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The Carbon Footprint of Ilosaarirock Festival

Ilosaarirock has worked for years to diminish the environmental strain that the festival inevitably produces. A significant strain caused by the festival are the carbon emissions, and Ilosaarirock decided to take this issue to heart. Examining the carbon footprint and measuring it annually help to reduce emissions and to make the festival more environmentally friendly.

Study on greenhouse emissions

Ilosaarirock had a study made of the 2011 festival regarding the emissions and carbon footprint produced by the festival. The aim of the study was to map the emissions and create indicators that could be used in future studies to count and compare the emissions. With the indicators it is possible to pin down those areas in the festival production that could be conducted more ecologically. The most important aim of the study was to reduce the emissions of the festival, in other words to shrink the carbon footprint of the festival in the future.

The size of the footprint

The carbon footprint of Ilosaarirock Festival consists of three parts. The first part is the programme, i.e. the emissions caused by the journeys of the artists, both domestic and cross- border. The second one is the emissions caused by the production of the festival, including technical construction, transportation of goods, electricity consumption, waste management and the production of printed materials. The third part is the emissions caused by the journeys made by the festival audience. In this context, the distances covered were estimated on the basis of an audience survey.

The total greenhouse gas emissions by the Ilosaarirock Festival in 2011 were 513 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. This is almost 18% less than in year 2010.

The emissions caused by the programme and the production are equal to the emissions incurred by driving 26 times around the world by car. A similar amount of emissions as that caused by the journeys made by the audience would be released from 73 flights around the globe. The whole greenhouse gas emission load is similar to 339 return flights from Finland to New York or 2,175 car trips from the one end of Finland to the other.

Compensation for greenhouse gas emissions

Ilosaarirock is committed to minimize its carbon foorprint and to pay compensation for its greenhouse gas emissions. The aim of the festival is to be carbon neutral and environmentally friendly. However, it isn't possible to make a zero emissions festival. This is why the annual emissions, which will hopefully diminish, are compensated. The compensation price is determined according to the EU emissions trading scheme's prices. The sum is given to an annually chosen nature conservation project.

The projects shortlisted for the compensation are sought in the Northern Karelia area together with UNESCO's North Karelia Biosphere Reserve and the Metso programme for forest biodiversity. In 2012, the project to receive the compensaton is the lake named Kuorinka, situated close to Joensuu.

The carbon footprint is a widely used measurement of the greenhouse gas impact of a certain product, service or even person. The main greenhouse gases that create the greenhouse effect and accelerate the climate change are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrogen oxide (N2O). A commonly used unit is a ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (t CO2e). The equivalent indicates the total global warming potential on the 100-year scale of all three gases (CO2 valued as 1, CH4 as 23 and N2O as 296). The vast majority of emissions are caused by burning fossil fuels.