Saturday, July 07, 2007

An environmental impact

At least with Live Aid, you couldn't prove that Adam Ant was taking food from starving Ethiopians. But how green are those involved in Live Earth? We've just pulled together a few notes:

Madonna

Housing
Madonna owns seven properties, scattered around the world, each taking space that could be used by other families and requiring upkeep even while sitting empty. [WebIndia]

Appeared in adverts for The Gap
The Gap is praised for being an "Environmental Protection Agency Climate Leader" in the US under the government's voluntary code for setting targets for reducing carbon footprints. However, the company hasn't actually achieved its (self-imposed and somewhat soft) targets, which makes it less a climate leader, more a whisky priest [Climate Leaders]. Furthermore, it sources clothes from around the world, adding needless journeys shipping sweaters and boxer shorts from continent to continent.

"Designed" for H&M
Leaving aside the question of if having a industry based on needing a complete new set of outfits every six months can ever be sustainable, H&M have been manufacturing clothes in Asia for the last thirty years [China Textile News 11th May 2007], and are stepping up their operartions in India, despite not actually having any retail outlets there. So everything made in the Indian stores will be shipped thousands of miles across the planet. [Images Retail]. H&M have pledged to reduce their carbon emissions, but have created a formula which means they will measure their success as "relative to sales" - in other words, they could happily keep increasing their CO2 emissions while claiming to be reducing them. [H&M].

Provided soundtrack for Vauxhall and Peugeot car adverts

John Buckley estimates Madonna's personal carbon footprint at 1,018 tonnes, 100 times the average British impact, and "[t]he[..] singer's Confessions tour last year produced 440 tonnes of carbon pollution in just four months, simply in flights between venues. This does not include the trucks required to transport equipment, the power needed to stage each show, or the transport for fans travelling to each concert. [Daily Mail]

The Police

Housing
Sting has several homes, and often holds meetings which require people travelling from London to Wiltshire; his partner Trudi Styler boasted to Architectural Digest that their Wiltshire home consumes a vast amount of energy: "There’s nothing out of bounds, no feeling that anything is Mummy’s best furniture—and plenty of heating. I think we could heat the entire hamlet with what we’ve put in here." The house was extensively reworked by an interior designer flown in from New York for the job - presumably, nobody knows how to scatter cushions in Wiltshire. [Architectural Digest]

Advertised S-Type Jaguar
Sting's Desert Rose video was reshot as an advert for Ford's S-Type Jaguar - the top model managing a pitiful 22.5 miles per galon while spewing out 314 grammes of emissions per kilometre. [Honest John]

Sheryl Crow
Advertised Subaru four wheel drives
Every Day Is A Winding Road used as soundtrack for ads

John Legend
Lexus adverts
Music used in adverts for Lexus cars

Joss Stone
Appeared in adverts for The Gap
The Gap is praised for being an "Environmental Protection Agency Climate Leader" in the US under the government's voluntary code for setting targets for reducing carbon footprints. However, the company hasn't actually achieved its (self-imposed and somewhat soft) targets, which makes it less a climate leader, more a whisky priest [Climate Leaders]. Furthermore, it sources clothes from around the world, adding needless journeys shipping sweaters and boxer shorts from continent to continent.

Pepsi
Pepsi is signed on as a major sponsor for Live Earth [Pepsico corporate website]. One of Pepsi's major businesses, Aquafina, sells water drawn from mains in bottles, an indefensible waste of bottles, distribution, and energy. Pepsi's Chinese business has been criticised for releasing waste products into the water resulting in a blacklisting [Polaris Institute] and was named as a serious polluter by the non-governmental The Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs [IPEA] and are being investigated in Kerala after pesticide residues were found in some products [Polaris Institute]. The Pepsi bottling plant in Madhurawada was banned in 2006 from using groundwater after complaints about "the predatory exploitation of groundwater by the Pepsi bottling unit, the pollution being caused by it, the unsatisfactory way in which effluents were being treated and other related issues." [IndiaResource] In 2004, the US Environmental Protection Agency was forced to order the company to improve procedures at its Tucson bottling plant. "The company's facility lacked effective management practices or an adequate containment system, which allowed storm water to come into direct contact with industrial pollutants -- such as oil and grease -- from its truck fleet before entering municipal storm drains and the Rodeo Wash. The Rodeo Wash flows to the Santa Cruz River, a tributary of the Gila River and the Colorado River." [Environmental Protection Agency]

Microsoft
MSN is a key sponsor of the event; parent company Microsoft's policy of producing increasingly processor-heavy programs and attempting to use its near-monopoly to enforce upgrades of equipment to cope with the heavier software means hundreds of thousands computers are discarded every year by people who need newer equipment to do exactly the same things they were doing with their old machines. [Green Party warns of Vista Landfill effect]

The Live Earth environmental impact
Artists will fly a total of 222,623.63 miles to attend the various concerts
Carbon footprint of event, including expected TV audience: 74,500 tonnes
1,025 tonnes of waste will be generated
[Daily Mail]