When a live music venue decides to plant a forest in order to compensate the CO2 emissions related to its activities.
In 2014, as the 4AD Muziekclub received for the third time the «Charter Duurzaam Ondernemen» (West Flanders Sustainable Entrepreneurship Charter) they aimed to become the first cultural organisation in Flanders to be CO2 neutral.
“4AD aims to be a warm, ecological and socially engaged music club developing activities accessible to everyone.”
(Extract of their Mission Statement)
The 4AD music club has established sustainable practices such as:
in the 4AD hotel, the artists sleep on beds made from recuperation material
the café uses second-hand tables and chairs, originally from a football canteen
the 4AD in-house chefs consciously serve artists vegetarian meals
4AD has been offering fair trade products since the mid-1990s
in 1999 they were the first club to replace disposable plastic cups for re-usable cups
In 2005, they took further steps in making their live music club sustainable:
Despite these initiatives, the 4AD Music Club discovered that they emit 66 tonnes of CO2 each year.
The mobility of the audience is responsible for 90% of those emissions: the 4AD club is in a rural region not accessible by public transport.
That is why 4AD challenged themselves to become the first CO2-neutral arts house in Flanders.
And decided to plant 16,5 acres of forest in the direct vicinity of the 4AD Muziekclub to compensate for the CO2 emissions.
"From ecological cleaning products, through solar panels, to the 4AD forest: 4AD is committed to continue to investigate how our emissions can be further reduced and compensated.
Because as individuals, organisations or companies, we all play a role in the future of our planet."
- The 4AD team
The forest is located in the Groen Lint in Ostende, 10 miles away from the 4AD Muziekclub.
The plantation started in February 2016. The forest will take 40 years to grow.
The forest in 2019
Why a forest?
The idea of a forest to compensate the venue’s carbon emissions:
In Flanders, trees represent only 12% of the total surface of the territory. The average in the EU is 43%.
The Flemmish trees are endangered! There is a yearly decrease of -1,8 acres/day (2015)
Yet, trees are essential for CO2 absorption and for their cooling qualities. They protect cities from increasing temperatures.
For example: 2,5 acres in Flanders neutralizes 10 tons of carbon emissions, the seedlings cost around 3300 euros.
“A culture is no better than its woods.”
(W.H Auden, Bucolics, Part II, 1953)
“We strongly believe that culture is an engine for change. We and all of you as being part of the live music sector have a wide and international reach: audience, booking agencies, artists, etc. I believe we have the potential and the creativity to be the perfect change agents on social and ecological matters. There is so much you can do and there are many inspiring examples!"
(The 4AD team)
Forests are the subconscious of culture. How we treat our trees says a lot about who we are.
How to work with nature when you work in a live music venue?
4AD Muziekclub's tips to create a successful sustainable project:
Since 2016, 4AD is part of the DEMO project: "Sustainability and Ecology in the Music Sector and its Organisations".
11 live music venues, clubs or festivals from northern France, Wallonia and Flanders work together and with experts to find innovative, creative and trans-border sustainable solutions.
The 11 live music scenes part of the DEMO project:
Three organisations part of DEMO (the 4AD Muziekclub, the Festival Le Cabaret Vert and the Dour Festival) decided to plant trees on their sites in order to compensate their carbon emissions, favorise their local biodiversity and bring sustainable solutions to the heat increase we will face (more trees = more shade).
At Le Cabaret Vert Festival, 33 festival-goers were able to buy a tree: a lifelong guarantee for them to have a camping spot in the shade during the festival!
At Dour Festival, the trees planted were part of a project of agroforestry: sustainable management of natural ressources in order to include more trees in the landscapes and farms. The species of trees chosen were part of the local ecosystem of the region and will favorise biodiversity and the preservation of water tables, amongst other virtues.
DEMO is funded by the European Regional Development Fund.