Coldplay, the band behind the third-highest-grossing world tour in history, has announced that it will not tour its new album in order to protect the environment.
Speaking to BBC News, lead singer Chris Martin said: “We’re taking time over the next year or two, to work out how our tour can not only be sustainable [but] how can it be actively beneficial.
“All of us have to work out the best way of doing our job.”
The band’s most recent tour, 2016/17’s A Head Full of Dreams, included 122 shows across five continents, playing to 5.4 million people and raising $523m.
The World Wildlife Foundation indicated its support for the decision. The organisation’s climate change chief, Gareth Redmond-King, told BBC that everyone has a responsibility to “lead by example” in the face of the climate crisis. “Inaction is not an option if we are to preserve our planet for future generations.”
Estimates from 2010 suggested that the UK music industry alone was responsible for 540,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. U2’s tour in 2009 required 120 trucks to shift part of their stage around, and reportedly had the same carbon footprint as a return flight to Mars.
The BBC also quoted data from the Green Touring Network, which finds that audience travel makes up 33% of the carbon footprint of a rout, alongside 34% generated by venues and 12% by merchandise. 9% of the carbon emissions are generated by the band’s travel to destinations.
Martin added that the band would be “disappointed” if the next tour is not carbon neutral.
“The hardest thing is the flying side of things. But, for example, our dream is to have a show with no single-use plastic, to have it largely solar-powered.
“We’ve done a lot of big tours at this point. How do we turn it around so it’s no so much taking as giving?”