The 2023 Global Citizen Festival in New York City is mere days away; and we can’t wait to be joined by our incredible lineup of artists, performers, speakers, world leaders, activists, and 60,000 Global Citizens in the city’s iconic Central Park. 

As an organization that campaigns on climate action, protecting marine and land ecosystems, and writes extensively on the challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss, Global Citizen is committed to centering sustainability in everything we do. 

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. 

This year, we’re deploying more sustainability practices than ever before. 

The environmental impact of hosting a festival can be significant. From providing food and water for tens of thousands of fans, to electricity, fuel, and massive physical structures for performances, and equipment for vast teams of personnel.

That’s why we’re working to ensure this year’s festival is the most sustainable one yet  — taking many steps to reduce the environmental impact of Global Citizen Festival, and empower attendees to make sustainable decisions, both on the day of the festival and beyond. 

As attendees dance and sing along with this year’s headline acts and witness world leaders make impactful commitments to end extreme poverty, we'll be minimizing waste, donating indigenous trees to Central Park, and promoting plant-based diets.

Here are eight key ways we’re keeping things sustainable at this year’s Global Citizen Festival in New York City.

3. Carbon Footprint Calculation & Offset

We’ll again be conducting a full carbon emissions calculation for our event, in partnership with Ecofiniti sustainability consultants. This comprehensive calculation will help us to better understand our environmental impact, and what contributes to our footprint. That helps us identify ways we can keep improving and further minimize our environmental impact in the future. 

This year, we’re proud to announce a partnership with Everland to make a positive contribution to nature and cover the estimated carbon emissions of Global Citizen Festival by supporting community-centered forest conservation. 

Everland represents the Wildlife Works Mai Ndombe REDD+ Project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is a pioneering community-centered forest conservation project that partners with over 50,000 people living in this forest. 

The project works to protect 300,000 hectares of critical bonobo and forest elephant habitat, within the Congo Basin — the world’s second-largest intact rainforest and some of the most important wetlands on the planet — by reducing the main drivers of forest and biodiversity loss. 

4. Enhanced Waste Management

This year, we’ll be continuing our commitment to limiting the amount of waste generated at the event, and ensuring that we divert large amounts of our waste away from landfills. 

As well as plastic-free concessions and minimizing food waste (read on for more!), we’ll again be joined by a team of Eco Staff who will be located throughout the venue. 

This team of passionate and well-informed sustainability volunteers — many of whom come to us from the NYC-based sustainability nonprofit GrowNYC — will be dedicated solely to sustainable waste management at the event. 

They’ll be stationed at our various Eco Hubs, or waste centers, throughout the Great Lawn, to help inform attendees about proper recycling and composting practices; encourage responsible waste practices from attendees; and to support keeping the Great Lawn clean. 

They can also answer questions and provide guidance to attendees, to help keep the site clean and ensure all onsite compostables and recyclables are diverted from landfills. 

5. Plastic-Free Concessions 

A key way we’ll be diverting waste away from landfills is by providing compostable packaging and utensils for all concessions. 

Our venue is also completely free of single-use plastic, with all drinks onsite being sold in easily recyclable aluminum cans. 

Attendees are also encouraged to bring their own reusable water bottles, which can be filled at water stations throughout the Great Lawn. Meanwhile, 30,000 reusable water bottles will also be given out by our partner Citi to further minimize waste from drinks bought onsite. 

6. Minimal Food Waste 

All eligible excess food from our concessions, VIP tent, and Back of House catering will be donated to local organizations to minimize food waste and ensure all eligible food is able to reach people in need. 

7. Expanded Vegetarian and Vegan Menu

To help promote a planetary health diet, all concessions will be vegetarian, with an increased range of vegan options also available, in order to further minimize our event’s environmental impact and carbon footprint.

6. Indigenous Trees

For the third year in a row, our set will include a variety of indigenous trees and tree saplings. 

At the end of the event, these trees will be donated to the New York City Parks Department and Central Park Conservancy to be planted in nearby parks.

7. Repurposed Stage 

As well as donating pieces of our scenery to help replenish and increase local trees, we are also continuing to minimize the amount of new materials used in our festival stage and set. 

Our event set will be made from reused and repurposed materials from previous Global Citizen Festivals. 

8. Crowd Engagement & Education

In addition to reducing our environmental impact on the day of Global Citizen Festival, we’ll also be working to engage and educate attendees, to help empower them to keep making sustainable decisions way beyond the festival. 

Volunteers will be wandering the crowd, offering attendees the chance to take a sustainability quiz to help them be well-informed on the climate crisis and responsible sustainability practices. Attendees who take the quiz will be in with a chance of winning some retro Global Citizen merch as a thank you for their commitment to the environment. 

The 2023 Global Citizen Festival campaign takes aim at the major issues perpetuating extreme poverty, including the impacts of the climate emergency particularly on the Global South, the inequities affecting women and girls around the world, and the global hunger crisis, and will call on governments to protect and defend advocates everywhere. 

The campaign will unite millions of voices, amplified by the world’s biggest artists, to demand urgent action from world leaders gathering in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly in September. Wherever you are in the world, you can join the campaign and take action right now by downloading the Global Citizen app or heading to our website

Global Citizen Life

Defend the Planet

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

By Fadeke Banjo