Roadmap to a sustainable and circular festival organisation

‘Creating a fully circular festival by 2025? A very ambitious goal – but achievable if we work together!’ says Rob van Wegen, Sustainability Supervisor with Dutch Eurosonic Noorderslag festival (ESNS).

Rob van Wegen has created a 3-step roadmap model for realising long-term circular ambitions. In this article he explains how the model works and shares advice on how to implement sustainability in every layer of the festival organisation.

Rob has been working for ESNS since 2018. ‘A few years ago we asked ourselves the question: what does sustainability mean to us? We discovered that it’s an essential element of our organisation. We decided we wanted to become front-runners in the sustainable festival transition.’

Achieving long-term goals with a roadmap

ESNS joined the Plastic Promise in 2018, a Dutch platform for plastic reduction in the event industry. In 2019 they signed the Green Deal Circular Festivals. Rob: ’That was the first time I heard about the ‘roadmap’, a multiyear planning for accomplishing organisation goals. In the industry we tend to mainly focus on the next festival season. I wanted to work on long-term solutions for bigger circular issues, other than recycling waste or plastic. My ideal is to anchor sustainability and circularity in our festival DNA. The roadmap supports this ideal.’

Inspired by the Green Deal Rob decided to create a roadmap for ESNS. His research turned out into a complete step-by-step model, not just applicable to ESNS but to any kind of festival. Rob: ‘I have never created a roadmap before. I started reading, writing and drawing. I asked festivals for their experiences and feedback, talked to freelancers and even educational institutes. I felt the need to develop a format that can help any festival transition into a fully sustainable organisation.’


De tekst in dit artikel is van de Green Deal Circular festivals en het volledige interview is te lezen op 

Driving environmental & social change in the event industry