Make music to bring joy and happiness to people and the planet.
Heidi Lenffer / Musician
Making environmental investment a common practice for artists
Since launching FEAT., her environmental project for artists, Heidi has been overwhelmed by positive responses across the world. She sees a future where FEAT. can go global. What future does she think FEAT. can help achieve? Heidi describes what an “ideal” society may look like one day.
The idea is to activate a virtuous cycle that helps the environment.
When FEAT. started in June 2019, its main activity was the construction of solar farms using funds invested by artists. The energy produced on the farms is marketed, providing revenue the artists can use to fund their own activities. Sustainable energy production creates a win-win situation for artists and the environment. Nowadays FEAT. pursues a number of environmental projects, allowing the artists to channel their investments along paths that take their interest. They can take part in environmental conservation efforts in different places while staying active as musicians. Uniquely, FEAT. is formatted to allow artists to participate almost indefinitely.
To prepare for the launch of FEAT., I researched both finance and the environment. I traveled to Europe to learn from similar initiatives, such as a wind farm in the Netherlands and a solar farm in Germany. Another local community was setting up a fund to manage their renewable energy sources. Eventually, I decided to set up FEAT. by teaming up with an experienced fund management company. Conceptually, FEAT. represents our belief that the activities of artists should be carbon neutral, leaving no adverse impacts on the environment. As the initiator of this movement and CEO of FEAT., I am promoting the concept to more and more artists. The more they understand and participate, the greener we can all become.
Responses were overwhelming, but it is hardly enough.
Many musicians, models, and athletes have agreed to invest in FEAT. Like me, they are troubled by the knowledge that their creative activities burden the environment. Being a polluter can weigh heavily on the conscience. One day the BBC ran a story on FEAT. Following that, messages came flooding in from all over the world –from London, the Philippines, Argentina, Germany. People wanted to know how they could roll out the same initiative in their countries. Their messages show that the demand for this movement is global. So far, we have focused on environmental issues in Australia. Now it’s time to expand our perspective to become a worldwide initiative.
About 600 artists have invested in renewable energy through FEAT. Among supporters are Midnight Oil’s Peter Garrett, Vance Joy and Courtney Barnett. The fund now amounts to 7 million AUD. While this is much more than I ever expected, realistically it is far from enough. The world will need to generate 50 terawatts of renewable energy, a mind-boggling amount, in the coming 10 years. We still have a long way to go.
Building a bridge between artists and Mother Earth.
Twenty-one percent of the energy generated in Australia is attributed to renewable. Our target should be 100%. FEAT. is bolstering its activities to help the country make a complete shift to renewable. It won’t be easy to turn Australia, formerly a major coal producer, into a 100% renewable energy nation. Negotiations with the government will be hard-going. But there is another way. We expect to team up with the private sector to promote our ideas. Another point to consider is that FEAT. does not progress any projects without consultation with the indigenous traditional custodians of the land. This business priority demands that every step of the project be taken with great respect for the people and their culture. As part of the plan, we are looking to implement a system to feed back a share of the profits into their communities.
The music industry in Australia is slowly recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Musicians are resuming their normal activities. Music has never ceased during the crisis, and FEAT. has pressed on with its work no matter how tough the challenges have been.
Music is part of my life and a reliable source of joy. My future will be focused on music, along with my work with the environment. I see a world where artists invest a share of their profits in environmental projects as a matter of course. My dream will be realized if the whole of the music community, if all musicians and all industry businesspeople, reap the gains from this type of system as friends of the planet. I sincerely hope that, through FEAT., we will invite artists across the world into a sustainable relationship with the environment and activate a virtuous cycle of positive contributions.
- Heidi Lenffer / Musician
- Born in the Blue Mountains, Australia, Heidi sings vocals and plays keyboard in Cloud Control, an alternative rock band she formed with her brother and two friends. Cloud Control has toured Australia and Europe with good success. Heidi’s strong commitment to the environment inspired her to create FEAT., an investment organization that gives musicians the opportunity to finance renewable energy projects as stakeholders.