Independent label collective Beggars Group and Ninja Tune announced plans to go carbon negative, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Beggars Group is the company that owns or distributes records for 4AD, Rough Trade Records, Matador Records, XL Recordings and Young (the label formerly known as Young Turks). Ninja Tune is a London-based label known primarily for electronic and experimental music.
Both label companies are founding members of IMPALA’s Sustainability Programme, a program that aims to cut down on waste and encourage recycling among independent labels for a sustainable future. They hope to put pressure on vinyl pressing plants to move to renewable energy sources and to greatly limit the amount of freight and travel-related emissions. They’ve also already installed renewable energy systems inside their headquarters in London.
Beggars Group CEO Paul Redding stated, “Music has the power to help catalyse societal action on the climate crisis so it’s vital that businesses like ours do all we can to help protect the environment. We can’t do it alone. We’re just one small part of a broader community made up of artists, music associations and suppliers, and it’s essential that we work in a coordinated way to address sustainability issues together as an industry.”
They announced that Beggars Group has a whole new operations strategy built around climate science. They hired a Head of Sustainability, Will Hutton, who has been working with the group on new policies for sustainability, such as this new initiative to become a carbon negative company. The business pledges to reduce emissions to nearly half their previous amount by 2030. Apparently, there are further details in the emissions report, which haven’t been shared in full.
“To get to work on measuring and reducing our impact as quickly as possible, we took the decision to focus on UK-managed operations (about two-thirds of our business) at the outset of the project in September 2020,” Hutton clarified. “Over the summer of 2021, we will expand our data collection and analysis efforts to cover US-managed operations too, giving us a comprehensive oversight of the global business. We’ve worked hard to make sure the pathway we have established is built on rigorous analysis of available data. We will continue to collaborate with partners across our supply chain to improve the availability and accuracy of information for the benefit of the whole record industry.”
Ninja Tune hopes to become carbon neutral as soon as the end of this year, and will work on becoming carbon negative after they achieve that. They’ve begun measuring their environmental impact and will reduce their carbon footprint by focusing on helping the environment through tree planting, rainforest protection and similar initiatives.
“The climate crisis is already affecting millions of people, governments need to act now,” Label chair Peter Quicke commented. “Ninja Tune’s net zero commitment reflects an active drive towards sustainability, but it’s also a call for widespread change.”
The music industry has only begun cracking down on carbon emissions recently, with labels such as Dirty Hit leading the charge to fight climate change. In 2019, Coldplay even skipped an Everyday Life tour to bring attention to sustainability. In other efforts to enact positive change in the world, Ninja Tune also rebooted Big Dada, a label run by and for Black, POC and other minorities.