Communication & Education


1. Overview and problem statement

Did you know…?

Sir David Attenborough has said that “Saving our planet is now a communications challenge.” 41

Whether it is promoting the concerts themselves, communicating about sustainability and circularity, or conveying information about safety and accessibility, communication is a key element of event organizing. This is true for the audience and stakeholders, bands and crews.

At the same time, communication and education on sustainability also has its pitfalls. Especially when promises about sustainability are communicated that are not kept or the actual results are not communicated transparently afterwards, greenwashing accusations, conflict or canceling of an event or public figures are likely. Poor communication can also lead to concepts on waste separation, sustainable procurement, vegan food and the like being rejected or improperly implemented.

Communication is a powerful tool to take the audience and all people involved in an event on the journey, to inform and inspire. At the same time, communication must be transparent, honest and credible. Digital communication is becoming increasingly important for engaging audiences.

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2. Our Benchmark for Tempelhof Lab

Our focus at Tempelhof Lab was to communicate the sustainability concept of Cradle to Cradle, analyze our successes along with the goals not achieved, and find ways to bring the concept to a wider audience. To this end, we took the following measures:

  • Since Tempelhof Lab was a pilot project, we decided to act first, then talk and communicate about the project.
  • We anchored basic knowledge about Cradle to Cradle and sustainability within our own team first; then communicated externally.
  • Our communication strategy was to comprehensively and credibly report all sustainability goals and measures – both what was and what was not achieved – and support it with as many provable facts and figures demonstrating our impact and carbon footprint as possible.
  • Use the opportunity to raise awareness and inspire the audience around sustainability, circularity and resource effectiveness and to make Cradle to Cradle concepts real and tangible. The objective is to facilitate an ongoing learning process in the event industry, in politics and in society.
  • Offer comprehensive information about the goals and background of Tempelhof Lab onsite for the audience onsite and digitally.
  • Any media coverage of the concerts and the project should discuss its unique nature and the principles of a Cradle to Cradle circular economy.
  • Means of communication should follow Cradle to Cradle principles.

3. What worked well, what can be improved?

Tempelhof Lab implemented an extensive communication strategy with the following aspects:

Before the Concerts

What worked well?

  • Briefing of all participating contractors about sustainability principles on behalf of the bands, which are tied to the respective contracts.
  • Report to policymakers. Using our findings from the practical implementation of sustainable and circular innovations, we appealed to policymakers with concrete recommendations for policies for a Cradle to Cradle circular economy.
  • We printed and distributed 35,000 informational flyers to local residents of the Berlin district Tempelhof (surrounding the event site Tempelhof Airport) on C2C biodegradable paper with C2C- printing ink.
  • We held an informational event for Tempelhof Lab workers.
  • We offered tours of the Lab/concert site for NGOs, policymakers, event organizers as well as press, in order to share the measures and innovations we implemented.
  • A small, frameable edition of the concert poster promoting the project was printed on C2C biodegradable paper with C2C- printing ink.

What can be improved?

  • Pilot project for outdoor advertising with 500 posters printed according to Cradle to Cradle and biodegradable paste failed because posters and paste were not weather-resistant.
  • Conduct digital education and training of local crews, e.g., in conjunction with safety briefing.
  • Even more comprehensive briefing of all stakeholders to create a basic understanding of the relevance of sustainability and Cradle to Cradle principles in the events context.

The concerts

What worked well?

  • Information about the sustainability concept and the measures implemented were shared with the public onsite through posters and banners throughout the venue and at the food stalls.
  • Digital information on the sustainability concept and the measures implemented on the project website and accompanying communication on social media by the initiating partners.
  • Informational materials like banners and posters were displayed, if possible, from C2C materials. Alternative sustainable materials like PVC-free banners were used. Care was taken to rent or make as many of these elements as possible, rather than buying them.
  • Signage for the waste stations was designed as a wooden structure without adhesive joints, with information panels screen-printed with toxin-free ink.
  • Gamification elements for education and information sharing such as a quiz, “P-bank” and a phosphorus meter.
  • “Cradle Village” served as an educational and exhibition space for special Cradle to Cradle and sustainable educational projects and projects that could not be scaled yet, as well as booth space for NGOs.
  • Onsite ambassadors educated the public about the Lab’s concept at “Cradle Village” and 25 waste stations.
  • The bands announced the sustainability concept from the stage.
  • Reports by Germany’s main TV news magazines ARD Tagesthemen and local RBB Abendschau on the day of the concerts.

