From the very beginning, Glastonbury Festival was established to celebrate music, culture and togetherness – inspiring a respect for both our environment and each other. This passion for the arts and all people still underpins the Festival today, and we continue to strive towards a more vibrant, inclusive and sustainable future for all.
We like to think of Glastonbury Festival as a laboratory for change. Guided by principles of environmental responsibility and social equality, we are working to implement long-lasting sustainable practices and help promote a diverse, culturally rich, inclusive and accepting world both at Glastonbury Festival and beyond our gates.
Sustainability & Environmental impact
Energy & Decarbonisation
Sustainability and respect for our environment has always been at the heart of Glastonbury Festival. Since 1984, our Green Fields area has always run on solar, wind and pedal power and we have been monitoring and recording our energy use and emissions while working to implement a fossil fuel-free standard across the Festival.
After years of work, in 2023, Glastonbury Festival was powered entirely by renewable fuels and renewable energy using lower impact, fossil-fuel free electricity or run on solar photovoltaic and battery hybrid systems.
Clean energy from the Festival’s own 250kWp solar PV array, as well as our anaerobic digester and 125kVA biogas plant power, provide energy for Festival offices and some production areas as well as helping to charge some battery systems. All generators across the Festival site are run on sustainable, renewable palm oil-free HVO fuel – made from waste cooking oil – helping reduce CO2e emissions, while a temporary 300kWh wind turbine powered food stalls in Williams Green market area during the Festival.
We continue to work hard to encourage our Festival-goers to use public transport. Over 40,000 people arrive by coach, train or bicycle each year, dramatically reducing the potential carbon footprint from transport.
Decarbonisation remains a priority for Glastonbury Festival. We are continuing to expand our use of renewable energy and fuels, encourage greener travel and draw on technological innovations to help further reduce our CO2 emissions and strive towards creating a Festival that is as sustainable as possible.
Waste & Recycling
In order to reduce plastic consumption, in 2019 Glastonbury banned the sale of single-use plastic bottles which has reduced the number of items of disposable plastic on site by millions. Glastonbury continues to address these issues by only allowing the sale of crisps in compostable packets, which was introduced in 2022, and banning the sale of disposable vapes in 2023.
Glastonbury Festival continues to work conscientiously to reduce non-recyclable waste and promote more sustainable alternatives. Only compostable or reusable plates, cutlery and drinking straws are allowed to be used as serveware and all cutlery used by market stalls must be made from FSC-assured wood. Reusable cutlery, plates and cups are used in crew catering wherever possible.
Traders who use charcoal to cook with must ensure it comes from a sustainable source which means all charcoal packaging must show that it is a British Product or, if imported, that the charcoal is certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council). In addition charcoal packaging must be fully compostable – plastic sacks/bags are not permitted.
The Festival prioritises the use of local, trusted suppliers, sourcing materials from renewable sources, reducing the use of new materials and aims to avoid waste through reuse and recycling wherever possible.
Our own onsite recycling plant is the country’s largest events-run facility and ensures we can hand-separate our own waste for single stream recycling. Our 1,200 eco-friendly compost toilets onsite produce tonnes of rich horticultural compost every year. And Glastonbury Festival’s famous long drop toilets use no compromising chemicals, so waste can be easily treated at regular sewage works.
Strong communications onsite and across the Festival’s website and social channels encourage waste-awareness and promote the message “Love the Farm, Leave No Trace”. Over the last few years we have seen a dramatic reduction in the amount of camping equipment left behind with over 98% of tents taken home from the last three events.
Water & Biodiversity
Based in rural Somerset, the Glastonbury site has set aside reserves and protected areas across the Festival to help ensure that habitats and wildlife are looked after. Since 2000, we have planted over 10,000 native trees and hedge plants to support and enhance the local environment. The Festival also monitor the health of local ecology and control the risk of damage to local ecosystems. During the Festival and after it, teams of litter pickers hand-collect litter before the land is returned to farming use.
All our water is from our mains water supply from Bristol Water, and is the same quality as tap water at home. We encourage all Festival-goers to bring a reusable water bottle and refill for free at more than 800 water points across the site. Auto shut-off fixtures on taps help to reduce water wastage.
