The O2 announces the world’s first carbon removed arena events

  • The O2 is the first arena worldwide to announce that it will be hosting ‘carbon removed’ events, in collaboration with carbon removal experts CUR8 and sustainable event specialists A Greener Future
  • Taking place at The 1975’s headline shows in February 2024, will see the world-famous venue remove over 100 tonnes of residual carbon emissions per event, thereby neutralising the carbon impact, as part of an industry-leading pilot

The O2, the world’s most popular live entertainment, leisure and retail destination, has announced that it will be hosting the world’s first carbon-removed arena events at The 1975’s headline shows in February 2024. These pilot events will use a portfolio of carbon removal methods to physically extract the carbon generated by the events from the atmosphere and durably store it out of harm’s way– a game-changing step on the path to helping the global live events industry reach genuine net-zero.

Since achieving its Greener Arena certification in December 2022, and being the first arena in England to do so, The O2, which is owned and operated by AEG Europe, has been working closely with A Greener Future on how to best quantify and reduce the emissions resulting from live events. For these pilot events, The O2 has also teamed up with CUR8, which specialises in the timely and durable drawdown of CO2, through high-quality carbon removal portfolios. With CUR8’s expertise, the venue can now predict the emissions of an event in advance of it taking place, based on expected outputs for categories including catering, travel/transport and electricity, which equates to over 100 tonnes per show for The 1975 at The O2.

Using this data, the cost of removing the carbon associated with the events can be folded into the existing business model. AEG Europe, alongside The O2 arena’s hospitality partner Levy UK + Ireland, have accounted for the removal costs in their operations, while emissions for audience travel are estimated based on travel surveys and covered by a 90p investment which has been incorporated into the event ticket price.

If successful, the intention for these pilot events is to create a best practice-model for venues, promoters and tours worldwide on how to execute a carbon-removed event, and more broadly, to encourage and inspire the reduction of carbon emissions in the live entertainment industry as it transitions to a low-carbon future.

Sam Booth (Director of Sustainability at AEG Europe) commented: “We’re incredibly proud to be hosting the world’s first carbon removed events here at The O2. The perfect large-scale carbon-free event does not currently exist, but while the industry continues to innovate and improve to reduce emissions to their lowest possible level, carbon removals will remain an important piece of the puzzle. As a world-leading venue, we have a responsibility to create a path for real change, and it’s our hope that this event will not only deliver the same best-in-class experience that fans expect at The O2, but also one that’s supporting vital climate work and is better for the planet. Thank you to The 1975, CUR8, A Greener Future and all of our partners who have collaborated with us on this – it’s going to be game-changing not just for us but the industry as a whole, and is a fantastic way to kick off an exciting 2024 at The O2.”

Mark Stevenson (Co-Founder and Chief Impact Officer at CUR8) added: “The world desperately needs to decarbonise, and we’ve been hugely impressed with the work that The O2 has been doing with A Greener Future to continually drive down their emissions. What’s great about these shows is that we can demonstrate that it is now possible fold the cost of removing the residual CO2 into the existing business model, such that fans won’t notice any difference in the gig experience. As The O2 continues to drive down emissions going forward, the investment per gig for carbon removals will only get smaller. It’s a complete win-win-win – for artists and their fans who care about the climate crisis, for venues and the live events supply chain, who can now realise a route to a scientifically and legally compliant net-zero position, while helping CUR8 to invest in building the carbon removals operating system for the planet.”

From the procurement of green electricity to the implementation of digital ticketing and major reductions in single-use plastic within the arena, The O2, which is visited by over 9 million people a year, has long been paving the way for greener arenas both in the UK and worldwide. A back of house recycling programme, state-of-the-art waste compound, green cleaning program, onsite wormery and Eco-Digester all also contribute to none of the venue’s waste going to landfill.

Continuing a path towards net zero, The O2 is also developing a Green Rider for incoming tours and productions – an industry-leading document containing recommendations for how to make more sustainable choices and reduce the overall environmental impact of live events, due to be released later this year.

The O2’s sustainability practices and commitments sit under the venue’s broader umbrella initiative ‘Good Vibes All Round’, which was launched in 2019 and underpins The O2’s CSR work across the four pillars of sustainability, accessibility, charity, and community.