New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Earns Gold Certification for Commitment to Sustainability and Community Impact

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (“Jazz Fest”) presented by Shell, one of North America’s leading cultural events, has been newly awarded Gold certification by the Council for Responsible Sport, earning the festival distinction for their outstanding approach to social, environmental, economic and community impact.

Jazz Fest which hosted some 475,000 visitors across 7 days, including more than 700 artists and participants successfully developed a comprehensive approach to minimizing the environmental footprint of the festival, while increasing the inclusivity, economic and social benefits of the 53-year-old New Orleans institution.

New Orleans street jazz musician playing jazz in the french quarter.

The achievement of Gold certification from the independent Council For Responsible Sport (“Council”) recognizes not only the commitment of Jazz Fest to a broad range of sustainability and impact goals but also the work to embed these approaches into day-to-day activity and then track and measure performance consistently. It also means that the Jazz Fest becomes the largest cultural festival to receive certification under the Council’s framework.

“This is an outstanding achievement for such a large and diverse event, we congratulate the Jazz Fest team, and their long-time presenting partner Shell USA for the focus and work of all involved to reach this milestone,” said Kevin Phelan, Board Member, Council for Responsible Sport. “The work on waste-diversion, carbon footprinting, the extensive inclusion of local vendors and diverse community engagement were some highlights of the systematic approach taken by the organizers.”

“On behalf of everyone at Jazz Fest, we’re honored to have the Festival receive Gold certification from the Council,” said Quint Davis, Producer/Director of the event. “Thanks to our partnership with Shell, the Festival has been able to develop a robust sustainability campaign, which is an important complement to our longstanding commitment to the cultural and socio-economic wellbeing of our community.”

Some of the highlights of the 2022 Jazz Fest included:

  • 17.56 metric tons of recycling diverted from landfill and 4.37 metric tons of food waste composted
  • 1.13 metric tons of hard-to-recycle plastics collected – waste being sent to a Nexus facility in Atlanta as part of Shell’s “Plastics Circularity Project”
  • Recycled 2,500 gallons of cooking oil which is turned into fuel for local shrimping boats
  • 2022 was the first year for Shell’s Recycle Rewards program, which rewarded festival goers for recycling plastic bottles or aluminum cans
  • The Shell team used the fair market value of the materials recycled to calculate a $16,000 donation made to local non-profits to fund continued waste-reduction benefits in the local community.
  • [The completion of a carbon footprint study, including the offsetting of 7,098 mt of Scope 1 and some Scope 3 emissions]
  • The NOLA Supplier Impact Program which will strengthen the business sustainability and continuity of Black Female Suppliers in the Greater New Orleans area focused on an increased understanding of how to maintain business continuity and sustainability even in times of uncertainty and provide productive networking and increased connections within the Women’s Business community.

All these efforts were assessed in adherence to the Council’s rigorous certification standards using the cloud-based ReScore platform that enables sporting event organizers to measure, track, report, and verify their progress on a broad range of environmental and social indicators. It simplifies the approach for organizers who want to meet the increasing expectations of fans, visitors, artists, sponsors, and host communities that large-scale cultural and sporting events be more sustainable and socially inclusive.

Colette Hirstius, Shell SVP Gulf of Mexico, commented: “In our partnership with Jazz Fest, Shell is enhancing the festival through a range of programs that support sustainability, both for the event and raising awareness among the 475,000+ people who attend. The review and assessment undertaken by the Council highlight the progress made, as well as continued opportunities for improvement. We continue to be honored to be the presenting sponsor for this legendary event and expand the recycling program further.”

The initial 2-year certification of Jazz Fest took place in May 2022.

News via Shell USA, Inc.