sustainability in all stages of product development.
3. Take pride
Consumers are waking up to sustainability and aren’t fooled by the greenwashing that unfortunately still occurs. At our studio in Morden, south-west London, the whole process is carbon-neutral, meaning that any band who rehearses, or any recording released is 100% carbon-neutral. Artists are proud of this, as we’ve made it easy for them to make a positive impact and spread the word.
4. Plan ahead
Sustainability is a lifelong journey, but however small, it’s important to start. In time, develop a clear plan, and embed it into policy and handbooks so future decisions have a positive impact on our planet and sustainability becomes part of the culture.
5. Change energy suppliers
Sometimes the simple decisions have the biggest impact. Changing energy suppliers, or switching to a true green tariff can make huge changes.
6. Apply for a grant
There are still many grants available for sustainable changes to your business. At Crown Lane, we regularly start by approaching both our local council [London Borough of Merton], and business support organisations [Merton Chamber of Commerce] to see what grants are available. Most recently, we received substantial support in upgrading all our air conditioning units and received a free sustainability survey.
7. Take initiative
In 2016 we realised guitar string manufacturer D’Addario was recycling guitar strings, but only in the US. We approached them, and after a few phone calls, they offered to send a string recycling box to our studios in London, ahead of rolling out the scheme across Europe.
8. Celebrate your successes
Although being sustainable benefits the planet, entering awards for your sustainable endeavours benefits everyone, as others are inspired and you reap the rewards. Crown Lane won the Best Green Business at the Merton Best Business Awards 2015.