As an organization that campaigns on climate action and protecting marine and land ecosystems, Global Citizen is committed to weaving sustainability into all of our efforts. 

And that includes the annual Global Citizen Festival in New York City's Central Park.

Over the years, we’ve worked to minimize the environmental impact of our festivals, while maximizing the investments we make in conservation and restoration, emissions reduction, and effective waste management. 

When organizing events for tens of thousands of people, it’s impossible to not have an environmental footprint. But there are many steps that can be taken to reduce that impact and attendees can also be empowered to become environmental stewards in their own lives. 

This year, we’re carrying over best practices from previous years and incorporating new sustainability measures. 

As attendees dance to Metallica, Charlie Puth, Jonas Brothers, MÅNESKIN, Mariah Carey, Mickey Guyton, and Rosalía, listen to global activists as they take the stage, and witness world leaders make impactful commitments to end extreme poverty, we'll be offsetting our emissions, minimizing waste, and promoting planetary diets.

Here are seven ways we’re keeping things sustainable at this year’s Global Citizen Festival: NYC.

1. Carbon Offsetting

After the festival, we’ll work with environmental organizations to estimate the total emissions associated with the festival — from the energy used during the event to the fuel used for transportation to Central Park — and then pay for an equivalent offset in areas such as forest conservation that help to draw carbon from the atmosphere, empower land and marine stewards, and promote circular economies. 

2. Improved Waste Management 

We’ll be teaming up with GrowNYC and its Zero Waste Volunteers once again to ensure that all consumer waste generated at the event will be properly sorted, recycled, and composted. These volunteers will also go throughout the crowd educating people on proper composting and recycling practices.

3. Plastic-Free Concessions 

There will be no single-use plastic water bottles at the event; all water and beverages will be sold in aluminum cans, which can be indefinitely recycled. Food, meanwhile, will be served in compostable containers and eating utensils will also be made from compostable materials.

Global Citizen has long campaigned to eliminate single-use plastics and we’re putting our words into action. 

4. Expanded Vegetarian and Vegan Menu

In an effort to promote a planetary diet, food stalls will serve more vegetarian and vegan options that have a lower carbon footprint.  

5. Minimal Food Waste 

Any excess food from the catering and concessions will be donated to local communities and organizations including City Harvest, Bowery Mission, and Rock and Wrap It Up. 

Food waste is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and the commercial dumping of food is indefensible in a world where more than 800 million people are struggling with chronic hunger. 

6. Sustainable Fuel 

The production of this year’s festival will be partly powered with Neste MY Renewable Diesel, which is made entirely from renewable raw materials and results in 90% less greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil fuels. As we go forward, we're striving to fully integrate cleaner fuels into the production.

7. Indigenous Trees 

For the second year in a row, the set design will include indigenous tree species that will be donated and planted in Central Park after the show.

Global Citizen Festival is calling on world leaders, corporations, and philanthropists to do more than they’ve ever done before to End Extreme Poverty NOW. Through our global campaign and with stages in two iconic locations — NYC’s Central Park and Accra’s Black Star Square — we will unite leaders, artists, activists, and Global Citizens around the world on Sept. 24 to achieve an ambitious policy agenda focused on empowering girls and women, taking climate action, breaking systemic barriers, and lifting up activists and advocates. Wherever you are in the world, you can join the campaign and take action right now by downloading the Global Citizen app.

Global Citizen Life

Defend the Planet

7 Ways We're Making Global Citizen Festival: NYC Sustainable

By Joe McCarthy