Environmental sustainability is a priority for Ninja Tune. Like a lot of people we are worried about the climate and ecological emergency, the impending weather, food, water catastrophes caused by greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution.
It is clear that widespread change must come from our governments, the biggest global corporations and in particular the fossil fuel companies, but we don’t want to sit on our hands and wait for that to happen. We are changing how we operate step by step, 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 help protect the planet for our children and grandchildren. We also recognise that the climate and ecological emergency is already causing death and poverty in parts of the global south and call on governments and corporations to work towards a just transition worldwide.
Here’s a list of some of the things we’re doing – please get in touch with your suggestions firstname.lastname@example.org
Commitments & Actions
• Ninja Tune committed to being carbon neutral by the end of 2021, and carbon negative beyond that, see 'Balancing Our Emissions'.
• We will measure our environmental impacts and emissions using the IMPALA Carbon Calculator built by Julie's Bicycle.
• We will continue to work on reductions, and balance our remaining impacts using tree planting, rainforest protection and other carefully chosen and audited real world actions to balance our impacts.
• Ninja Tune is working to support the whole music business including music streaming services being carbon neutral by a target date of 2026, but in any case by 2030, see 'Sustainability Campaigning'.
Action on Scope 1, 2 & 3 emissions
Scope 1: Direct Emissions (fuels burned e.g. gas, petrol)
• Ninja Tune office gas central heating was replaced by an electric air-source heat pump in 2021.
• No Ninja Tune owned or operated vehicles.
Scope 2: Indirect Emissions from electricity purchased
• Ninja Tune office electricity supply has been with a renewable energy supplier for many years, currently using Good Energy.
• We have 22 PV solar panels on the roof of our London office reducing the supply needed from the grid.
• Ninja Tune Los Angeles office electricity comes from 100% renewable sources via the LADWP ‘Green Power’ tariff.
• Ninja Tune Berlin office electricity comes from 100% renewable sources via Vattenfall.
Scope 3: All Other Indirect Emissions (e.g. travel, waste, manufacture, distribution)
• Manufacture of physical records - mainly vinyl and CDs - reductions in footprint:
• All sleeves from sustainably sourced FSC card and paper. Many sleeves made from recycled card and paper.
• Ninja Tune stopped releasing CDs in plastic jewel cases in 2008, research shows the footprint of a plastic jewel cases is 20 times that of a card only sleeve (high manufacture footprint and difficult to recycle).
• Most of our vinyl pressings are 140g rather than 180g (with no loss in audio quality) which reduces manufacture and distribution footprint proportionally.
• Working on industry-wide inititives to encourage pressing plants to switch to reduce their emissions, including via the AIM Climate Action Group and the IMPALA Sustainability Task Force.
• All overstocks are recycled, with plastics from vinyl and CD discs ground down and reused, and card sleeves pulped.
• Distribution of physical product:
• Shipping from pressing plants to distributors, using sea freight instead of air freight where we can.
• Mailorders via ninjatune.net and Ninja Tune Bandcamp are packed with recycled and recyclable paper, card and tape.
• Lobbying distributors for efficiencies.
• We are working on more accurate calculation on the footprint of shipping the records we sell and commit to balancing these impacts with investment in tree planting, forest protection and Gold Standard offsets.
• Emissions from streaming:
• We aim to get data for music streaming including the footprint of DSPs (Spotify, Apple, YouTube etc) servers. Currently our sources of engagement are via AIM and IMPALA sustainability groups.
• Lobbying our web-hosting suppliers to switch to 100% renewably sourced electricity.
• Ninja Tune staff travel:
• Where possible Ninja Tune business travel is by train.
• Ninja Tune subsidises train travel for staff holidays to assist staff travelling without flying.
• Laptops - in addition to standard office waste recycling, staff laptops which are no longer usable for us are donated to Community Tech Aid.
Make Money Matter
The global fossil fuel industry is underpinned substantially by investments from banks and pension companies.
• In 2020 we left our previous pensions provider Aegon because, after sustained lobbying, they failed to produce an environmental policy. Ninja Tune’s default employee stakeholder pension scheme is now the Sustainable Leaders scheme provided by Royal London which does not invest in fossil fuels. We have been asking them for more divested schemes to be introduced. More information on switching your pension at Make My Money Matter.
• We hold funds with Triodos Bank who invest only in sustainable projects.
• We lobby our other banking suppliers for improvements in their sustainability practices and fossil fuel divestment.
Ninja Tune devotes time and resources to non-profit initiatives to support the community around them and also to develop a dialogue with audiences on relevant social issues. From Coldcut's early partnerships with Greenpeace and others to our involvement with the Independent Music Cup, XLP/Arts Emergency, MIND, Help Refugees, and ongoing donations to organisations like Fair Fight, Extinction Rebellion and Rainforest Trust this has been in Ninja Tune's DNA since inception.
We know that reducing and offsetting our own emissions alone is not the solution to this crisis which is why we are also investing in campaigns to make changes in other ways, including:
• Ninja Tune is a co-founder of Music Declares Emergency
• Co-founder of AIM Climate Action Group, signatory to the Music Climate Pact and a founder investor in IMPALA's Carbon Calculator
• Ninja Tune founders Coldcut long running support for Greenpeace including performing at the Greenpeace Field at Glastonbury Festival many times, together with other Ninja Tune artists.
• Coldcut co-produced the EU funded Energy Union film and tour in 2009.
• Ninja Tune has funded various Extinction Rebellion projects including Roger Hallam's book 'Common Sence for the 21st Century' and a 40 metre 'A Flood Is Coming' banner used in the April 2019 rebellion.
• Seed funding for Transition Lab, a campaign to engage scientists in climate solutions.
Carbon Footprint Reports
Carbon Footprint Report 2019
Carbon Footprint Report 2020
Carbon Footprint Report 2021
Carbon Reports Headline Numbers (updated September 2022 with more accurate conversion factors):
2019 - Total footprint: 708 tonnes CO2e - Number of vinyl & CD discs produced: 281,875 - Average footprint per disc: 2.51kg CO2e
2020 - Total footprint: 1,123 tonnes CO2e - Number of vinyl & CD discs produced: 512,771 - Average footprint per disc: 2.19kg CO2e
2021 - Total footprint: 2.107 tonnes CO2e - Number of vinyl & CD discs produced: 872,592 - Average footprint per disc: 2.31kg CO2e
The current boom in physical record sales, especially during the pandemic, together with several successful record release campaigns has resulted in significantly increased sales of vinyl during 2020 and 2021, resulting in increased manufacture and distribution footprint.
Balancing Our Emissions
Ninja Tune is working with Dan Morrell's Balance to balance our 2021 and 2022 footprint. Balance helps create long-term biodiversity and protect the climate through responsible planting and protection of forests. Balance goes beyond offsetting to support the enduring biodiversity that is essential to sustainable life on Earth.
Our work with Balance involves ongoing investment in Marston Vale planting and protecting a new forest in a previously industrial site between Bedford and Milton Keynes in southern England (location/grid reference 52.0647637N 0.5682992W).
Balance's scientific methods are set out in the paper 'Balance Methodology' which has been analysed and peer reviewed by Professor Peter Cox (Exeter University), Bertil Abbing (Ecometrica), Crowther Lab Zurich.
Previous projects Ninja Tune has supported: Trees for Cities, Grow Trees, Rainforest Trust, Borneo Nature Foundation, Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Project , Utsil Naj - Healthy Homes for Mexico, Solar Cooking for Refugee Families in Chad, 20 MW Biomass Power Project in Chhattisgarh, India