The Coldplay Effect: Top 5 Ways Performers Can Make a Positive Impact

The Coldplay Effect: Top 5 Ways Performers Can Make a Positive Impact

By: Emily Kane Miller

Last June, Coldplay – usually known for musical releases – dropped something that we at Ethos think is even cooler … a sustainability report, which lays out a very clear path for the band to make their current tour “as sustainable and low-carbon as possible.” 

But just as important as the content is the subtext – it’s clear that this group of leaders is trying their best to effectively deal with the environmental realities of their industry. Tours require lots of people, stuff, energy and travel – all of which can add up to a significant negative impact to the planet.

Lightening their footprint is heavy work, which is why Coldplay has brought an implementation team and third-party experts to measure and verify they are meeting their goals (and make adjustments when the data shows shortfalls). What’s more, the band is sharing clear, transparent details to help others not just feel inspired by their efforts, but understand how they can take action in their own sphere of influence, too.  

Any industry can learn from Coldplay’s efforts here: leadership matters, leverage expertise, stay accountable, and bring others with you.

That said, if you are performer, and feel inspired – here are the top 5 ways we’d be thinking about how to bring down the house with your impact work on your next tour:  

1. Sustainability 
While not every group has Coldplay’s resources, any act can begin by thinking creatively about how to reduce their own footprint. This may mean considering clean or fuel-efficient vehicles, or ensuring the venues you work with have thoughtful strategies for recycling, energy usage, and the like. Maybe you can use upcycled merch, or source goods locally (less shipping = reduced carbon). Can you take paper out of the equation 

2. Make a difference on an issue that matters most to you, one community at a time
It can be tempting to simply divert a % of proceeds to support a national effort, but this approach begs the question – how are those resources impacting the people you meet and greet along the way? As you travel, you can learn a tremendous amount about the communities you visit. By asking local partners (whether a venue or fans) how to apply support locally on a topic that’s relevant to your group, you can ultimately make a much deeper impact. By bringing resources and attention to smaller, local organizations with lower budgets, your funds and the light you shine on the work will go further. Second, you can inspire others along your journey to donate or engage on the same key issue, creating a ripple effect as you go.  

3. Convening change makers
As a group with a microphone (literally), you can act as a convening force and bring people together in unique ways. Maybe it’s spending an extra day in a city that’s important for your impact work, and bringing together partners, elected officials, and the broader community for key conversations. This can happen in big ways - through legislative action - and quieter moments. Communities often benefit from an opportunity to come together, which is your superpower.
4. A valuable asset: Tickets! 
Sometimes, it simply comes down to rolling out the red carpet. Can you use your tickets to the benefit of the cause you care about? Maybe it’s providing funds: Auctioning prime tickets can bring important bucks to the causes that matter most.  Or, it might be a thank you: Hold blocks of tickets for the people, leaders, and doers who are at the heart of the matters that matter to you.  It could even be bringing key partners into the concert experience – think highlighting youth orchestras and the like. The bottom line? Thinking about how to use your performance itself to drive home your values can really drive impact.  

5. Treat your people well.
This is true across industries, but always worth mentioning – good work starts at home. If your core team isn’t a good employer, showing up for external partners feels less the point. Whether it’s your crew, drivers, or the people who make local shows possible– be the act everyone backstage is delighted to have around.

P.S. Don’t forget to share the 360-degree view! – As we’ve seen with Coldplay, putting it all onto one page is really powerful. If this is a pain point for you, let’s talk! Ethos Tracking helps your team track, report, and share 100% of  your impact. The data can be broken down by neighborhood, issue area, and more.

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