Coldplay & Environmental Sustainability

November 3, 2023


Last month, I was lucky enough to attend one of Coldplay’s highly anticipated shows at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff. One of the bands astounding 133 shows as part of their Music of the Spheres World Tour. The group have notably pledged to make this tour as sustainable and low-carbon as possible.

A 2019 study found that 5 musicians combined within the research added 19,314 kilograms of CO2 to the environment in only 6 months. This is the equivalent of taking twenty flights back and forth from New York to London. Reflecting the critical need for artists and their teams to take responsibility and action to reduce the impact of their touring schedules on the planet.

British group Coldplay have passionately committed to minimising their impact and have guided this using three key principles: Reduce, Reinvent and Restore.

CO2 Emissions

At the start of the tour, the band pledged to cut their direct emissions by more than 50% compared to their previous A Head Full Of Dreams Tour in 2016-17. This was set to be achieved by working with partners and suppliers to reduce impacts and emissions. This included the bands partnership with DHL as the tour’s Official Logistics Partner in order to reduce emissions from freight and transport. DHL also support the tour by offering solutions to minimise logistics-related emissions and other environmental impacts. From advanced biofuels in the air, to electric vehicles on land.

Where reductions couldn’t be made, the band have committed to drawing down emissions following guidance within the Oxford Principles for Net-Zero Aligned carbon offsetting. This includes supporting projects which focus on reforestation, rewilding, conservation, soil regeneration, carbon capture and renewable energy. Further, the tour itself is funding planting, and lifelong protection of millions of trees. Including one tree for every ticket sold.

DHL Logistics Partnership


The stage production of every show is now powered almost entirely with renewable, low-emission energy. Fossil fuels are avoided wherever possible. The band have pioneered some innovative energy generation techniques as part of this initiative. 

In partnership with BMW, the band have developed the first ever rechargeable, mobile show battery. Which can now power 100% of each show with renewable energy. This battery is powered in revolutionary ways, including using Kinetic floors in locations around the stadium so that fans attending the show can quite literally power the show by dancing on the floors. Electricity-generating power bikes are also installed around the stadiums so that fans can further actively charge the show batteries.

Kinetic Dance Floors

Additional ways the show is powered include solar photovoltaic panels which are installed as soon as the team arrive at each venue, as well as sustainable biofuels which are produced 100% from renewable raw materials. Primarily waste and residues such as used cooking oil. This has resulted in emissions being reduced by as much as 75-95% from the last tour.

Coldplay x BMW


While the tour has been carefully planned to minimise air travel, the band have acknowledged that some flying is avoidable. To minimise the impact of this, the band does fly mostly on commercial flights however there are some inevitable occasions where charter flights are required to transport crew and equipment.

In the run up to the Cardiff shows, commuters were shocked to spot lead singer Chris Martin arriving in the city by rail, illuminating the truth behind their commitments to reduce their impact.

Stage Show

The band send a sustainability rider to all venues in advance to request best environmental practices. However, I must say I was disappointed at the Principality when purchasing a water that my drink was poured from a plastic bottle into a paper cup which was subsequently wasted (please re-evaluate this Principality!).

The stages themselves are build from lightweight, low-carbon and reusable materials including recycled steel that will be reused or recycled at the end of tour.

One of the most famous parts of Coldplay’s shows is the LED wristband light displays that are worn by the audience. Despite not always being the most sustainable feature of the show, the band have reduced the production of these bands by 80% since the last tour, through collecting, sterilising, and recharging them after every show. The bands are also made from 100% compostable plant-based materials. Additionally, even the confetti’s environmental impact has been taken into consideration, which is now made from 100% biodegradable material and also now requires considerably less gas for ignition in comparison to previous tours.


Audience travel has been proven to make up a major part of any tour’s carbon emissions. Coldplay have partnered with ‘SAP’, a free app which encourages fans to use low carbon transportation to and from the show. Further, the band actively advises fans via their social media channels on how to travel to the gig in the most minimal carbon way.

Coldplay Instagram story before show

I travelled to the show using ‘The Big Green Coach’ directly from Southampton who also operate with a sustainable ethos at heart with all of their services being carbon neutral.

Before the bands entrance at the start of the show, fans within the venue are introduced to the show by a 5-minute video voiced by the band themselves on how the tour aims to reduce their environmental impact and educates the audience on how to take action themselves. This messaging was a powerful way of communicating the importance of all of the outlined initiatives.


The band acknowledges that despite their best efforts, the tour will still have a significant carbon footprint. Therefore, they have pledged to drawdown significantly more emissions that the tour produces. This will be done by supporting various initiatives including the Ocean Clean-up and One Tree Planted to name a couple.

Final Words

It is evident Coldplay are making a significant effort to reduce the impact their globally demanded tour will have on the planet. I feel it is fantastic to see such a popular group take great responsibility and using their platform to communicate this message to audiences all over the world. The positive underlying messages behind the Music of The Spheres Tour elevated the show and truly made it even more spectacular to watch and be a part of. Well Done Coldplay – hopefully more artists will follow suit in re-evaluating how they can reduce the impact of their tours.