Once again, K-pop fans prove themselves among the most active activists. This time, around 10,000 of them from 83 different countries are calling for Korean music companies to do their part in combating climate change.
As ABS CBN News explains, K-pop fans are known for buying multiple copies of albums in hopes of winning a chance to attend a “fan signs” or autograph sessions with their favorite stars. This strategy helps push up physical album sales, but can lead to more environmental waste. Ditto for all the plastic merchandise that’s churned out for concerts. These practices are leading some K-pop stans to wonder if there is a better way to express their fandom.
The Korea Times reports that the fans are asking for the companies to make concert tours more eco-friendly and to not use plastic for albums and merchandise. On Monday, the “Sustainable K-Entertainment” conference was held at the National Assembly in Seoul.
“Currently, there are more than 100 million K-pop followers across the globe and K-pop’s cultural clout is growing every day,” said K-pop environmental activist Lee Da-yeon, who delivered a message on behalf of the 10,000 K-pop fans.
“Considering its massive influence, K-pop should be more responsible in tackling global issues like climate change, and the record labels like HYBE, SM Entertainment, and YG Entertainment should listen to the voices of the fans who are asking them to join the green movement for future generations,” Lee added. “There will be no K-pop on a dead planet.”
Excellent points on all accords.
Lee, who is a part of climate change activist group Kpop4Planet, outlined a series of changes during her presentation. “The companies can first reduce the use of plastic when producing their singers’ albums and merchandise,” she said. “There are many ways they can limit their carbon footprint during the concerts, too. In the case of singers, they may release songs about the need to go climate positive or take part in climate action programs.”
During the symposium, Professor Cedarbough Saeji of Pusan National University suggested that phasing out plastic glow sticks would help make concerts more green, as would renovating older venues to reduce heating and cooling. Another possibility would be banning single-use plastic bottles.
There have already been initial endeavors at making K-pop more sustainable. In February, singer Chungha released an environmental-friendly physical version of her album Querencia. “It’s a hot topic nowadays, so we wanted to produce the album made with environmentally friendly papers,” said Chungha (via SCMP). “We also tried to minimize the use of lamination and other unnecessary plastics, except for photo cards, something very important for our fans.” The album wasn’t packaged in a plastic jewel case, and the box and booklet weren’t laminated to cut down on plastic.
As Koreaboo notes, other stars have been getting on the act: Red Velvet were named South Korea’s public relations ambassadors for the National Climate Council, and Blackpink (pictured above) spoke about the perils of climate change for the United Nations climate change conference COP26.
“Holding a carbon-neutral concert without deteriorating its quality appears to be the key to the issue,” said Cho Han-kyu, vice president of Kakao M Entertainment. “I think we need more in-depth discussions with our company officials and the artists to figure out how we can attain such a goal.”