What can be improved?

  • Characterizing the project and extensive briefing of Tempelhof Lab’s local crew about the sustainability concept in a timely manner before the event.

After the concerts

What worked well?

  • Interviews and characterization of the project in the press with a focus on the C2C concept of the concerts.
  • Guidebook for the event industry documenting all findings, sponsored by the Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media. Roundtable held with the industry to ensure their needs and requirements were covered in the guidebook.
  • Presentation of the project at industry events in the form of panels, keynotes, presentations as well as at the C2C Summit on Tempelhof Lab and at the Green Culture Conferences in Bremerhaven and Leipzig.
  • Short informational video about the project.
  • Feedback and debriefing with all project participants to maximize learning.
  • Series of events held in 12 Berlin districts to disseminate information and findings as well as their scalability in other sectors to the community, starting in fall 2023.
  • Exhibition in Berlin on Cradle to Cradle with referrals to Tempelhof Lab, starting in March 2024.
  • Preparation of a climate balance sheet based on the impact measurement.

What can be improved?

  • Use of an app to communicate the concept with the fans. This idea was raised shortly before the time of the event, but could not be implemented due to capacity, costs, and anticipated low usage rate.
  • Available live-channel on Telegram could be promoted and used better, both to inform the audience about the concept during the concert and to continue communication with fans after the concert.

4. Findings and Recommendations

  • Promotional concert posters for the outdoors meeting Cradle to Cradle criteria are still a challenge:
    • Frameable C2C-certified posters work indoors.
    • For outdoor advertising, other solutions are needed as there is not yet a weatherproof C2C coating for posters as well as paste.
    • In this area, the joint development of C2C or sustainable poster solutions as well as general solutions for outdoor advertising with collaboration between an experienced C2C print shop/manufacturer and a major event organizer could lead to a systemic change.
  • The communication strategy described above meant that the local crew could not be sufficiently informed about the special concept of the concerts.
    • In principle, all internal stakeholders should be informed and briefed as early as possible.
    • The better a sustainability concept is anchored in the minds of everyone involved, the more effective and easier it is to implement.
  • Use existing infrastructure.
    • Use large screens on and next to the stage to communicate information about the concept to the audience.
    • Use breaks in the set to show an informational film, for example, to raise awareness to concertgoers.
    • Create timeless informational materials that can be used again and again.
  • Sincere communication of sustainability approaches can be used as a connecting element between artists and fans.
    • To this end, choose media channels that are appropriate for the target group.

6. Further inspiration from the industry

In 2022, Billie Eilish teamed up with the American NGO Reverb to implement production-related measures backstage to reduce her CO₂ footprint and take action against the climate crisis. She also uses Reverb to raise awareness of sustainability issues among her fans while on stage. This includes an “Eco-Village” at each concert, an area where local NGOs can interact with fans and impart knowledge about vegan nutrition, activism and political education. Fans, in turn, can sign up for “challenges” around dietary change or volunteer with local NGOs. 42

The Shambala Festival (capacity 25,000) published a new 5- year sustainability strategy in 2023, but can already look back at its prior successes. Through extensive communication measures, fans left no tents behind in 2021 and the public was encouraged to bring their own reusable coffee mug.43

The Tollwood Festival in Munich (capacity: 1.5 million) since 2007 has held a “world salon”: A 1,400 m2 large interactive tent, in which panels, presentations, concerts and interactive installations around themes like climate justice, innovations, war and peace and more take place. Further education and interaction are found throughout the venue. For example, in collaboration with a research team from the University of Greifswald, the true costs of offered food were presented in a transparent manner. 44

H.I.T. fertilizer

Humus fertilizer from the contents of dry toilets.


Liquid fertilizer containing the nutrients nitrogen (N), phosphate (P) and potassium (K).

900 tons of CO₂ emissions

This is equivalent to either 900 flights from Frankfurt to New York or 297,000 kilometers of driving in a petrol car.


Device in which CO₂ is ejected into the air, creating a white mist.

C2C quality

C2C textiles are fully recyclable and material healthy. The fabric itself is recyclable and the fibers washed out during the laundering process are harmless to the environment. In addition to the fabric, dyes, ink and process chemicals used in production are also optimized for material health. Social standards are met during production and renewable energy is used.

Textiles in Cradle to Cradle quality

C2C textiles are fully recyclable and material healthy. The fabric itself is recyclable and the fibers washed out during the laundering process are harmless to the environment. In addition to the fabric, dyes, ink and process chemicals used in production are also optimized for material health. Social standards are met during production and renewable energy is used.

