Environmental & Social Inclusion Charter
Protecting Our Home
As set out in our Green Nation Sustainability Charter, we recognise our responsibility to preserve the live music experience for generations to come and have a tremendous opportunity to influence climate action at Wilderness.
We acknowledge the impacts our business has on the environment, are committed to telling the truth about the scale of the climate and ecological emergency, and take urgent action.
Our primary impact areas are transport and energy, as well as waste, water, food and beverage, and the effect of the festival on the flora and fauna of the site. Each of the festival’s environmental impact areas has been assessed in the context of its impact on, and contribution to reaching the relevant UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Wilderness measures its carbon footprint annually, gathering data from relevant stakeholders to calculate its Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions.
We employ a dedicated sustainability team who work as an integral part of the festival planning process, developing a sustainability action plan for the festival and ensuring these actions are undertaken on site.
We know that we cannot tackle climate change alone, and as such we support climate-positive initiatives in the broader music industry. Wilderness is part of Vision 2025, and has signed up to Music Declares Emergency.
Wilderness is working towards a target of 50% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030. This is in line with the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, which we are still committed to despite the national pledges at COP26 being forecast to exceed this level of warming. We will review our progress annually in step with a science-based approach.
We support West Oxfordshire District Council’s Climate Change Strategy 2021-2025 and will work in partnership to achieve the objectives of the Strategy’s five themes, alongside its strategic frameworks including the UK Net Zero Strategy.
The energy we use is the main contributor to the on-site GHG emissions. Our strategy is to first reduce our required usage, and then to replace our energy sources with renewables.
- Through our membership of Powerful Thinking we have reduced the power consumption at the festival to a minimum.
- We monitor fuel consumption annually, to determine the potential to reduce generator sizes and related fuel volumes.
- We require that LED festoon and tower lights are used to reduce energy consumption, and that onsite suppliers plan power distribution efficiently.
Replace with Renewable Energy
- Our aim is to use 100% renewable energy from either biofuel or mains supply by 2030, and in 2022 we fuelled Wilderness with 100% Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), from a 70% share of total fuel in 2021.
- HVO is a renewable biodiesel made from used cooking oil, which emits 90% less carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) when compared to using regular white diesel.
- We assess our biofuel’s provenance, endeavouring to use European sources that are from a second-generation waste product such as used vegetable oil, not palm derived.
- Battery storage solutions and solar hybrid generators are utilised at Wilderness in suitable areas, and we calculate the emissions savings they generate.
We strongly recommend and promote low-carbon travel options.
We offer emission-free travel in collaboration with Red Fox Cycling, partner with national coach provider Big Green Coach, work with carshare company Go Car Share, and provide shuttle buses from Charlbury train station to provide lower-carbon alternatives to single-occupant car travel.
All car parking passes at the Festival include a £1 surcharge, which is from 2023 will be donated to Trees for Cities, who will plant trees in the Oxfordshire region to sequester CO2 emissions.
In 2022, we donated £4,866 to Ecolibrium, helping to balance the travel miles of every customer who purchased a vehicle pass in advance.
We are committed to implementing closed-loop waste management systems at Wilderness and work to support the development of a circular economy.
We apply the following waste hierarchy, as set out in the Waste Regulations 2011:
- Waste Reduction
- Energy Recovery
To mitigate the environmental impacts of plastic pollution, Wilderness does not sell any virgin single-use plastic. This includes sampling containers, cutlery, plates, cups, bottles, serve-ware, sachets, stirrers and straws. We implement a sourcing policy that prioritises:
- Reuse over single use.
- Renewable over finite resources.
- Products with the highest recycled content available, including at least 30% where alternatives are not available.
Wilderness has implemented the following measures to reduce the usage of single-use plastic:
- We provide water refill stations across the site and encourage fans, staff, and artists to use reusable bottles and cups. Reusable Wilderness coffee flasks are also available for purchase onsite and online.
