When asked to think of the legendary rock group PEARL JAM, the first image to come to mind is likely the band on stage but PEARL JAM is more than a band. As a company, PEARL JAM moves tons of equipment and people around the globe and stand up and tear down events for tens of thousands of people in a day. In 2003, PEARL JAM began looking at how to track and mitigate its large touring carbon footprint. Since then, the band has made investments totaling over $1 million dollars to offset carbon emissions from touring, putting its money behind the philosophy that private business must acknowledge its role in climate change and voluntarily and substantially invest to accelerate the world's shift to a renewable economic system.
In continuing their ongoing commitment to acknowledge and address the band's carbon footprint, PEARL JAM committed to paying $200 per ton of CO2 as its minimum continuing baseline for its "Gigaton" tour. Globally, the carbon offset market varies widely, with the average falling into $1-15 per ton.
"We are not going to move to a carbon-neutral economy without a massive shift in priorities and behavior. We need huge amounts of capital to innovate, invest, and problem solve to create brand new systems, and we need those investments to be smart and persistent," says rhythm guitarist Stone Gossard. "By committing to this aggressive pricing, we hope to amplify our efforts tenfold, highlight the most compelling avenues for carbon sequestration, mitigation, and reduction, and hopefully gather many partners who share our urgency to make the enormous efforts and innovations required to move our world to a carbon balanced and more conscious economy."
Though big rock tours have significant impacts and will continue to do so until electric trucks and aviation become commonplace, PEARL JAM believes the most promising route to change is to continue to do business while investing capital in different strategies to reduce C02 emissions. Recognizing there is not one silver bullet, the funds from the "Gigaton" tour will support a layered approach.
The portfolio runs the gamut from sustainable fuels to rainforest protection to photovoltaic technology. Through public awareness, PEARL JAM hopes to inspire other businesses and individuals to respond to climate change individually and wherever possible, collectively investigating and investing in carbon-reducing and mitigating technology, and to do so at a meaningful level.
Securing Protection Of Kayapo Indigenous Territories:
Partnering with the International Conservation Fund of Canada & Kayapo Indigenous people, PEARL JAM is investing significant resources to help the Kayapo secure the borders of their 22 million acres in the Amazon. Indigenous lands provide global-scale environmental benefits and retain 25.5% of all carbon stocks in Brazil. Kayapo lands contain (above and below ground) an estimated 2.5 billion tons of carbon, or 9 billion tons of CO2, the equivalent of 1.7 years of total U.S. CO2 emissions. PEARL JAM's investment will support a less traditional approach to carbon offsetting by enabling the Kayapo Indigenous people to build guard posts and increase surveillance along the 1,375 miles of Kayapo lands' border to protect the 22 million acres of pristine rainforest.
Harvesting The Sun On Farms:
PEARL JAM is supporting the establishment of the Agrivoltaics Research and Demonstration Station on a part of Warren Wilson College's 1,200 acre sustainable farm and forestry landscape. Elevated agrivoltaics produce power overhead while farmers continue farming crops, pasture grasses, and livestock grazing underneath. Recent global mapping found it would require just two percent of existing cultivated farmland to install agrivoltaics to generate virtually all of the world's total energy demands for all purposes in all sectors. Warren Wilson is one of the nation's premier experiential work colleges, located near Asheville, North Carolina.
Supporting The Future Of Aviation:
PEARL JAM is offsetting its aviation travel through the purchase of sustainable aviation fuel from JetBlue Airways in partnership with the Sustainable Aviation Buyers Association. While acknowledging sustainable aviation fuel is an imperfect situation, the reality that large airplanes will not be electrified like smaller aircraft make biofuels imperative for the next several decades. It hopes its investment in sustainable aviation fuel which can lower aviation emissions by upwards of 60 percent will catalyze both supply markets and the necessary oversight to ensure fuels are sourced ethically.
The Nature Conservancy:
PEARL JAM is supporting the Washington Rainforest Renewal Project, a forest carbon offset project managed by The Nature Conservancy. Washington's coastal rainforest is part of the distinctive Emerald Edge landscape spanning across Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Southeast Alaska. The region is home to one of earth's largest carbon reservoirs, iconic biodiversity and more than 200 indigenous communities and First Nations who have been stewards of this landscape since time immemorial.
Bringing Electric School Buses To The Masses:
PEARL JAM is collaborating with Highland Electric Fleets to help empower people around North America to advocate for clean, healthy electric school buses in their communities. The leading provider of fleet electrification-as-a-service in North America, Highland is on a mission to make electric fleets accessible and affordable for all. The company helps school districts, governments, and fleet operators upgrade to electric fleets today for the same cost as or less than their current costs to purchase, operate, and maintain their diesel buses. Active in 30 states and Canada, Highland is responsible for the largest electric school bus deployment in the United States. PEARL JAM is supporting Highland to codify and promote best practices, educational materials, and lessons learned into a simple advocacy toolkit for communities across the country.
In addition to the role of business, the band also hits on individuals' opportunities as voters to move the issue forward. The band urges everyone to vote for representatives that can commit to supporting policies that make green energy and engineering innovation attractive and build momentum for this transformation. PEARL JAM hopes its efforts will inspire sustained and persistent engagement with a myriad of efforts — in business, policy, and technology — to ultimately transform economies to carbon neutral.