Textile materials

A large proportion of all clothing manufactured and sold today is made of synthetic fibers. Polyester alone has a market share of around 50%. Textiles made from natural fibers, i.e. fibers from renewable raw materials, are usually dyed or printed with environmentally harmful dyes. In addition, chemical substances are used in the production process, for example to fix the dyes. These chemicals do not only endanger the environment but also the health of the people who work in the production process and who wear the garments. Thus, whether a garment is truly sustainable depends not only on the fabric, but also on all the other materials used. Because with every laundry cycle, the garment automatically loses thousands of microfibers, which then end up in the waterways. And that’s exactly what these fibers have to be designed for. In other words, regardless of whether the fabric is made synthetically or from natural fibers, only materials that are appropriate for us humans to come into contact with during production and wear and that are biodegradable when they end up in the environment as washed-out fibers should be used in textile production. C2C textiles are designed according to this principle.

recover phosphorus

Starting in 2029, wastewater treatment plants in Germany – depending on the size of the community served – will be required to recover phosphorus from wastewater, sewage sludge, or sewage sludge ash.

C2C certification

Certification according to the Cradle to Cradle criteria is carried out by the Products Innovation Institute (PII), which is based in San Francisco and Amsterdam. The organization certifies products based on five criteria, in each of which four different levels can be achieved. The PII and Cradle to Cradle NGO are independent organizations.

Osmosis filter

In the osmosis filter system, gray water is first purified on a biological basis, then pressed through a bio-membrane filter, which almost completely eliminates solids, viruses and bacteria from the water. The final step is ultrafiltration, which ensures almost 100% sterility.

>> Further information on the osmosis filter

Black water and gray water

Black water and gray water are different categories of wastewater. Black water is water contaminated with fecal matter. Gray water is water that is slightly polluted and free of fecal matter, such as rainwater or wastewater from hand-washing sinks.

Euro standard

As the European exhaust emission standard, the Euro standard sets limits for the emission of air pollutants. They are defined in Europe by the EU. Compliance is measured and checked in the laboratory when new vehicles are type-approved and, in the case of trucks and buses, also in real-world operation. Euro 6d has been the strictest standard for passenger cars since January 2021, and Euro VI for trucks (over 3.5 tons). While the emissions standard sets limits for carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate mass and number, it says nothing about a vehicle’s CO2 emissions. These are defined for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in a separate EU regulation.

Easy langage

Leichte Sprache (easy language) is a simpler and less complex form of everyday German. It is aimed at people who find it difficult to read or understand a text in everyday language. In texts in easy language, for example, there are no foreign words or abbreviations. The set of rules is published by the Netzwerk Leichte Sprache. It is comparable to Easy Read in English.


Plasticizers are added to plastics, coatings, adhesives and textiles to make brittle materials soft and supple. Many of the substances used as plasticizers are considered to be harmful to the environment and human health. In addition to plasticizers, packaging can also contain other harmful substances that may be used up to certain permitted limits but still reduce the recyclability of the material.


PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is a plastic polymer and is produced as rigid PVC (drain pipes, window profiles, etc.) as well as soft PVC. Soft PVC is used for floor coverings, films, children’s toys, hoses, cable sheathing, seals, etc. and consists of up to 40% plasticizers, some of which are harmful, especially as they are released to humans and the environment during production and use of the products. Due to the many additives, PVC is hardly recyclable and is usually incinerated (thermal recycling), which produces toxic dioxins.


Canceling (cancel culture) refers to the exclusion of individuals or organizations that are accused of offensive, discriminatory or racist statements or actions, among other things. The term is also used by people who are accused of this behavior. The term and the actions behind it are the subject of much public debate, see here and here.

Sir David Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough is a British naturalist, writer and wildlife filmmaker best known for his award-winning nature documentaries.

Social ticketing

Offering different price categories for an event, adapted to the respective financial circumstances.


FLINTA* stands for Female, Lesbian, Intersex, Trans and Agender. It stands for anyone who is not a cis man. Cis or cisgender is the opposite of transgender. The asterisk includes all non-binary gender identities as a placeholder.

Which way to Panama?

The concept with the code question “Which way to Panama” was introduced in 2017 by the concert organizer FKP Scorpio. The aim is to be able to offer visitors simple and uncomplicated help in any emergency situation by naming this code sentence.

