A Q&A with Steve Taylor, Ideeas

IdeeasTell us a bit about yourself Steve and your experience working in sustainability at events?

'The interest in sustainability and the environment has grown significantly in recent years and my responsibilities have grown from a simple environmental protection role to one which encompasses waste and recycling, renewable energy, community benefits, ethical procurement, water conservation, transport and so on. At my first event, I had to make sure that festival goers did not pollute watercourses. I still do this, but I now manage a team who cover around 10 different aspects of sustainability. And we are monitored and measured, successfully winning Greener Festival awards whilst keeping the statutory environmental protection bodies happy.'


Why did you move into sustainability? Can you tell us about some of the projects you are working on at the moment?

'I’ve always been interested in the environment but sustainability includes so much more. Working in Malawi last year I realised that the biggest issue was trying to help the local community benefit from the festival. This led to some outreach events in the villages and a distribution of empty water bottles which local children collect for the deposit. In other areas the key issue might be to ensure local businesses gain economic benefits by winning contracts at the event, while in others we are encouraged to be more innovative using for example our Recycling Bikes and energy generating dance floors.'


What have been your greatest successes in events whilst working at ideeas?

'There have been some important and notable achievements, such as securing an 80% recycling rate at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Festival 2104, based on my plans for appointing Recycling Ambassadors, using compostable packaging and making Recycling a fun part of the event. This year at T in the Park, which has moved to a new site adjacent to sensitive salmon fishing rivers, I can state comfortably that the water quality did not suffer at all – our monitoring equipment and protection of the water through silt fencing, a no-cans-in-the-river programme and volunteer litter picking efforts, ensured that the water quality was of a high standard throughout the event including the build and break periods. But overall, I think the biggest achievement is getting other festival staff to take an interest in the environment and discover that sustainability can be fun and beneficial and not just another box to be ticked.'

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