During the Festival and in the weeks that follow, we carry out continuous monitoring of the water in the rivers and streams that run through the site to ensure that the water quality remains high for the welfare of local wildlife. Peeing on the land is forbidden and teams of Love The Farm stewards patrol the Festival site to encourage the use of over 700 meters of urinals, 2,000 longdrop toilets and 1,200 compost loos.
Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
Equality, diversity and inclusion have been central to the ethos of the Festival since the start. Through the Worthy Pledge – which all ticket-holders and staff agree to uphold – all those who work for or come to Glastonbury Festival are expected to ‘treat the fields and the people in them with kindness and respect’. Discrimination on the grounds of heritage, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity is not tolerated.
Our onsite Access team and facilities cater to all needs and include DeafZone services and BSL translators for D/deaf ticket-holders, accessibility PAs, viewing platforms, shortcut routes for wheelchair users, sensory zones, Worthy Rest hubs, accessible toilets and a dedicated campsite/campervan field, to support those with additional requirements.
Our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion initiatives include bias awareness training for all staff, a bespoke Area Organisers group focussed on Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, and a ring-fenced £50k fund for Equality, Diversity & Inclusion projects ranging from work with traveller communities, black and minority youth groups, female, non-binary and transgender people and those from a low socio-economic background.
These initiatives include a Black2Nature visit – helping to connect Visibly Minority Ethnic (VME) families and children with the natural world; Festival Lab work experience initiatives; Green Fields work opportunities for ethnic minority applicants and other projects which help to change festival culture, create work opportunities for collectives and individuals and build bridges between those who would not be able to, or have not had access to working at festivals previously.
Onsite, there are areas dedicated to celebrating and supporting communities such as Sistxrhood in Shangri-la and Atchin-Tan. Areas of the Festival also work with organisations such as Blkbrd Collective, a group of artists/educators with lived experience of migration; Trans Pride, representing the intersectional trans community; and Drag Syndrome, a performance artist collective with Down Syndrome, to help give diverse, marginal groups a mainstream voice.
We recognise that we are at the beginning of an ongoing journey and we continue to learn and develop year on year. We have a dedicated team that work on supporting the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion projects and providing advice on each step of the process.
Over the years Glastonbury has supported and promoted sustainability across the site. We have encouraged our suppliers to obtain their own sustainable accreditation such as Fairtrade and Fairwear and take this into consideration in our procurement process. Our Wholesalers and Traders are assessed on their commitment to their own sustainability and we prioritise those who are able to demonstrate this commitment by obtaining certification such as Fairtrade, Red Tractor, RSPCA Freedom Food, MSC (Fish). Fairwear, GOTS, OCS and RJC (jewellery) and BCorp. We also prioritise local produce and products. All coffee, tea and drinking chocolate sold on site is Fairtrade and sugar must be Fairtrade or British.
Environmental activism and support for humanitarian causes have always been intrinsic to Glastonbury Festival. From our endorsement of CND in the 1980s and support for the traveller community during that decade, we have used our influence and worked to engage the wider public in causes we believe in, helping to promote an ecologically conscious, culturally rich and inclusive world both at Glastonbury Festival and beyond our gates.
Charities, fundraising & positive impact
Every year we are pleased to be able to make payments of over £2m to charities including our partners Oxfam, WaterAid and Greenpeace, as well as other international, national and local projects and causes. By supporting and providing a global platform for our charity partners – Oxfam, Greenpeace and Water Aid – we strive to raise awareness of their campaigns for a cleaner, fairer, better world and aim to inspire long-lasting sustainable practices that promote diversity, cultural awareness and inclusivity.
In 2023, Glastonbury Festival was thrilled to have made payments of over £3.7m to a range of incredible charitable causes and campaigns. It is thanks to your support for the Festival that we have been able to make these donations to help those facing challenges both in the UK and across the world. In addition to this £3.7m, thank you to everyone who donated to the Oxfam Crowdfunder DEC Appeal which raised over £1m towards the Syria-Turkey Earthquake response, and our online auction raised £116,000 for the Trussell Trust.
We’d like to thank all our Festival-goers, crew and volunteers, without whom it wouldn’t have been possible to make these donations and support these good causes. Please click here to find out about some of the great charities and organisations we are proud to have been able to help in 2023.