The Sustainable Sustainability Agenda

When a recession bites hard, some festivals may be expected to shy away from their ongoing commitment to green issues, but A Greener Festival co-founder Ben Challis says he’s pleased with efforts to keep sustainability high on festival agendas.

Challis announced the latest list of 20 Greener Festival Award winners, which included U.K. events such as Camp Bestival, Sonisphere, Summer Sundae and Cambridge Folk Festival.

Other major U.K. festivals including Glastonbury, Wireless, Hard Rock Calling, Isle Of Wight, Download and T In The Park picked up the same award in the summer.

In keeping with the idea of the awards, the actual prizes are made from “recycled plastic bottles, crushed CDs and remoulded Wellington boots.”

“We had more ‘outstanding’ winners in 2009 and a 20 percent rise in applications from 2008, with more international applications than ever with five winners from Australia , four from the USA and four from mainland Europe,” Challis said, detailing the growth of what has become a recognised international award.

Despite the high number of U.K. festivals on the list of winners, Challis still feels Britain has a way to go before it has a sustainable festival business with a lighter carbon footprint.

“Much remains to be done and in the U.K., and a car centric society means that audience travel, and indeed leisure travel in general is a massive problem, clearly not helped by an obvious lack of coherent public transport policies,” he said.

The awards come in three categories, topped by the “outstanding greener festival” gong. The silver and bronze are the “greener festival” award and the “improving greener festival” award.

The overall “greener festival award” winner for 2009 will be announced at the U.K. Festival Awards at The O2 in London Nov. 19.