As the only festival in Sweden, and as the first music festival in the world in 2013, Way Out West holds an ISO 20121 certification. That implies sustainability on three different levels (environmental, economic and social) and these are also the elements underpinning Way Out West’s entire sustainability work.
Environmental sustainability: the earth only produces a certain amount of raw materials every day. Way Out West should not contribute to consume more than that amount. The festival’s ecological footprint should be reduced for every year.
Economic sustainability: as the company behind Way Out West, Luger takes responsibility for having economic long-term sustainability for the festival and its audience. This is in order to get the business together so that as many people as possible can visit the festival and to ensure Way Out West lasts.
Social sustainability: we take into account all employees, visitors, suppliers, partners and artists, and make sure they all feel good at Way Out West. The same goes for the city of Gothenburg and its residents who all in different ways are affected by the festival’s presence.
Way Out West is a vegetarian festival – which applies for all visitors, workers and artists (yep, there have been a few discussions over the years). Nowadays that fact may be viewed as uncontroversial, but when we announced the news in 2012 it caused quite a stir and a big social debate. The meat and dairy industry accounts for 14,5% of the greenhouse gas emissions globally*, which exceeds the emissions from the transport sector (cars, boats, trains, planes, others). By becoming vegetarian we lowered our emissions by 40% – and 15% of the festival’s visitors say they eat more veggie food after they’ve been to Way Out West. Yay!
During 2019 year’s festival, the carbon footprint from an average meal was 0,38 kg CO2e, which is below WWF’s One Planet Plate recommendation of 0,5 kg CO2e. We also CO2e marked the menus at the festival so you could easily make a decision when you wanted to eat and drink.
The climate issue is more important than it has ever been and we need a genuine and honest change, not small cosmetic changes just to get another pat on the back. We will continue to drive the question of how to make the production of the event more sustainable and to do this in a credible way we must be transparent and report what the climate figures look like. Together with Carbon Cloud, Svalna and Oatly, we will make Way Out West the world’s first climate transparent music festival. The climate footprint for food, drink, transport, accommodation and energy, down to portaloo usage and mobile charging stations, will be reported with complete transparency before next year’s festival. A climate budget will be created to ensure the festival’s footprint continues to reduce year-on-year.
To us, working with sustainability means working with all aspects of sustainability – not least the social parts. We don’t tolerate any form of discrimination at Way Out West. Everyone is welcome at the festival and we strive hard to make sure all employees, visitors, suppliers, partners and artists, feel good at Way Out West.
Gender equality is a priority for Way Out West and to us, having a 50/50 gender split line-up is something that goes without saying. Since 2017, Way Out West has worked closely together with West Pride in order to stand up for human rights and join forces for a more inclusive society, free from prejudice and discrimination – starting with an LGBT certifying of the festival. In cooperation with the anti-drug initiative Let’s Hear it from the Crowd and other concert and festival organisers, we take all the necessary steps to prevent people from being in touch with narcotics at live music events. In the project Dare to Care we work closely with RFSU and Svensk Live to create a safe environment without sexual harassment and assault within the live music world – and society at large. People come to Way Out West to relax and have fun, no one should ever be afraid.
In addition to all the music and films, Way Out West also hosts inspiring on stage-discussions called WOW Talks, where sustainability in different forms is the basis for the conversations. Over the years we’ve had discussions about bees dying at an alarming rate, food waste, future electricity supply, racism and equality. Among the participants, we’ve had scientists, ministers, experts and speakers such as Chelsea Manning and Henry Rollins. With WOW Talks as a platform, we hope to inspire, bring knowledge and give clarity on various important issues – all in the name of a better and more sustainable world.
Starting in 2019, we removed single-use plastic plates, cutlery and straws from the festival. The EU has banned all these single-use plastics from 2021, but Way Out West wanted to start earlier than that. In the long term, we want to remove all single-use plastic items in our business, reduce the use of plastics in general and strive for increased recycling.