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Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash

Last April, European indies body Impala launched a carbon calculator tool to help its members understand their emissions.

Now that tool, developed with climate-emergency organisation Julie’s Bicycle, has spawned a report analysing the data from labels who’ve used it.

Among the findings: a figure for the average carbon footprint of a physical unit – a vinyl record or CD. That figure is 3.21kgCO2e (kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent), with 65.1% of that coming from the manufacturing process.

Manufacturing is the biggest emissions ‘hotspot’ identified by the report. In general (i.e. not just for individual releases) it represents 76% of an independent label’s emissions, with more than three quarters of that being vinyl production.

Distribution is 15% of their carbon footprint on average: the freighting of records, CDs and merch between manufacturing plants, warehouses and retailers.

The report also offers suggestions for greener ways of doing all this business, with case studies from Ninja Tune and Beggars Group.

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