Since its very first festival in 1988, Tollwood Festival has embraced concern for environmental impacts into the event’s production. What began with the demonstration of a small solar cell has grown over the years into an essential and extremely effective part of the festival.
In the early 90’s, Tollwood initiated an important innovation, contrary to accepted practice - that at festivals and similar events, food was only allowed to be served on disposables. Tollwood began serving food on porcelain, with a special dishwashing system set up by the organisers. It was this demonstration of what was possible, and a fantastic legacy to the industry in the region, which lead to the city of Munich requiring the Oktoberfest to serve food in reusable dishes too.
From the beginning,Tollwood has also provided served food and drinks that are as ecologically as possible. Since 2003, their summer and winter Tollwood Festivals have been certified according to the EU Eco-Regulation.[i] Today, the dishes constist of close to 100% organic ingredients. Furthermore, each food vendor must provide at least one vegetarian main dish. In addition to the organic label, tea, coffee, wine, rice, sugar, chocolate, bananas and mangos carry a fair trade label.
The project ‘Bio für Kinder’ (‘Organic for Children’) initiated at the beginning of 2006 together with the Department of Health and the Environment of the City of Munich has been one of Tollwood's most successful campaigns. 31 sponsors from Munich’s business community helped to ensure that organic food is served at some 30 childcare institutions. As of today, close to 650 000 100% organic dishes have been served, with a mere surplus cost of 16,5% on average. The success of this project helped to foster a city council decision: from autumn 2013 on, 50% organic food will be served in all municipal kindergardens and schools – a model for Germany.
Since 2000, Tollwood sources green electricity from the Munich public utility company, this way avoiding 620t of CO2 each year.. Green event technology and saving energy programmes such as energy efficiency checks for vendors help to save large amounts of energy festival for festival.
In 2007, Tollwood initiated the ‘Weltsalon’. Here everything revolves around the major environmental and social issues of our time: Events about globalization and equity, war and peace, environmental destruction and innovation, courageous people and forward-looking projects. In this fascinating tent, with light projections varying according to theme, people from all over the world – the ‘leaders in their field’ – come together on stage. The Weltsalon is a call to rethink. The focus is not only on becoming informed but on experiencing. Instead of theories, people. Instead of helplessness, encouragement to act. A place of both calm and movement.