Music industry giants to plot joint course to net-zero

Sony, Universal and Warner are among the major record labels to have signed up to a new music industry pact to reach net-zero by 2050 and reduce their climate impacts in line with science in the interim.

Music industry giants to plot joint course to net-zero

The Pact is aiming to have "hundreds" of supporting organisations within six months

Launched today (14 December), the new Music Climate Pact is being spearheaded by UK-based trade bodies the Association of Independent Music (AIM ) and the BPI, with the support of the UN’s Environment Programme.

Among the initial supporters are Sony, Universal, Warner, BMG, Brownswood Recordings, Anjunabeats, Warp, Secretly Group, Ninja Tune, Full Time Hobby, Inside Recordings, !K7 Music and Beggars Group, which owns labels such as Matador, XL and Rough Trade.

There is a headline commitment to “align as a sector to de-politicise sustainability” and reach net-zero in a science-based manner by mid-century.

Underpinning this commitment are a string of actions to be taken in the short term. All signatories have stated that they will conduct an up-to-date assessment of their greenhouse gas emissions across all scopes, and use this information to develop science-based targets. By February 2022, all signatories should have either joined the Race to Zero initiative or signed the Science-Based Targets Initiative’s (SBTi) standard commitment letter. If they go down the latter route, they will have 24 months to complete the verification process.

Any businesses joining the initiative as newcomers will need to have signed up to one of these two pathways already. The Pact is targeting more than 100 signatories by June 2022.

Recognising that it may be more challenging for labels to measure emissions from digital streaming via third-party platforms than, for example, owned offices and record manufacturing, there is a commitment to partner with digital streaming platforms to obtain emissions data and to reduce emissions.

Lastly, the pact includes a commitment to use the “brainprint” of the industry – its cultural, political and social influence – as well as reducing its own emissions footprint. Labels commit to better supporting artists to speak on climate-related issues and to better communicate with fans on sustainability topics.

“The music community must take a leadership position on this most urgent of issues to support the work already being progressed by record labels to make their operations more sustainable,” said the BPI’s chief executive Geoff Taylor, also chief executive of the BRIT Awards.

“It means not just taking our own effective and coordinated industry action to respond to the climate crisis, but using the power of music to help inspire others in effecting meaningful change.”

Universal Music Group’s executive VP, chief financial officer and president of operations Boyd Muir called the initiative “an important music community initiative reflecting our ongoing commitment to combating climate change”.

Universal, like Warner, is in the process of developing a new ESG strategy including updated emissions targets. Sony Music Group’s parent firm, meanwhile, set a 2050 net-zero goal earlier this year.

As well as the record labels, AIM, BPI and UNEP, the pact is being supported by A2IM, EarthPercent, Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), IFPI, IMPALA, Julie’s Bicycle, Key Production Group, Music Declares Emergency and the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN).

Sarah George

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