Sustainability Spotlight

The global independent community is committed to promoting sustainability in the music sector. WIN’s priority in this area is to amplify the work of our members in promoting best practices and encouraging individual and collective action to address the climate and environmental emergency.

Recognizing the significant cultural impact of the music industry and the need for change, independent music trade associations around the world are leading by example through measures such as implementing eco-friendly practices in their offices and operations, joining international pledges for climate action, and developing sustainability policies, guidelines and training.  

Below is a roundup of our members’ work in Sustainability and some great flagship initiatives they have created or support: projects that are making a positive difference in the music sector and can serve as inspiration for others.

General strategies

IMPALA (Europe) has an ambitious sustainability program, which sets an overall goal of halving greenhouse gas emissions before 2030 and achieving net zero emissions before 2050. Their ground-breaking work is defined by a climate charter. They make voluntary tools available to their members including guidance, a free carbon calculator, a climate declaration, advice on climate investment solutions and more (see below). An inspirational example at international level, IMPALA’s special task force received A2IM’s Innovation in Sustainability Award.

Pledges and manifestos

The Music Climate Pact is a global platform, initiated by AIM (UK) and BPI, and supported by IMPALA, A2IM and WIN. A pathway for the global music sector, the Pact aims to bring music businesses together in the urgent call for collective action to combat the climate crisis. The next phase for the Pact, facilitated by a partnership between AIM and Murmur, was launched on Earth Day 2024.

As part of COP28 (the UN Climate Conference), ABMI (Brazil), supported a Global Call to Action to put creative industries at the heart of climate action. The initiative proposes a groundbreaking “Joint Working Decision on Culture and Climate Action”, a process that enables culture to fully contribute to climate solutions.

PMI’s(Italy) Sustainable Music Manifesto is a program of 10 targets that music industry workers and artists can commit to. It aims to raise awareness, promote environmental education, encourage initiatives to reduce environmental impact, use music as a vehicle to support better environmental policies and behavior, and maintain a dialogue with institutions.

The Music Industry Climate Collective is a new music industry alliance to address the pressing challenges and profound changes in global climate. A2IM (USA) serves as an advisor to assist with recommendations on how best to include small-to-medium-sized businesses in this initiative.

Music Declares Emergency is an international group of artists, music industry professionals and organizations calling for immediate governmental response. Their action is based on a declaration and the campaign ‘No Music On a Dead Planet’. With their info packs, they make targeted tools available to artists and industry players to take action. Several WIN members, including VTMÖ (Austria), ABMI (Brazil), CIMA (Canada), IMICHILE (Chile), IMPALA (Europe), FÉLIN (France), VUT (Germany), PMI (Italy) AMAEI (Portugal) and AIM (UK) are part of this initiative.

Carbon footprint

The IMPALA Carbon Calculator is the first bespoke carbon calculator and environmental impact measurement tool for the independent recorded music sector. The calculator is powered by Julie’s Bicycle and supported by Merlin and other contributors. The tool helps IMPALA’s members measure their carbon footprint and identify hotspots to make members’ ambitions actionable, impactful, and scalable. See testimonials here, and IMPALA’s first report on the calculator.

Developed by La Música Declara Emergencia, including IMICHILE (Chile) and the Chilean Ministry of the Environment, the MDE Calculator is a free tool in Spanish to record, measure and understand the impact of an office, rehearsal space, recording studio, tour, production, concert or festival which generates a report to define a sustainability strategy.

The French National Music Center (CNM), in partnership with UPFI (France) and other stakeholders, has launched the REC study to assess the carbon footprint of the recording sector in France. This study is part of the ecological transition roadmap of the CNM, which also provides information, training initiatives, financial support, studies and diagnostics.

Recycling, reuse, repair

LIAK (Korea) collaborates with an ongoing instrument donation and sharing program and repair shop that organizes activities such as workshops to repurpose discarded or waste instruments and create interior props.

Launched by FÉLIN (France) and open to UPFI members, RE-DISCO is the first record recycling channel for independent labels and distributors. The project facilitates the destruction of unsold records by independent labels and distributors and supports them in their ecological transition.

Other initiatives

Murmur is a charity supported by IMPALA, which enables the worlds of visual arts and music to play their part in combatting the climate crisis. It funds initiatives to help the music industry to decarbonize, empowers artists’ voices to create major societal change, and finances transformative climate work. Key independent labels are among the founders including !K7, Beggars Group, Ninja Tune and Because.

Organized by UFi (Spain), the Premios MIN, the Spanish independent music awards, are dedicated to environmental and social sustainability goals. Their strategy includes commitments on local development and suppliers, use of low-impact materials, recycling, mobility, offsetting their carbon footprint, and efficiency in water and energy consumption.

IMPALA’s Climate Training and Standards project (IMPACTS) has helped build new climate literacy capacity and standards for independent music companies in Europe to help them achieve a net zero carbon footprint.

IMPALA supports the UN’s sustainable development goals, known as SDGs, partnering the Guide to Music and the SDGs covering each of the 17 Global Goals, published by the Center for Music Ecosystems.