How green are Keane? Richard tells you…
With Live Earth coming up this weekend, we thought you might be interested in some of the things we’ve been doing to make the Keane machine run green. Being more environmentally friendly is something we’ve been trying to improve on over the last few years, and that is why we were so enthusiastic to get involved with the Live Earth concerts when Al Gore asked.
First off, we are the first to admit that we are still a long way from being carbon neutral, and there are a lot of areas we still need to improve. We are trying to absolutely minimise the amount of flying we do, and that our crew and equipment does, as this is our most significant polluting activity. I’m writing this from the Brussels to Luxembourg train, on our way to a festival, and we’ll then take the train to Amsterdam for our next show, then back to London for Live Earth. We are also looking to use a “Gold Standard” carbon offsetting scheme (www.puretrust.org.uk), as approved by the Live Earth people for the flights we do still take.
There have been a number of things you might have noticed we’ve done to the packaging of the music we make – all the singles from ‘Under The Iron Sea’ were released on carbon neutral, biodegradable packaging, and ‘Hopes and Fears’ has recently been re-issued using the same materials – we’re proud to be the first band to do that! ‘Under The Iron Sea’ is a carbon-neutral album, with a contribution from us and our record label for every copy sold going to the Carbon Neutral Company (www.carbonneutral.com), who have invested it in these three schemes:
Landfill gas capture, Zambiza, Equador
Wind turbine construction, Karakurt, Turkey
Agricultural methane capture, Germany
On tour we do a variety of small things to try to minimise the negative impact it has on the places we go to. We have introduced tour recycling – all paper, bottles and printer cartridges, as well as the batteries which we use (although wherever possible, like in our wireless packs onstage, we now use rechargeable batteries). Everything from setlists down is printed on recycled paper, and we have an “eco rider”, such as requesting “belu” mineral water (www.belu.org), which comes in biodegradable bottles and whose profits go to clean water projects in the UK and around the world. We also use eco car services where possible (www.eco-limo.com). There are a number of other steps suggested in the Live Earth Artist handbook which we are currently investigating.
We have our own HQ, a converted barn, which has energy efficient lighting and heating / insulation. When the existing electricity contract is up for renewal we’ll swap the supply to a renewable supplier like “Good Energy” (www.good-energy.co.uk), which I also use at home. We also only use “Ecover” environmentally friendly cleaning products.
We have all taken a number of steps at home, including insulation with “thermafleece” (a sheeps-wool based home insulation); using low-energy light bulbs; buying local produce; reducing plastic bag use; cycling and so on…
We know we have a lot more to do, and we’ve been learning from the Live Earth organisation what there is we can do next. We are looking into many things they have suggested, including using a “biofuel” bus, insisting venues use renewable energy suppliers and many more things – the Live Earth concerts are showing the way in a lot of these areas, and we know there is a lot still to improve when we tour. We’re also going to take advantage of the “carbon coaching” the organisation is offering. I guess that is partly the point of Live Earth – to make everyone, including the bands involved, realise that now is the time to take these steps.
For some tips tips on how best to be green, have a look at: www.icount.org.uk/my_actions