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Universal Music names first Head of Sustainability

Dylan Siegler joins from sustainability media and events firm GreenBiz.
Melodie Michel
Universal Music names first Head of Sustainability
Dylan Siegler, UMG's new Head of Sustainability, speaking at Greenbiz 2024 (YouTube)

Universal Music Group (UMG) has named Dylan Siegler as its first Head of Sustainability – one of seven leaders appointed to the newly formed Global Impact Team.

Siegler will start on June 10 and lead the company’s global sustainability efforts, working alongside Chief Impact Officer Susan Mazo, VP of Global Impact Markie Ruzzo, Senior Director, Global Impact & Communications Sharlotte Ritchie and SVP and Executive Director, Task Force for Meaningful Change Menna Demessie.

The team will be advised by Inside Projects, a strategy and marketing agency specialised in social impact, which has also worked with the likes of Higher Ground Productions, Netflix and Spotify.

Siegler joins from sustainability media and events firm GreenBiz, where she curated the annual GreenBiz event and led sustainability efforts for the past two and a half years. Before that, she held a number of sustainability roles at telco Verizon, utility NRG Energy and the city of Austin, Texas. She started her career as a music and culture journalist.

In a Linkedin post announcing her new job, Siegler explained that she met Susan Mazo (now UMG’s Chief Impact Officer) while working as a journalist at Billboard. “She's built a powerhouse team (of kickass women) to work across the intersections of impact at UMG. When we reconnected a few months ago, I had no idea this is where it would lead. And I'm so grateful to be a part of it. The opportunity to leverage the amplifier effect of popular culture to make meaningful change is real. Watch us do it,” she added.

Sustainability in the music industry

Sustainability is a relatively recent concern in the music industry, but it is gaining prominence as climate change begins to disrupt activities: last December, a fan died of a heat stroke at Taylor Swift’s Rio de Janeiro concert as temperatures reached almost 40ºC.

Coldplay has vowed to make its Music of the Spheres World Tour more sustainable, mainly by installing kinetic dance floors and bikes that charge batteries to power shows.Two years in, the band has cut emissions by 59% compared to its previous stadium tour.

Other initiatives include Metallica using electric and natural gas vehicles for their European tour and Billie Eilish serving plant-based food and incorporating batteries to her shows – as well as pledging to avoid private flights.

Music Industry Climate Collective

In November 2023, Universal Music Group, Sony Music Group and Warner Music Group launched a ‘Music Industry Climate Collective’ (MICC), to develop science-based methodologies and metrics for the global music industry, which hasn’t yet been a focus of climate standards such as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

Its first initiative will be to develop sectoral guidance to measure Scope 3 emissions, including product manufacturing, distribution and licensing. 

For UMG Chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge, the formation of the Global Impact Team reflects a commitment “not only to accelerating our work in these critical areas but to do so in a way that leverages the experience and talent of these exceptional individuals to drive positive impact across our company, our industry and in the communities in which we serve”.  

“With this new structure we are ensuring that these functions are not siloed, but rather positioned to meaningfully influence all aspects of our global strategy,” he added.