Like a lot of people, we at Full Time Hobby are terrified about the impending catastrophes caused by the Climate & Ecological Emergency. We’re just music fans releasing albums by bands we love, though - what can we do about it?
It is clear that widespread change must come from our governments and the fossil fuel companies, but we don’t want to sit on our hands and wait for that to happen. We are trying to change how we operate bit by bit. We know we’ll get it wrong sometimes and we’d appreciate any feedback about how we can do this better, or ideas we’ve missed. The music industry is no different from any other industry in that it is going to have to change a lot over the next decade if we’re going to stick around and give our children and grandchildren a fighting chance. We also recognise that those who are hit first and hardest are those already struggling with poverty, in countries such as Bangladesh and those countries that fall within the Sahel region of Africa.
This is not a marketing campaign, by the way. We’d rather just get on and do these things and not make a big deal about it as we’re sick to death of companies greenwashing. However, we hope that by making our thoughts and our actions public, other labels, artists or music fans will be encouraged to make changes in the way they behave. We are not perfect but we would rather give it a go than sit and moan.
Here’s a list of some of the things we’re doing – please get in touch with your suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org
- We make regular donations to Tree Musketeers in Hackney, since we’re based nearby, and we help them once a week during Spring / Summer by watering new trees and planting and mulching in Autumn / Winter.
- Energy use in office – we’ve lobbied our landlord to change to a renewable energy supplier which they have finally done meaning the block of over 100 businesses are now supplied 100% renewable.
- Banking - We have switched our bank accounts to TRIODOS and made the bank we were moving from aware that we were doing this as they invest in fossil fuel projects and heavily support the fossil fuel infrastructure.
- CD packaging – we ensured all our CD releases use card packaging in 2009, following the release of the Julie’s Bicycle report highlighting the difference in emissions and recyclability of both.
- LPs – we’ve manufactured some of our LPs out of the recycled offcuts from the factory process and changed all our LPs from heavy vinyl to 140g with no loss in sound reproduction. We use longer life plastic house bags rather than single-use shrinkwrap while we work out better ways of reducing extraneous plastic use.
- Merchandise – all our merch is now organic cotton as standard and some runs of t-Shirts and totes are made via TeeMill whose factories run with all renewable energy and circular processes to reuse old t-shirts. Our sister label, Hassle Records, also work with No Sweat T’s and are part of their Punks Against Sweatshops campaign.
- CDs - We work with Optimal on our CD production and there is an offset built into each CD we produce. We’ve specified that any offset goes to renewable energy development in Namibia. We are aware of the potential problems surrounding offset schemes and see it as a last option after all other paths to emissions reduction are exhausted.
- Packaging materials for mail order – all LP packaging is now 100% recycled, CD packaging is plastic-free and tape used is kraft paper rather than plastic.
- Lobbying suppliers – we have regular conversations with our suppliers to discuss improvements to manufacturing and transport.
- Travel - we’ve run a few low-key tours by train and we’ve tried our best to switch the transport on any promo trips we take to train and not fly artists in for one-offs. We’ve also used train travel for conferences and festivals, where we can, and turned down transatlantic international conferences and asked to speak by video conference instead. We run the Cycle to Work scheme and all travel to the office by foot, bike or public transport. Where we are responsible for touring, we aim to reduce the need to fly as much as possible. We haven’t flown to the US on business since 2012 and try to cover most European business travel via Eurostar, where possible.
- Social media – use our platforms to raise awareness of the Climate Crisis and related issues.
- Add our voice to those of others lobbying for change via Music Declares Emergency, AIM Climate Action Group and XR.
- Legal – include a clause in new contracts that label and artist will make decisions with the Climate Crisis in mind.
- Replacing batteries on mobile phones where possible rather than buying new.