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  • Heidi Lenffer

Coffee, carbon and system change - meeting David Pocock

I never expected I’d be having coffee with Wallabies legend David Pocock a couple of weeks after launching FEAT. But that’s the beauty of Instagram hey.

He was keen to know if sports players could invest with FEAT and met us at our local cafe in Redfern after a training session at Moore Park. We traded our back stories, spoke about the time he got arrested blockading a coal mine, and spitballed ideas for a future collaboration. He was fascinated that we’d figured out the environmental impact of my band’s touring, and wanted us to do the same for his team’s upcoming Rugby World Cup tour.

We had some back and forth over email, collating all the relevant info — touring itineraries for all squad travel, training camps, personnel, freighted gear, accomodation etc. His itinerary was as intense as you’d expect — creating well over an estimated 1000 tonnes of CO2 pollution, roughly the same as 54 Australian households create in an entire year. Immense. (Massive thanks to Dr Chris Dey from Areté Sustainability for this number crunching.)

When I emailed through the numbers to him, his response resonated with me — shocked and saddened by the inescapable reality of his profession. It took me back to the first time I put a number on a Cloud Control Aus national tour. Pumping out 28 tonnes of CO2 over a short 16-date tour which was just a slice of our international touring efforts that year…

Then putting this in the perspective of a 64 billion dollar global live music industry and extrapolating what that figure might look like for much bigger bands than us, all the way up to the Beyoncé’s of the world. It certainly drove me to work harder and faster to figure out a solution for our industry.

The devastating Amazon fires were in the forefront of the news the week I sent these figures to Dave. He said the fires had preoccupied a lot of chats within the team. Armed with this info he took it upon himself to personally rally his teams mates to do something about it and within a few weeks Pocock, Dane Haylett-Petty and Bernard Foley were ready to invest with us.

We wound up doing a photo shoot with them the morning after the Wallabies VS Fiji match in Parramatta. They generously slotted this in before their recovery session, and I would hazard a bet this is the only FEAT photo shoot that will end with the subjects of the shoot immersing themselves in waist-height buckets of ice directly afterwards.

It’s rare to find such a genuine, deeply-considered and passionate advocate for social change as David Pocock. As he explained in the Guardian interview announcing our partnership: "I really believe that sport is at its best when it’s challenging society to be more inclusive, to be more forward thinking, and hopefully this is an area where sport can play more of a role, because we certainly aren’t getting the leadership from our politicians...

It’s ridiculous to think that changing lightbulbs and that sort of thing is enough. Those days are over. We need a big system change.

It has been a real honour to get to know him and work together on this, the first of our strategic partnerships! FEAT is artist-led and now we have allies in the sporting world. Partnering with the strongest voices for climate action in all industries will be critical to our success.

We’re so pumped to collaborate with these guys, and if you haven’t joined us yet, I hope to see you on board soon.

x H

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