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24 September 2014

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You are in: London > Entertainment > Music > Features > How green is the Material Girl?


Madonna will close the Live Earth bill

How green is the Material Girl?

As London gears up for Saturday's Live Earth concert at Wembley to tackle climate change, we examine the carbon footprint of headline act Madonna...

Organised to raise awareness of climate change, Live Earth is a massive series of concerts taking place over seven continents.

Madonna will headline this Saturday's main London show at Wembley, under the strap line "Concerts for a Climate in Chaos".

Her new song Hey You, released to tie-in with the concert, is a rallying call for people to take responsibility for their individual impact on the environment.

The video features images of polar bears and melting ice-caps alongside pictures of cars being filled with petrol and aeroplanes taking off.

But how green are the Material Girl's own credentials? In the run-up to Live Earth, an environmental consultant has calculated Madonna's carbon output to be over 1,000 tonnes a year.

John Buckley from the company Carbon Footprint has helped BBC London to examine the number of flights and car journeys the singer and her entourage have made in the last 12 months.

'madonna experts'

Although the environmental audit was offered to Madonna for free, her management decided not to co-operate.

Instead messages were posted on her fan site and 'Madonna experts' were asked to draw up a full itinerary for the singer since May 2006.

"She needs to be seen to be walking the walk as well as singing the song..."

Environmental consultant John Buckley's assessment of Madonna

The lion's share of the performer's carbon output was generated during the Confessions Tour, one of the biggest pop tours ever staged.

Madonna clocked up 56 concerts across the world. At least 100 people, including crew, dancers and support staff, travelled with her.

Based on these calculations it's estimated that the tour generated over 651 tonnes of carbon.

"Madonna produces the same amount of carbon as 102 average Britons," said Mr Buckley. "Even though she runs a global business she's also set herself up as some sort of ambassador for the environment.

"Therefore she needs to be seen to be walking the walk as well as singing the song."


The audit also took into account two return flights on a private jet to Malawi to organise the adoption of her son David.

There were also numerous scheduled flights, with staff, to fashion shows, guest appearances and holidays, which came to just over 267 tonnes of carbon.

Madonna with baby David in Malawi

Madonna went to Malawi for her adoption

"This is ridiculous," replied Daniel Fulvio, deputy news editor of Heat Magazine and self-confessed "UK's no 1 Madonna fan".

"Madonna is a global movement, what do you expect her to do - wait around in the departure lounge at Heathrow in her conical bra for the next scheduled flight?"

The audit also looked at the singer's cars and homes. Her two Range Rovers and four other cars were estimated to produce 8 tonnes of carbon per annum.

Madonna's total footprint for the last 12 months was estimated at 1,017 tonnes. It would cost her around £6,000 to offset this output, reckoned Mr Buckley. 


last updated: 09/07/07

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Thanks for bringing to light the hypocrisy of these pathetic out-of-touch people. Madonna don't preach!

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