Are you doing enough?

Jun 28, 2023
coldplay concert

1% is not close to enough. The standard minimal target that most companies try to reach for giving back to the community and environment. A sad, small number actually.

One of my sustainability heroes, Yvon Chouinard, Founder of Patagonia, also founded an organization called just that - 1% for the Planet. There is even a OnePercentClub that does “do-good crowdfunding”. Chouinard said,

“This is not philanthropy. This should be a cost of doing business. It’s paying rent for our use of the planet.”

But is 1% enough? Coldplay doesn’t think so.

Last Sunday, my birthday, I was lucky enough to finally see my favorite band, who sings about my favorite color, and in my favorite country! Beforehand I started getting crowd anxiety as my partner had said we would be in the mosh pit in 96-degree temps. Help! Perhaps when asking for these tickets for my birthday, I had instead reversed the number of my age thinking that I was really turning 35? But actually the 60,000 crowd in the famous 80,000 person San Siro stadium in Milan was mixed of any and all ages and…we got actual seats! The universe listened.

Coldplay is not just any rock band. They go way beyond the 1% target by donating 10% of all of their revenues to environmental and social causes. They are particularly interested in Nature-based Solutions that protect and restore our natural environment and drawdown carbon. Coldplay’s ‘Music of the Spheres’ tour drastically reduces the band’s carbon footprint and sets new standards in sustainability, says Variety magazine.

Coldplay sum it up nicely on their website

“As we have always done, we will put 10% of everything we earn (touring, records, publishing etc) into a good causes fund. These funds will be split between environmental and socially-conscious projects and charities including ClientEarth, The Ocean Cleanup and One Tree Planted. We are working in partnership with EarthPercent as a founding donor.”

Besides my respect for Chris Martin’s healthy lifestyle, as well as the incredible show of lights ✨, sound 🔊 and scenic performance🎤; it's not only about music that I want to share. After reflecting on this uplifting experience, here a few highlights:

🌍Sustainability is a collective movement. We all play a part. Not just corporations or policy makers. Coldplay built an entire tour upon best-sustainability practices. From using recyclable materials in our wrist band lights, to auto-generating energy by jumping on the mosh pit floor, to planting a tree for every ticket sold (that’s 180K trees just for the three sold out Milan shows!). It just takes a bit of creativity and commitment.

👨‍👩‍👦Inclusivity: making your audience the central part of your story creates a more meaningful experience that drives interest, trust and a sense of belonging to your personal (or corporate) brand. The audience was a part of the sustainability journey from the moment we walked through the gates and received our LED wrist bands that became the 60,000-person light show. The entire experience, from the starting slideshow featuring their charity partners, to the option to power the concert by hopping on a bike, induced a sense of awareness, responsibility and energy (literally and emotionally).

🏷️ Values: your values, reputation and your image are three key pillars that shape and communicate your personal brand. After two hours I felt deep respect for a rock band that I’ll never meet personally, knowing that despite, or even because of, their fame and fortune, they put their values of love, inclusion, community and giving back at the center of their legacy. As we recycled our wristbands upon exiting, they even handed out free little button pins that simply said, “Love”. It leaves you thinking. It leaves you feeling.

Thank you Coldplay, not only for your music that connects us, but also for challenging us all to step up our own individual commitments to the planet. Are any of us doing enough?

I have decided to take Coldplay's lead and pledge to plant one tree for every hour of coaching sold, back dating to 2008 when I started Walk of Life Coaching. That's an amazing 5,000 trees being planted.

So, how can you make “doing the right thing” fun, inclusive, authentic, and all-in like Coldplay did?

Maybe even give Coldplay your ideas about how they, and their concerts, could be more sustainable. They did ask!

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