Major labels pledge to be net-zero by 2050

Major record labels Warner, Sony and Universal have pledged to halve their total carbon emissions by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050. They join an increasing number of independent labels in signing a pact to reach these targets. The Music Climate pact addresses the carbon impact of activities such as vinyl pressing, music streaming and touring which are un-sustainable at current levels. The major labels join indie labels Beggars Group, Warp, and Ninja Tune as signatories.

The pact is inspired by the COP26 climate summit and has been developed by the UN Environmental Programme. The pact also works in tandem with the SME Climate Commitment and Science Based Targets, with each signatory being bound by either one of the schemes. Part of the pledge includes a commitment to measuring carbon emissions across the music industry and to work with streaming services to identify and eliminate subsidiary emissions caused by fans who listen to music. Artists signed to the labels will also be encouraged to discuss and act upon the climate crisis.

Earlier this year, Massive Attack conducted a study into the total carbon emissions of their tours. Shocked at the findings, the band developed solutions to reduce their footprint which they will test during their 2022 tour. Meanwhile, Coldplay announced that they would refuse to tour until it can be made more sustainable. Lorde, whose record Solar Power has largely been touted as an environmental album, recently told The Evening Standard that her power to exercise environmental change is more “symbolic” than practical. ‘I’m a pop star — I’m not going to be able to halt the end,’ she said. ‘I’m going to tour a massive show around the world next year, that’s a huge footprint. The power that I have is in symbolic choices.’