The car­bon footprint of the three-day Lumo Light Fes­ti­val orga­nized in Oulu is 10,300 kg CO2e, which cor­res­ponds to the cli­ma­te emis­sions pro­duced by one Finn per year. Most of the emis­sions, 70% of the enti­re event’s car­bon footprint, were accu­mu­la­ted from the tra­vel of light artists and trans­por­ta­tion of light art works. The light fes­ti­val’s car­bon footprint in 2021 was calcu­la­ted by Macon Oy. In 2022, the calcu­la­tion will also be deve­lo­ped by asking the event’s audience about their tra­vel met­hods in Lumo’s visi­tor sur­vey.

The main emis­sions of the Lumo light fes­ti­val, like other events, are caused by tra­vel, i.e the trans­por­ta­tion of people and goods. Both artists and their works are brought to Lumo from abroad, which meant more than 7300 kg of CO2e car­bon dioxi­de emis­sions in 2021. The tra­vel of event visi­tors has not yet been taken into account in the calcu­la­tions.

“Focusing on the artists’ means of tra­vel, trans­por­ta­tion of works and com­pen­sa­tion pos­si­bi­li­ties are the next step. In the futu­re, the public will also be asked about their tra­vel met­hods. In our com­mu­nica­tion, we also recom­mend to arri­ve at the event on foot, by bike or by bus, which can influence emis­sions,” reflects Lumo’s pro­gram mana­ger Jark­ko Halu­nen.

Qui­te surpri­singly, second on the list of emis­sion sources was adver­ti­sing and prin­ted pro­ducts. The pro­ducts nee­ded for mar­ke­ting and gui­dance made up 23% of the total emis­sions.

Howe­ver, the ener­gy con­sump­tion of light fes­ti­vals, which has been cal­led into ques­tion in the cur­rent ener­gy cri­sis, seems to be lower than expec­ted. Alt­hough Lumo is a light fes­ti­val, its car­bon footprint compri­sed of elect­rici­ty, hea­ting and fuel use is small, less than 5%. As a rule, the fes­ti­val uses car­bon-neut­ral elect­rici­ty. “Furt­her­mo­re, whi­le the light works are on display, the city’s other ligh­ting has been reduced. If people remem­ber to turn off all the lights at home when lea­ving for Lumo, it evens out the con­sump­tion” sta­tes Halu­nen.

Lumo’s emis­sions can­not be com­pa­red to other light fes­ti­vals, because other fes­ti­vals have no known car­bon footprint calcu­la­tions. “Com­pa­red to the num­ber of visi­tors to the light fes­ti­val, its emis­sions are mode­ra­te, especial­ly due to using green elect­rici­ty and a loca­tion that allows public trans­por­ta­tion,” says San­na Tas­ki­la, the expert who made the calcu­la­tion.

The car­bon footprint is also calcu­la­ted at the event venues

The car­bon footprint calcu­la­tion comple­ted for the Lumo light fes­ti­val is the first calcu­la­tion car­ried out for events in Nort­hern Ostro­both­nia, which has been car­ried out in the Most Sus­tai­nable Euro­pean Capi­tal of Cul­tu­re Pro­ject. In addi­tion, Macon Oy also calcu­la­tes emis­sions for Oulu-based music fes­ti­vals Qstock and Var­jo, the game event Vec­to­ra­ma, win­ter fes­ti­val Frozen People and Kuusa­mo-based NUTS trail run­ning event and tech­no fes­ti­val Sols­tice orga­nized.

Venues will be inclu­ded in futu­re calcu­la­tions, because their emis­sions and ope­ra­ting met­hods have a direct effect on the envi­ron­men­tal load of many events. In 2023, for example, the emis­sion calcu­la­tions of Oulu­hal­li, Kuusi­saa­ri event park, Res­tau­rant Block and Kokar­di Club will be car­ried out.

Calcu­la­ting the car­bon footprint helps orga­niza­tions unders­tand whe­re emis­sions are born and how ope­ra­tions can be chan­ged to be more envi­ron­men­tal­ly sus­tai­nable. The event orga­nizers who par­tici­pa­ted in the calcu­la­tion will recei­ve a cus­to­mized road map for reducing emis­sions and instruc­tions with which they can calcu­la­te the fol­lowing years’ emis­sions them­sel­ves.

Pho­to: San­na Krook. Audiences of the Lumo Light Fes­ti­val in 2019.