Initiative Barrierefrei Feiern

Nationwide collective (in German) of people with disabilities and their allies advocating for accessible cultural opportunities


Awareness means being aware of problems and conflicts. Awareness concepts create safe spaces in which all people can feel comfortable because no assault or discriminatory behavior is tolerated. The definition of what is assaultive or discriminatory for a person or a group is not questioned.


Social inclusion means the accentuation, inclusion and equal participation of all people in a society.

Waste separation

Proper waste separation is not that simple. Even in Germany, where there is a comparatively extensive separation system. For example, a pizza box is made of cardboard, and therefore paper. But soiled by grease and pizza remnants, it still doesn’t belong in the waste paper bin, but in the residual waste bin.

At the Tempelhof laboratory, we have set up two residual waste garbage cans at each of the nutrient islands, a bio garbage can for leftovers/food waste and another bio garbage can for the biodegradable tabelware. In addition, a garbage bag was hung up for the collection of PET bottles, which the public was allowed to bring onto the grounds.
The background of this composition, which is quite different from the system known from everyday life in Germany: The disposable tableware was to be composted in a separate field trial, because industrial composting facilities are set in specific temperatures and composting cycles to ensure that food and food residues can be composted without residue. However, these cycles do usually not composte biodegradable tableware items. This does not mean that this tableware is not compostable – the ZirkulierBar research project has already demonstrated this by adding shredded biodegradable disposable tableware to the humus composting process. But composting takes place at a different temperature and for a different composting time than, for example, vegetable peelings, for which the cycles of industrial composting plants are designed.

Planetary Boundaries

Planetary boundaries define the safe operating framework for humanity. If these ecological limits are overstepped, our natural ecosystems collapse and the existence of humankind is endangered. The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has defined nine such boundaries, six of which have been considered exceeded since 2022.


This means that the cultivation of a plant has an overall positive impact. A plant from regenerative agriculture has been grown in such a way that the cultivation increases the nutrient content in the soil, the biodiversity in the cultivation area or the quality of the water in the region. The cultivation of the plant therefore has a positive impact on all the resources that are needed in the cultivation process.

Real costs

Real costs can be shown when the so-called external effects arising from the production or consumption of a product are included in the price. These are usually negative externalities, for example environmental damages or health damages caused by the production or consumption of a certain product. Usually, these costs are not covered by the pollutur, but by society. As a result, there are differences between private returns of economic activities and the returns or costs to society as a whole. In this specific example of food at events, the real costs of a dish can be calculated by measuring the resource consumption and CO₂ footprint incurred in the production of a certain dish, quantifying it and adding it to the price. Calculating real prices would make many products that are harmful to health and the environment significantly more expensive than before, and generally more expensive than sustainable or C2C products.

Cradle Village

The Cradle Village was an area equipped with pavilions between the entrance and the stage. It was part of the educational concept around circularity and C2C onsite. Various NGOs were represented there as well as some C2C cases exhibited as educational projects.

Regenerative agriculture

Regenerative agriculture is an agricultural approach that focuses on soil and plant health. The goal is to build healthy, fertile soil through agricultural cultivation, thereby increasing yields while creating positive impacts on carbon and water cycles as well as biodiversity. The approach contrasts with conventional agriculture, in which the use of pesticides, heavy agricultural machinery and monocultures, among other things, reduces biodiversity and causes lasting damage to soils. Regenerative agriculture can complement organic agriculture, which avoids the use of hazardous substances but is often associated with lower yields than conventional agriculture.


Biofuels are fuels obtained from biomass. The environmental friendliness of these also depends on whether their raw materials are in competition with the food production industry (for example, corn) or whether the fuels are obtained from residual materials.

Smart grids

In smart grids, power load management improves the utilization of the existing infrastructure and thus makes more efficient use of energy.

Peak Shaving

Peak shaving can be used to stabilize the power generated by energy networks. Periods in which a particularly large amount of power is available (power peaks) are capped.

Green hydrogen

Green hydrogen fuel uses renewable energy instead of conventional energy for the electrolysis to produce hydrogen. Its production makes sense in regions where sufficient renewable energy sources in the form of sun or wind are available to power water electrolysis.

Battery Regulation

Among other things, this regulation is intended to make a battery pass mandatory in order to provide incentives for recyclable battery design and the recycling of battery components.

