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Like many artists and music fans, we’re concerned about the impacts of the climate emergency. The landscape we work in is changing rapidly. According to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we have until 2030 to avoid substantial climate and ecosystem breakdown.

Arts industries – as the bedrock of culture – can play a vital role in encouraging and supporting widespread action on the climate agenda. Towards this end, we’re taking steps to reduce our environmental impact in line with the latest climate science and holding ourselves to account by publishing our progress.

You can find more information below, but also in our annual greenhouse gas inventory report. We’re appreciative of any feedback on how we can improve even more, or any ideas you think we might have missed. Please get in touch by emailing [email protected]

our commitment to sustainability

In 2022 we joined the UN Race to Zero and in doing so we joined the world’s largest coalition of non-state actors taking immediate action to halve global emissions by 2030. We publicly commit to:

measure emissions

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we’ll publish an annual report that summarises our emissions profile, to help continuously improve our understanding of the impact that we have (see below).

reduce emissions

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we’ll halve our emissions (scope 1, 2 & 3) by 2030, against a 2019 baseline with an ambition to achieve net zero by 2050.

price emissions

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for emissions that we cannot yet avoid, we’ll adopt a price per tonne based on the recommendation of our partner organisation, Murmur.

support transformative action

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with the funds from step 3, we’ll work with Murmur to support initiatives for transformational action to address climate change.

Our headline carbon emissions for UK-based and US-based operations combined are as follows:

  • 2019 – Absolute carbon emissions: 6,112 tonnes/CO2e
    • Relative carbon intensity: 3.43 Kg/CO2e per unit produced
  • 2020 – Absolute carbon emissions: 4,471 tonnes/CO2e
    • Relative carbon intensity: 3.12 Kg/CO2e per unit produced)
  • 2021 – Absolute carbon emissions: 6,485 tonnes/CO2e
    • Relative carbon intensity: 3.32 Kg/CO2e per unit produced)
  • 2022 – Absolute carbon emissions: 9,880 tonnes/CO2e
    • Relative carbon intensity: 3.58 Kg/CO2e per Unit produced

In 2022, our absolute global emissions increased by 3768 Tonnes/CO2e from our baseline year (2019). The vast majority of this increase in emissions (3502 Tonnes/CO2e) has come from our US business which has significantly grown over the 4 year period. Manufacturing our physical product remains the biggest area of emissions and has also shown the largest increase since 2019. Associated with this has been the increase in emissions associated with the distribution of these products- compounded by the challenges that there have been in the vinyl supply chain during the reporting period.

As an indicator of relative increase in carbon to increased business growth the KG CO2e / unit figure has seen a more modest growth increasing from 3.43Kg / Unit to 3.58Kg/ Unit

our commitment

office energy consumption

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• We’ve installed 45 solar PV panels at our head office, which produce a significant quantity of our energy needs, reducing our reliance on energy from the grid

• We have retrofitted our head office with the installation of energy efficient LED lighting and motion sensors throughout, as well as upgraded heating systems

• We’ve switched all server systems to cloud-based providers, which has significantly reduced IT-related energy demand. Our server providers are all ‘carbon neutral’

product manufacturing (vinyl and cds)

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• Wherever possible (supply permitting) vinyl releases contain preconsumer recycled PVC granulate, which reduces our reliance on virgin raw materials

• Sleeves are made from sustainably sourced (FSC) or recycled card, with plastic jewel case compact discs now largely discontinued

• A vast majority of releases are pressed on 140 gram vinyl, instead of 180 gram. This lighter-weight vinyl has a proportionally smaller environmental footprint, without any loss in audio quality

• Overstocks and faulty items (both vinyl and CDs) are sent to a specialist facility for material separation and recycling

distribution of physical products

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• wherever possible we prioritise road and sea freight over air freight however recent challenges in the global vinyl supply chains have impacted upon our ability to do this.

• We’re working with our distribution partners to discuss where we can achieve efficiencies and collect more granular data to measure the impact of changes in a more accurate manner

business travel

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• We encourage our staff to minimise flying and to take the train whenever possible

industry collaboration

Coordinated action is absolutely essential in order to bring about systemic change in how we make and distribute music. We’re supporting the whole industry to pull in the same direction on climate topics by elevating conversations between industry groups and providing the resources needed to undertake the same work at the same time. We’re always on the lookout for productive collaborations, and are currently active members of the following groups:

IMPALA Sustainability Taskforce
founding member and contributor to IMPALA’s Carbon Calculator

Association of Independent Music (AIM)
Climate Action Group

Music Climate Pact
founding signatory

BPI Sustainability Working Group

In addition, we give time and resources to support the development of sustainability conversations across the industry.

pricing emissions & supporting transformative action

When we first set out our stall on sustainability, we made the commitment to become a ‘carbon negative’ business (by 2022 for UK operations, and by 2024 for global operations). This involved working to measure and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions before buying carbon offsets to cancel out emissions that we could not yet remove.

Over the last few years, a groundswell of research has brought the credibility of carbon offsetting under intense scrutiny. In October 2021, new guidance was published telling businesses that they should only consider buying carbon offsets once they had reduced their emissions by 90%. At the same time, new approaches to financing climate action have emerged with a focus on achieving more holistic benefits for climate, nature and society which are not achieved through offsetting alone.

In response to this shifting consensus, we’ve changed our approach to reflect the latest guidance advocated by organisations such as WWF, and the Science Based Targets initiative. Instead of buying carbon offsets to reach ‘carbon negativity’, we’ll set an internal carbon price on each tonne of our emissions and use this money to fund projects that have more immediate and more strategic impact for society and for the music industry.

To help establish a robust mechanism for dealing with unabated emissions, Beggars is a founding member of Murmur – a charity which connects businesses in the arts with organisations doing high impact climate mitigation work.

Throughout 2022 we have worked closely with Murmur to mobilise the organisation and to help make sure our money is used in the best way on behalf of the wider music sector. Murmur’s strategic climate fund, overseen by climate experts, gives grants to climate organisations working across three areas:

  1. Climate action driving systemic change – organisations working towards highly leveraged, systemic change on the climate crisis.
  2. Decarbonising the arts – organisations that are helping to drive the decarbonisation of the arts industry.
  3. Inspiring the arts to become change agents – organisations that will empower artists and arts organisations to use their platform and help ignite widespread cultural change on climate topics.

2023 contribution

Following our commitment to take responsibility for UK-based emissions by the end of 2022, we have made a contribution to Murmur. This was based on applying a carbon price of £50 per tonne to UK-based emissions from our latest dataset (2022 annual year).

£50 per tonne is a price deemed consistent with climate science and global efforts to reach net-zero, as defined by The Grantham Institute On Climate Change and the Environment at LSE. The carbon price is set by Murmur and will change over time according to the latest climate science.