the big green
Days Until The Big Green
Until The Big Green

Sustainable Event Policy

The Big Green Sustainable Music Festival combines live music with education about how small changes in personal habits can have a big impact on our community’s environmental, social and economic sustainability.

Volunteers organize this annual event adhering to the internationally recognized ISO 20121 Event Sustainability Management Systems standard, which allows us to:

  • Plan for maximum fun with minimal environmental impact  — including near-zero landfill waste.
  • Promote inclusivity, stewardship and transparency.
  • Measure results against established targets.
  • Create reinvestment revenue to further Sustainable Fox Valley’s mission.

    Read on for a detailed breakdown of the ISO standard and how we’ve incorporated its use into The Big Green.

Event Mission/Purpose

The Big Green Sustainable Music Festival is a celebration of our local creative culture, sustainability, community involvement, and inclusiveness. We will provide ways for guests to minimize the event's impact and our goal is near-zero waste.

The festival features live home-grown music, local foods and a local marketplace, handcrafted local beers, and sustainability-related workshops. We strive to hold up the Fox Valley as a wonderful place to live, work, and enjoy our surroundings.

Net proceeds from the event will support the outreach and networking functions of Sustainable Fox Valley, a nonprofit 501c(3) organization. Our vision for engaging and connecting Fox Valley residents in creating a healthy future includes:

  • Resilient and self-reliant local economies
  • Opportunities for all to thrive in their community
  • A healthy natural environment

Our Commitment to Sustainable Development

The Big Green Sustainable Music Festival embraces the concept of sustainable development. We strive to plan and conduct an event that integrates the goals of a high quality of life, health and prosperity with social justice, while maintaining the earth’s capacity to support life in all its diversity. We believe our event’s social, economic, and environmental goals are interdependent and mutually reinforcing.

Throughout our event we promote environmentally sound practices to reduce our event’s environmental footprint: composting, recycling, all food vendors use compostable serve ware, all attendees and supply chain partners conserve water and resources and are required to attend a conservation training session.

We promote our local economy through the local sourcing of entertainment talent, workshops, marketplace offerings, and use local restaurants that serve locally-sourced food. All proceeds will be reinvested in our local community through Sustainable Fox Valley.
The Big Green Sustainable Music Festival strives to create a socially just event. We support diversity, equity, and fair wages throughout our sourcing practices. Affordable pricing policies are in place, volunteer opportunities include free entrance to the event, and we are also seeking out marginalized groups that normally would not be able to attend our event in an effort to be inclusive.

Our festival is following the ISO 20121 framework and supports the following core values:


We strive for the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all interested parties. Any person or organization that can be affected by our event will be given a voice in the planning and execution of our event.


The responsibility for adhering to the concept of sustainable development for our event is shared by all our volunteers, staff, talent, and supply chain. Expectations and proper procedures are clearly communicated.


The Big Green practices openness about our decisions and activities that affect society, the economy and environment, and is willing to communicate this decision in a clear, accurate, timely, and honest manner.

Objectives / Targets / Measures

The Big Green Sustainable Music Festival has evaluated all the significant sustainable development issues associated with our event and have put into place procedures to manage them in a responsible manner. Below are our event’s Objectives and Targets.


The sourcing for our event focuses upon healthy, local food and businesses. We have set criteria consistent with our mission and values for all our supply chain partners and include it in our contracts. Near-zero waste is a requirement for all of our sourcing decisions.

Objective: Support local business to strengthen our community
Targets: 100% of vendors are Wisconsin based
  80% of food offered is from Wisconsin and within 250 mile radius

Solid Waste

Our event strives to be a near-zero waste event. We take the minimization of trash seriously. Last year we generated less than one ounce of trash per person attending our event. All food vendors are required to use compostable serve ware and attend a training session on waste minimization. Leftover food will be donated to a local charity.

Objective: Minimize solid waste
Target: Reduce number of pounds sent to landfill by 25% (47 lbs. actual 2012)
Objective: Increase recycling and compost rates
Target: Increase diversion rate by 25% (67 lbs. compost, 40 lbs. recycled materials 2012 actual)

Reduce Transportation Impacts

The impacts of transportation are a big component of the environmental impact of any event. The Big Green Sustainable Music Festival strives to minimize the impact of transportation through many methods, as well as help educate our attendees on ways they can reduce their personal transportation impact.

Objective: Use local entertainment
Target: Source 100% of talent from Wisconsin or require some type of sustainable transportation.
Objective: Minimize impact of attendee travel
Target: Get 25% of attendees to carpool, bike, and walk or use public transportation


Water is critical to our quality of life, economy, and recreation and should be conserved like any other valuable resource. Increasingly, clean, readily accessible water is becoming scarce. Water saving methods will be in place at the event. We will have a free water filling station available to meet the hydration needs of our attendees. Production, transportation, and disposal of bottled water consume large quantities of water and energy. Switching from bottled to tap water actually conserves water.

Target: Minimization/Management Objective: No bottled water will be sold
Event Legacy: Due to the issues associated with bottled water such as increased transportation footprint and low bottled water container recycling percentage, we plan to educate our attendees on the environmental issues associated with bottled water. Our goal is to persuade individuals to refuse to buy or consume bottled water.
Objective: Get 25% of attendees to sign a pledge that they will not buy or consume bottled water

Economic Impact

The Big Green Sustainable Music Festival strives to create a positive economic environment for sustainable and local businesses and non-profit organizations to thrive. We want to lead the way in measuring and educating others of the benefits of using sustainable development principles.

Objective: Create economic opportunity for local businesses and non-profits
Target: Measure direct sales of vendors and revenue generated by The Big Green Music


Target: Increase proceeds for Sustain Fox Valley by 25%.


The Big Green Sustainable Music Festival strives to minimize the environmental footprint of our event. We use renewable fuel when possible and practice energy conservation.

Objective: Minimize use of fossil fuels
Target: Source electricity 100% with biodiesel


Education is the key to reducing the environmental footprint of our community. In addition to environmental education, we also include social and economic educational components to help our community learn more about balancing the components of sustainable development. The Big Green Sustainable Music Festival is designed to educate all stakeholders through various methods in our event planning, communications, and event.

Event Legacy: Provide sustainable / stewardship workshops for attendees
Target: Get 50% of attendees to go to one or more workshops
Target: Encourage nonprofits to measure how many people sign up to volunteer


One of our values is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all interested parties. Any person or organization that can be affected by our event will be given a voice in the planning and execution of our event.

Objective: Reach out to marginalized community
Target: Provide free access to a group that normally could not attend
Objective: Ensure all potential interested parties are included in planning
Target: Develop various means for gathering input on opinions, feedback and suggestions

Commitment to Continuous Improvement

The Big Green Sustainable Music Festival believes in continuous improvement. We welcome input from any of our stakeholders. This may include, but are not limited to: visitors, exhibitors, performers, local residents, police, local authorities, suppliers and sub-contractors.

We follow the continuous improvement model of plan, do, check and act. We hold a management review after the event is finished to evaluate opportunities for improvement, how we performed on our targets and objectives , and our adherence to our procedures. Overall,we want to provide a high quality event that follows the internationally recognized best practice ISO 20121 framework for Sustainable Events.

Sustainable Insights LLC