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Sustaining Art & Culture - working towards a greener future

Posted on 21 November 2018

Arts and cultural venues across the UK have taken great strides to improve their environmental practice in 2017-18, a new report published this week has revealed.

Since 2012, Arts Council England has been working in partnership with charity Julie’s Bicycle to help inspire environmental action across the arts and cultural sector, focusing its efforts on promoting change in National Portfolio Organisations such as the Belgrade Theatre. Set up to support the creative community to act on climate change and sustainability, Julie’s Bicycle offers a wide range of events, free resources and public speaking engagements, providing creatives with the skills they need to act for change and drive new conversations.

Key findings featured in the report include:

  • Organisations are consistently reducing carbon emissions: CO2 emissions have decreased by 35% across the National Portfolio since the programme began.
  • Organisations are more energy efficient: Direct energy consumption has been reduced by 23% since 2012/13.
  • Organisations are increasingly financially resilient: The ongoing drive to reduce energy consumption has led to financial savings of £16.5 million since the programme began.
  • Organisations are experiencing benefits beyond reductions: Environmental practice and carbon literacy are being linked to improvements in other organisational priorities, including team morale and strategic decision-making.
  • Organisations are contributing to a new creative ecology: The above trends drive demand for – and generate new skills and knowledge that support – clean technologies, sustainable goods and services, greener waste solutions and the emergent circular economy. A quarter of the Portfolio are now on a green energy tariff.

Following the fantastic responses of arts and cultural organisations so far, the partnership will now shift its focus onto accelerating impact and stretching ambition, with two new strands of work – The Accelerator Programme, which will offer organisations the resources and expertise to develop innovative ideas into deliverable projects for greater impact; and The Spotlight Programme, a targeted carbon reduction scheme for organisations with large infrastructures.

To download the full report, visit the Julie’s Bicycle website.

With recent changes such as our switch from disposable plastics to biodegradable alternatives and our introduction of new fast-breakdown toilet paper, the Belgrade Theatre remains committed to reducing its environmental impact and working towards a more sustainable future. For more information, visit our Environmental Policy page.