Universal Live – Sustainable Event Technology


The team at Universal Live have been providing full service technical support to the live event industry for over 30 years.

We provide great people, great ideas, great support and great kit for our clients. Our services include sound, light, vision, stage, power and media. All delivered on-time and on-budget, with complete support from inception through to delivery and beyond.

As a hire company, re-using items is at the core of our business, and our technical kit will be used many times over its lifetime. However, it’s undeniable that live events can create a lot of waste. From the largest single use items such as stage carpets and bespoke scenery, down to batteries in radio mics and miles of gaffa tape, every event has the potential to send a lot to landfill.

Finding solutions that are both sustainable and affordable, that either maintain or improve the quality of the events we produce, is not always easy. Therefore, we have a member of the team dedicated to just that: our Innovation and Sustainability Lead, Neil Clappison. Neil’s role is to explore new and innovative technologies, keeping us up to speed with what’s coming next in the world of AV, and to ensure the events we produce are as sustainable as possible.

Reducing landfill waste is at the top of Neil’s list of priorities, and we’ve introduced a range of measures tackling this problem. One of the most significant is our stage carpet – we go through almost 5000m2 of it every year. We are proud members of Carpet Recycling UK, meaning we supply our events with 100% recycled carpet, which is recycled again after use.

Investment in the right kit is another opportunity to increase the sustainability of our service. For example, our lighting stock is all LED, greatly reducing the power needed to bring our events to life with the added benefit of eliminating lamps being sent to landfill. A recent investment in Shure’s Axient Digital Wireless Microphone System not only gives our clients the best new tech on the market, it also removes thousands of AA batteries from our events every year.

Items we can’t eliminate, such as large format print and protective wrapping for set panels, have been swapped from plastic to PVC-free & biodegradable options, diverting a huge amount of single-use plastic from landfill.

It’s not all about waste though, transport also plays its part in our impact. To minimise this, we’ve chosen a logistics partner with environmental awards, and our Operations Team coordinate trucking and deliveries to and from site to minimise the carbon footprint of moving our equipment around. Crew either car share or use public transport to get to and from site, whichever is the most efficient.

Our commitment to sustainability doesn’t stop at the events we produce though. We consider the environmental impact of each and every business decision we make. This year alone has seen us invest heavily in solar energy production, powering our head office and exporting our surplus energy to the grid. We’ve installed charge points for electric vehicles, created pollinator-friendly wildflower areas in our car park, and compost and recycle everything we can.

We really care about doing the right thing in every aspect of our business. Our future plans include formalising our efforts and achievements with ISO 14001 accreditation, as well as continuing to make any changes we can to make every event as sustainable as possible.

To learn more about us and how we can bring your events to life more sustainably, visit www.universal-live.com, or get in touch at info@universal-live.com. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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Adam Parry
Author: Adam Parry

Adam is the co-founder and editor of www.eventindustrynews.com Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.

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