‘No substitute for collective action’: Massive Attack and University of Manchester seek to reduce music industry climate impact

Bristol-based band Massive Attack are joining forces with The University of Manchester to tackle the music industry’s environmental impact.

Troubled by the growing climate emergency, the trip-hop three piece, together with climate scientists from the University’s Tyndall Centre, hope to provide information and guidance to the industry on how it can reduce its negative environmental contribution.

Launching the partnership, the band said: “For some time, despite taking consistent steps to reduce the environmental impact associated with an internationally touring band, we’ve been concerned and preoccupied with the carbon footprint of our schedules and the wider impact of our sector overall.”

Researchers at the Tyndall Centre – a collaborative body of scientists, economists, engineers and social scientists – will study the band’s forthcoming tour to identify sources of carbon emissions.

Band travel and production, audience transportation and venue impact will all be investigated to produce a framework of options for reducing the industry’s carbon footprint.

Dr Chris Jones, a Research Fellow at the Centre, said: “Every industry has varying degrees of carbon impact to address and we need partnerships like this to look at reducing carbon emissions across the board.”

However, Dr Jones has suggested that the findings of the project could trigger huge changes across the whole music industry.

He said: “[The report] will likely mean a major shift how things are done, involving not just the band but the rest of the business and the audience.”

Environmental conversations are growing within the music industry, with Glastonbury Festival banning single-use plastics earlier this year, but Massive Attack acknowledge that more needs to be done to make a difference. 

“Any unilateral statement or protest we make alone as a band will not make a meaningful difference. In pursuing systematic change, there is no substitute for collective action.”

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