- No pre-bottled water is provided as standard to crew or artists.
- All bottled water sold at Wilderness contains a minimum of 30% recycled content in line with the UK Plastic Pact, supporting the plastic recycling industry.
- All soft drinks are served in either a recycled content plastic bottle, a paper cup, or a can where permitted.
- Bars are required to decant mixers from multi-serving bottles to reduce the number of bottles at the festival.
- Plastic cutlery and straws are banned, and only EN 13432 certified compostable materials are permitted for food service containers.
- Bulk condiment bottles are required to be used instead of single-use sachets.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
In 2022, the Wilderness recycling rate was 43.96%, we aim to go beyond West Oxfordshire District Council’s recycling rate, and to achieve at least a 90% recycling rate by 2030. Wilderness is zero waste to landfill, as all festival waste is either recycled, composted, or used to generate energy from waste.
Wilderness has a waste management plan, and we receive annual reports from the waste and recycling facilities used, and tracking our annual reports against previous data.
We have worked with Eco Warriorz to recruit a passionate group of volunteers to help spread the word about our recycling initiatives, including:
- Our recycling reward scheme offers customers prizes for recycling in the campsites.
- The three-bin system we implement onsite allows the separation of compostable, recyclable, and non-recyclable waste.
- Our deposit return scheme on paper cups, cans and water bottles, incentivises recycling in the arena.
- Campsite recycling points and bags are distributed to campers, allowing them to collect and dispose of their waste and recycling.
- Engagement campaigns such as Leave No Trace, reinforce our duty to preserve the lakes and land of Cornbury Park.
- Collaborations with charities and not-for-profit groups including Oxford Food Hub and Choose Love to rescue food and camping equipment.
Water & Wastewater
- We measure the amount of water consumed at Wilderness annually.
- Self-stopping taps are in operation at the festival to minimise water wastage.
- We are investigating the reuse of grey water on site, aiming to reduce the amount of potable water used in our onsite bathrooms once a suitable solution is found.
We advise our food vendors and caterers to follow minimum standards with regard to food sourcing.
- Eggs to be free range, fish sourced according to the MSC Good Fish Guide, and meat to be RSPCA Assured.
- We encourage using vendors local to the festival and ensure several dedicated vegetarian and vegan options are available to festivalgoers.
- We are reducing the carbon footprint of food consumed by our crew by not serving high-carbon food and having at least one meat-free day per week in crew catering.
We are committed to collecting and redistributing any surplus food from the festival and have worked with Oxford Food Hub to help us do this.
The food industry accounts for up to a third of all global emissions, which means that our current eating habits have a bigger impact on the climate than all global transport combined. [Ref: F. N., & Leip, A. J. N. F. (2021). Food systems are responsible for a third of global anthropogenic GHG emissions. Nature Food, 2(3), 198-209.]. By understanding the carbon footprint, or ‘food’print, of our meals, we can choose to reduce our environmental impact.
We have worked with Klimato to calculate the carbon foodprint of the food sold at the festival. Each menu shows the rating so you can see the impact of the food options and make climate friendly choices!
To find out more about the methodology used see here.
Engagement & Local Impacts
We are committed to engaging with our customers, staff and artists on environmental issues, and to collaborating with local and national environmental causes and organisations. Our work on this includes:
- The inclusion of The Great Outdoors as one of the pillars of Wilderness: We cannot celebrate at this festival without giving due care and respect to the beautiful environment of Cornbury Park.
- Rewarding the greenest festivalgoers with sought-after pieces from Choose Love.
- Providing medals for our Eco Warriorz to present to eco-conscious customers.
- Empowering our staff and artists to play their part in improving the sustainability of the festival, by educating them on the initiatives we put in place across the site.
Local Impacts & Biodiversity
We contract an ecological consultant to conduct annual ecological surveys, integrating their recommendations into our plans to ensure that Wilderness avoids negatively impacting the Wychwood Forest Site of Special Scientific Interest.
