UMG appoints first head of sustainability as Coldplay posts emissions update

Image: Coldplay. Pictured: Fans using bikes to generate electricity at a concert.

UMG is one of the world’s largest music groups and owns record labels including Abbey Road Studios, Polydor Records, Island Records and Virgin Music Group. Its cohort of artists include Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, Adele and Justin Bieber.

UMG this week confirmed the formation of its first in-house ‘global impact team’, in a bid to enhance and join up its work on community engagement and environmental sustainability.

Chief executive Sir Lucian Grainge said: “The formation of the team reflects our commitment not only to accelerating our work in these critical areas but to do so in a way that leverages the experience and talent of these exceptional individuals to drive positive impact across our company, our industry and in the communities in which we serve.

“With this new structure, we are ensuring that these functions are not siloed, but rather positioned to meaningfully influence all aspects of our global strategy.”

Susan Mazo has been selected as UMG’s chief impact officer. She has worked for the Group since 2014 and was most recently executive vice-president for social responsibility, events and special projects. She has played an instrumental role in expanding the Group’s philanthropic work and spearheading campaigns relating to issues including homelessness and mental health.

UMG has also chosen Dylan Siegler as its first head of sustainability. Siegler is joining the firm from GreenBiz Group, where she managed one of North America’s largest annual sustainable business events. She also has experience working in sustainability across a range of sectors including the public sector, technology, communications and electric utilities.

The team additionally comprises vice-president of global impact Markie Ruzzo, senior director of global impact and communications Sharlotte Richie, and Menna Demessie, who heads up UMG’s task force for meaningful change.

Demessie is a trained political scientist specialising in equity and inclusion. She has worked within UMG on the task force for almost four years. Ruzzo and Richie, meanwhile, are expanding their remit from existing senior communications roles within UMG.

Coldplay’s emissions update

In related news, UMG artist Coldplay have this week posted an update on the actions they have taken to reduce the climate impact of their recent ‘Music of the Spheres’ world tour. The tour included 18 shows in 2023.

Coldplay confirmed that the carbon footprint of the tour was 59% lower than its previous one in 2016-2017. The band had been aiming for a 50% reduction at a minimum.

The tour was hosted in accordance with a 12-point plan to lower emissions, after the band stated two years before setting off that they would only tour again if they were able to work towards a net-positive environmental and social impact.

Changes implemented included the introduction of power bikes and kinetic dancefloors to generate renewable energy to power venue operations. The band also switched from diesel generators to energy storage packs made using second-life BMW vehicle batteries and worked with venues to cut waste, enhance recycling and encourage fans to use public and active transport.

A statement from Coldplay thanked the “all the brilliant people” who made a lower-carbon tour possible, including fans.

It adds: “As a band, and as an industry, we’re a long way from where be need to be on this. But we’re grateful for everyone’s help so far, and we salute everyone who is making efforts to push things in the right direction.”

Related news: How London’s O2 Arena hosted the world’s first carbon-removed concerts

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