Researchers team up with the city’s music sector to launch ‘Towards a Just and Green Music City’ initiative  

Published: 6 December 2023

Researchers at UofG together with arts and sustainability charity Creative Carbon Scotland have launched a new initiative that aims to unite Glasgow’s UNESCO City of Music identity with the city’s ambition to become net zero by 2030.

Sam Fender performing at TRNSMT 2023. Photo Credit: Hope Holmes

Researchers at the University of Glasgow together with arts and sustainability charity Creative Carbon Scotland have launched a new initiative that aims to unite Glasgow’s UNESCO City of Music identity with the city’s ambition to become net zero by 2030.

The initiative, which also includes collaboration from many of the city’s music businesses and organisations, aims to identify what Glasgow’s music sector needs to thrive in the future, co-design projects to support the sector’s shared needs, and investigate the role music and culture can play in a broader just and green transition.

A website has been launched to mark the initiative, which hosts resources and guidance for stakeholders including musicians, venues, music ensembles, policymakers, and researchers, environmental organisations, and fans. It also contains a directory of music businesses in the city and a comprehensive map identifying over 200 spaces for live music in Glasgow.

It marks the first time a UNESCO City of Music has explicitly tied its musical identity to advancing a city-wide plan to meet net zero. Rather than focusing at the level of an individual music organisation, the Just and Green Music City plan instead outlines a vision for music and net zero at the level of the city as a whole, focusing on the advantages of collective thinking between stakeholders across the city’s music scene.

Matt Brennan, Professor of Popular Music at the University of Glasgow, said: “With COP28 currently happening in Dubai, we were keen to launch this project now because it resulted from discussions that began when Glasgow hosted COP26. We know there is appetite from other music cities to better understand how music and culture can be leveraged to address the climate crisis, and we’re excited to share a vision of what this might look like in practice.

“We’ve been lucky to have the feedback and participation of many of the city’s key music organisations including DF Concerts and Events, 432 Presents, the SEC Hydro, SWG3, Celtic Connections and Glasgow Life. We’ve also had input from grassroots venues like St Luke’s, the Rum Shack, and the Glad Café, as well as local labels and shops like Last Night From Glasgow, Monorail, and many others. We are now putting out a call to other interested music stakeholders – either within Glasgow or those from other cities hoping to do similar work – to get involved in the initiative via the contact form on the website.”

Glasgow Eco Trust and Julie Lin outside Julie’s Can-teen at TRNSMT 2023. Credit DF Concerts & Events

Geoff Ellis, CEO of DF Concerts & Events, said: “In 2023, we asked fans, staff and contractors to ‘Play Your Part’ in taking climate action at our events. This campaign encouraged circular fashion, use of public transport and active travel, the use of reusable water bottles, plant-based eating and composting. Next year, we will be continuing on our decarbonisation journey, enhancing our data collection in food and transport whilst expanding our ongoing investment in 100% HVO biofuel with trials of power technologies. Collaboration is key to a thriving Glasgow music scene and we are happy to support this initiative as part of our ongoing commitment to meaningful change in the city.”

Debbie McWilliams, Director of Live Entertainment for the Scottish Event Campus (SEC), said: “We are committed to sustainability, as evidenced by Glasgow’s OVO Hydro becoming the world’s first arena to achieve A Greener Arena (AGA) certification for its commitment to sustainability earlier this year. Our ambition to become net zero by 2030 aligns with the broader ambition of the city of Glasgow as a whole to do the same, and we are therefore happy to see this initiative showing what role the city’s music sector can play in this goal.”

Andrew Fleming-Brown, Managing Director of Glasgow’s SWG3 venue, said: “We are happy to be involved in this new collaboration, which aligns with our own plan to become a net zero venue. In 2024 we’re aiming to implement an Active Travel Initiative for SWG3, and that’s a goal that requires support from the city’s policymakers. The Just and Green Music City initiative is a good step towards realising that wider collaboration and cooperation.”

Just and Green Music City

Read more about the ‘Just and Green Music City’ initiative by visiting its website which can be accessed by clicking Just and Green Music City website

Creative Carbon Scotland

Creative Carbon Scotland believes in the essential role of the arts, screen, cultural and creative industries in contributing to the transformational change to a more environmentally sustainable Scotland. We work directly with individuals, organisations and strategic bodies engaged across cultural and sustainability sectors to harness the role of culture in achieving this change. Through all our work, events and projects, we combine strategic expertise and consultancy, bespoke carbon management training and guidance, and a range of programmes supporting the development of artistic practices that address sustainability and climate change. Learn more at

First published: 6 December 2023

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