 Eleven of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals are directly relevant to live music events and are listed here: 3 – Good Health and Well-being, 4 – Quality Education, 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation, 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy, 9 - Industry, 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities, 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production, 13 – Climate Action, 14 – Life Below Water, 15 – Life on Land, and 17 – Partnership for the Goals.
Everyone is welcome to be part of the Wilderness celebration, both on and off the stage. Everyone means E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E. Regardless of their...
RACE / GENDER / SEXUALITY / IDENTITY / AGE / ABILITY / RELIGION / PRONOUN SIZE or SHAPE...or, anything else for that matter.
We wish for everyone to feel safe, welcomed, and represented at Wilderness.
Evidenced across our seven programming pillars, we continually strive to deliver an eclectic offering, celebrating all identities and communities.
Whether in the content we're booking, the topics we're discussing, the performers, partners and producers we're working with, or the audience we're trying to reach, we aim for Wilderness to be broad-reaching and inclusive with no hatefulness.
Disability, D/deaf Access & Neuro-Diversity
Festivals bring together people of different backgrounds and from all walks of life. At Festival Republic/Live Nation (FR/LN), we are committed to promoting a culture of inclusion and accessibility for our entire audience. We aim to provide and constantly improve accessible infrastructure and services delivered in a way that respects the needs of each individual and does not exclude anyone.
We also recognise that performers with disabilities, D/Deaf persons and neurodivergent individuals are underrepresented within the festival industry and across the creative sector and strive to program work that combats this.
Race & Gender
We believe that there is strength in diversity. We welcome all people equally, on, behind and in front of the stage. We continually assess and aim for balance in our performers and partners across all our venues. We work closely with collectives who look to close the gender gap in their industries and promote underrepresented demographics.
We partner with an array of inspiring female chefs, food journalists, restaurants and caterers who share a mutual desire to forge a kinder, more inclusive and sustainable approach to hospitality and address the notorious gender imbalance in their industry.
Mental Health & Safeguarding
We partner with many agencies who work at Wilderness to keep everyone safe.
We have developed a safeguarding policy outlining our statement of intent toward the well-being and human rights of children, young people, and vulnerable adults. We also outline the strategies in place to safeguard customers and staff from abuse, including harm and neglect.
We provide a 24/7 all-inclusive safeguarding system meaning whatever support or treatment is required, to be provided as quickly as possible within the festival site. We believe that no one should experience abuse of any kind and that we have a duty of care to protect customers and staff as much as is practicable and proportionate. Helping us deliver our Safeguarding policy are:
Our Safeguarding Coordinators - Prioritising the emotional welfare of our audiences.
Safer Spaces - Every year, we revise our internal Safer Spaces Policy by consulting with our artistic community. We have a zero-tolerance policy for disrespectful, hurtful, or discriminatory behaviour of any nature. We strive to communicate and encourage everyone to follow our Safer Spaces Policy.
Open Road Welfare - Our welfare team provide a supportive environment for anyone who needs it. There to give professional advice, converse with parent(s) and guardian(s), link in with partner agencies, striving to make everybody feel safe and happy to enjoy the full festival experience.
Oxfam - Stewards work across the festival to answer questions, point our audience in the right direction and generally be a friendly face in the crowd.
Code Blue Medical Services - Providing medical care and additional safeguarding support.
The Wilderness Info Tent Team - Located in the centre of the arena, our Info Tent Team will answer any questions and help reunite customers with anything they might have lost during the festival.
The Sanctuary - Our home of well-being focusses on every aspect of what it means to care for personal health and wellness. From mindfulness and mental health to developing connections, grief workshops and addiction fellowship groups. The Sanctuary is a dedicated safe space, aiming to nourish our audience and continually striving to open the discussion around a wide range of topics and issues affecting any and everyone. The importance of care for all persons on site is paramount, be that our festivalgoers, artists or crew.