Authentic green electricity

Authentic green electricity means that the supplier invests part of the revenue from the sale of green electricity in the development of new plants for the generation of electricity from renewable sources. In this way, the provider helps to ensure that the electricity mix improves in the long term and the share of renewable energy grows steadily. Im Germany, such providers can be identified by labels such as “ok-power” or “Grüner Strom“.

Cradle to Cradle

Cradle to Cradle (C2C) is an approach to a circular economy that goes a little further. Instead of producing less waste, using fewer resources, causing less environmental damage, or merely aiming for climate neutrality, products and processes are to be designed in such a way that added value is created as a result. In other words, a positive impact on the climate through a new way of handling resources. Because if we only cause less damage through our actions, we only delay the problems we cause, but do not solve them.

We can only solve climate and resource problems permanently by setting positive goals. By consistently integrating our actions into biological cycles and creating technical cycles, we achieve real added value: ecologically, economically and socially. C2C products consist of materials that are healthy for people and the environment and can circulate in biological and technical cycles. If a material in a product is automatically consumed (for example, the abrasion from a tire while driving or fibers from a T-shirt that are washed out in the washing machine), then this material must also be suitable for ending up in the environment. It must therefore be completely biodegradable.

All other products must be designed in such a way that all their components and materials can be separated and reused again and again. Either directly, after remanufacturing or repairing, or through a recycling, which preserves the quality of the material. In the production of such C2C products, we use only renewable energy, preserve or improve the quality of water and soil, and have fair and humane working conditions.
Business models such as product service models, beneficial use or leasing help to keep materials and products in the cycle.

>> more information

Circular economy

Derived from the EU Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan, the term “circular economy” encompasses “all stages of value creation – from product design and production to consumption, repair, waste management and secondary raw materials fed back into the economy.”
The transformation of our current linear economy, (resources are taken from the earth, used and then mostly become worthless waste) to a circular economy is an overarching policy goal in the EU and in all member states – including Germany. The German government is currently (as of June 2023) developing the so-called National Circular Economy Strategy, which aims to reduce the need for newly extracted raw materials. A circular economy and resource conservation are thus intended to contribute to climate neutrality and decarbonization.

In the case of the Tempelhof Lab, we attempted to design as many aspects of the concerts as possible in such a way that resources are kept in circulation or incentives are provided for this. Ideally, this meant using a C2C product or C2C process with a positive impact on people and the environment. Where this was not possible, an alternative was sought that was sustainable in the classic sense, i.e. at least caused less harm than a conventional solution.

CO2 compensation

Organizations that offer compensation for CO2 emissions can be certified according to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) standard. Gold Standard is a standard developed by an alliance of non-governmental organizations such as WWF, which is considered the most demanding standard for voluntary emissions trading.

These contacts are merely a selection, without any claim to completeness. The selection is based on the companies with which the Tempelhof Lab project worked or had contact.

Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO)

Hydrotreated or hydrogenated vegetable oils (HVO) are oils that have been chemically converted into hydrocarbons and can thus be used as fuel. They are used as an addition to or substitute for diesel fuel and emit up to 90% less CO2 compared to diesel. Oil plants, residues from the agricultural industry, but also used cooking oils can be used as raw materials for HVO. If residual or waste materials are used, production does not compete with food production and causes lower CO2 emissions in production. If HVO is produced from palm oil, the greenhouse gas balance deteriorates considerably because rainforests are cleared for the cultivation of oil palms. Therefore, a supplier should be chosen that guarantees the exclusion of primary palm oil as a raw material.


Offsetting CO2 emissions is not a sufficient strategy for achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, and certainly not for taking climate-positive action. The provider atmosfair points out exactly this on its website and thus encourages active action. The climate protection projects supported by atmosfair are for the most part twice certified: Under the standard of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and under Gold Standard (standard developed by an alliance of NGOs such as the WWF, which is considered the most demanding standard for voluntary emissions trading). atmosfair is transparent in its use of funds and, according to its own statements, only supports projects that take into account other important aspects of environmental protection in addition to the CO2 aspect.

Tempelhof Lab

The Tempelhof Lab concerts took place under very specific conditions: Tempelhof Airport as an open air location in the middle of Berlin, 60,000 visitors per concert and full support of the bands involved. Solutions that were feasible and sensible in this scenario may not be sensible or possible under other framework conditions. Conversely, some great C2C ideas were not scalable for this size of an event, but work perfectly fine under other framework conditions. Therefore, the goals described in this Guidebook and the measures derived from them are not a universally applicable checklist, but rather highlight opportunities and the right questions to ask for the most climate- and resource-positive event possible.