Ultra Music Festival Miami Successful Sustainability Story

Ultra Music Festival Successful Sustainability Story
Ultra Music Festival Successful Sustainability Story

Ultra Music Festival stands out as a sustainability powerhouse due to its Mission: Home program, reducing 90% of single-use plastics, diverting 184,000 pounds of waste from landfills, and engaging 1,000+ colleagues. With innovative partnerships and community initiatives, it sets a new standard for eco-conscious festivals worldwide.

The Ultra Music Festival in Miami won the prestigious Sustainability Team Award at the most recent World Sustainability Awards ceremony. This makes the festival a world leader in environmental responsibility.

The World Sustainability Awards are given every year to companies that put sustainability at the center of their strategic growth. This year’s ceremony took place at The Garden Of Amsterdam, and Ultra Music Festival representatives were there to accept their award in person.

Ultra Music Festival Miami Sustainability infographic
Ultra Music Festival Miami Sustainability infographic

This year World Sustainability Award (2024)

There were a lot of applications to the World Sustainability Leaders Congress. Big, foreign companies were competing hard to win. This shows how big of a win Ultra Music Festival really was. Ultra Music Festival was one of 13 winners chosen from 220 applications from organizations in 35 different countries by a panel of 25 top judges in the music business.

Companies like AT&T, HEINEKEN, HP, and many more were on the shortlists for all 13 categories of the awards. This is an amazing list that makes Ultra Music Festival even more of an international leader when it comes to environmental issues. Ultra Music Festival beat out Paramount, TELUS, Stryker, Dentsu, and other global companies and their sustainability departments to win their own Sustainability Team Award.

Coming from a diverse range of professional backgrounds, Ultra Music Festival’s lean but agile sustainability team has worked with a host of partners both within and outside the organization to drive tangible changes in areas ranging from eliminating

[nearly] 90% of single-use plastics from its site to diverting 180,000 pounds of waste from landfill and supporting local communities with food and beverage donations. The team has also trained more than 1,000 colleagues on sustainability while raising awareness on sustainability issues in an external-facing campaign that reached an audience of 6 million people. – World Sustainability Leaders

Mission: Home, Ultra Music Festival sustainability program

In fact, Mission: Home is the Ultra Music Festival‘s sustainability program run by four women from a range of ethnic and social groups. It has shown how to make a festival more sustainable by working together across departments. It depends on internal teams, outside sellers, event staff, community partners, and festivalgoers who are taught and given the tools to play a sustainable role working together.

This speaks volumes about the power of music and the arts to call on collective action, and what better purpose than protecting our planet. – Vivian Belzaguy Hunter, Director of Sustainability, Ultra Music Festival

Mission: Home” includes an environmental education and awareness campaign aimed at the event’s 55,000 international attendees every day. This campaign is shared with these people through on-site signage, email, website, and social media, reaching a total of over 6.5 million followers around the world. Mission: Home video is also shown on the event’s UMFTV livestream every year, which millions of people around the world watch.

Since Mission: Home began in 2019, they have put together detailed tracking reports every year to show how their work together and teaching efforts have affected people. Mission: Home has been recognized by the Florida Festivals and Events Association, Oceanic Global, and Debris Free Oceans in 2022, as well as by the events industry and local and global environmental groups. Now, in 2023, Sustainability Leaders, the London-based global community intelligence network for CSOs (Chief Sustainability Officers) and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) leaders, has joined the list of organizations that recognize Mission: Home.

Mission: Home held its third event in March 2023 at Bayfront Park, which is also home to the Ultra Music Festival. It brought back its main goals of reducing waste, stopping pollution, protecting nature, getting people involved in their communities, and taking action on climate change. The event had 40 projects. In its 2023 Sustainability Report, the program listed many impressive achievements.

For example, its work with Clean Vibes, a waste management and recycling partner, has helped the festival keep over 184,000 pounds of trash out of landfills and get all recycling loads accepted at local facilities over the course of the program’s three-year run.

From our president to all of our partners and vendors both internal and external, our program is only possible with the support of everyone we work with. – Emily Milton, Sustainability Program Manager, Ultra Music Festival

Recycling at Ultra Music Festival

Ultra also worked with Replenysh, a circularity tool that lets people see exactly where recyclables go, to make sure that most of the event’s recyclables stayed in the domestic supply chain.

Over 81,040 pounds of aluminum cans and plastic bottles from Ultra and other local sources were recycled in the southeast United States, which is where Ultra is based. This is a big improvement over traditional recycling, where items are often sent across the country or abroad and are then reused or recycled less, leaving a bigger carbon footprint than local delivery to a known location.

The whole food and beverage Ultra Music Festival supply chain follows Mission: Home sustainability criteria

In addition to reducing waste, Ultra has given away almost 40,000 pounds of resources, like food and materials, since Mission: Home began. These resources were then given to partners that help the local community. Mission: Home has given more than 7,500 pounds of food to The Caring Place over the past two years. This is enough food for over 6,200 meals. The Caring Place is a homeless outreach center in Miami and Broward County that has been helping people with meals and refuge since 1922.

Other partners, like Best Beverage Catering and food providers who follow the rules, have helped Ultra cut down on 1.7 million plastics and get rid of almost 88% of the single-use plastics that were being used. This includes cups, straws, plates, cutlery, and many other items used for food service.

Also, Event Water Solutions and Hope Hydration set up free water refill sites that have kept over 605,000 plastic water bottles out of landfills since 2019.

Energy Efficiency

Ultra also worked with ZAP Concepts, a company known all over the world for its energy efficiency expertise, to do an energy efficiency review with CES Power, a specialty entertainment power supplier. This helped them find specific areas for power efficiency that can help the environment in the future. Ultra’s sustainability team has also done background studies on carbon emissions related to the event’s production to help plan future actions to help the climate.

Zedd Ultra Music Festival Miami 2023 pic by alivecoverage
Zedd Ultra Music Festival Miami 2023 pic by alivecoverage

The future of Mission: Home. This year at Ultra Miami

These successes were made possible by Mission: Home’s effective team-building philosophy. This led to a program that educates over 1,000 employees, staff, partners, and vendors about sustainability through role-specific outreach, guidelines, and training. The program also includes integrated student volunteer and internship programs that have trained and empowered 25 future festival sustainability leaders. Ultra Music event’s sustainability has been “future-proofed” by all of this hard work and leadership. The event wants to keep its world-class environmental status for years to come.

Our ‘Mission: Home’ program has become part of the fabric of our organization. I could not be more proud to be recognized as an industry leader on this global stage. – Ultra’s Founder and CEO, Russell Faibisch

We are excited to let you know that the Mission: Home program will be back at Bayfront Park for a fourth time during the Ultra Music Festival on March 22, 23, and 24, 2024. The Sustainability team wants to keep adding new projects to the program that will help it reach its goals of reducing waste, stopping pollution, protecting nature, getting people involved in the community, and taking action on climate change. Ultra wants to be a good example of environmental responsibility in the music event business and beyond. They want their partners, attendees, and the community to follow suit.