London Theatre Consortium (LTC), a collaboration between 14 leading producing theatres in London, has announced the latest results of its decade-long programme to reduce carbon emissions and improve environmental sustainability across London. The initiative was set up in partnership with arts and environment agency Julie’s Bicycle in 2010 and the latest results are set out in the group’s Creative Green Strategic Report for 2018/19.
This year, five of the LTC’s theatres which undertook the Creative Green Certification in 2018/19 achieved a five star rating. These were: Almeida Theatre, Donmar Warehouse, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, Royal Court Theatreand Unicorn Theatre. The Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, who achieved the rating for the second year running alongside the Almeida, have now achieved the highest score ever recorded under the Creative Green Certification.
Over the last seven-year period, the LTC’s achievements in improving environmental sustainability and reducing carbon emissions have been certified annually using Julie’s Bicycle Creative Green (CG) scheme. 85% of the LTC theatres have now achieved a four star or higher Creative Green certificate. The improvement across LTC can be demonstrated by positive results across this year’s report:
- Between 2017/18 and 2018/19 the average carbon footprint across the LTC theatres reduced 11% from 211 tonnes CO2e to 188 tonnes CO2e
- Over the past 5 years the theatres in the LTC group have reduced their average carbon footprint by 43%.
- Overall the LTC group has decreased its relative energy use by 32% against the baseline year, and its absolute energy related emissions have decreased by 47%.
- All LTC theatres have integrated sustainability into either their business plans, strategic documents or capital projects.
- Nine LTC theatres now have zero waste going to landfill onsite.
- Eight LTC theatres now procure 100% renewable electricity with four using green tariffs.
- Five theatres achieved absolute reductions in their energy use between 2017/18 and 2018/19.
- More than half of the LTC theatres have programmed or curated work with environmental themes this year.
- The LTC has now run two Artist Climate Labs in partnership with Hawkwood College – and funded by Arts Council England – enabling artists working with the various LTC theatres to explore the science and social implications of climate change and how it might inform their artistic practice.
The programme also encompasses training, peer learning, capital improvements, energy use reduction, clean energy, artistic content and sustainable production principles as well as staff and audience engagement. It is widely regarded as being an early and sustained example of cultural leadership for climate change that has in turn inspired other collaborative approaches.
The report also notes that LTC won the ‘Commitment’ Award at the 2019 Creative Green Awards for a decade of work on sustainability showcasing joint climate leadership, best practice and creativity. Almeida Theatre picked up the award for Best Cultural Venue with Tref Davis from Battersea Arts Centre also collected a Green Champion Award. Battersea Arts Centre, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, Theatre Royal Stratford East and Unicorn Theatre were also nominated for individual awards.
2019 also welcomed a new strand of Arts Council England’s Environmental Programme, the Spotlight Programme. Spotlight has been developed to support improvements in environment literacy, strategy and expertise in order to achieve ambitious, yet attainable Environmental Impact Reduction Objectives (EIROs) using science-based targets aimed at keeping global warming at under 2°C. Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, Unicorn Theatre, Theatre Royal Stratford East and Young Vic are all taking part in the Spotlight Programme, joining 30 other Arts Council NPO organisations across the country committed to further reducing the sector’s carbon footprint.
Looking ahead, the LTC is currently developing a roadmap to 2025 as part of the Arts Council Accelerator programme. This includes exploring the potential to achieve carbon net zero. Linked to this, the Royal Court Theatre has this October announced its commitment to transitioning to carbon net zero throughout 2020. Several of the LTC theatres have this year declared Climate Emergency and a number of the theatres are piloting various projects and approaches with a view to sharing their learning across the group.
Alison Tickell, Director of Julie’s Bicycle said:
“Combining creative flair with operational rigour, the 14 theatres that make up the London Theatre Consortium are together demonstrating how to respond to the climate emergency. Over many years, the consistent leadership, collaboration and integrity of the London Theatre Consortium to meet the climate challenge head-on has hugely enriched the whole arts and cultural sector.”
Sian Alexander, Executive Director of the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, LTC Vice-Chair and Champion for the Environmental Programme said: “As awareness of the Climate Emergency grows it has never been more important for us as cultural leaders to work together to tackle climate warming. We are thrilled at the significant progress that we have made to reduce our environmental impacts through our partnership work over the past decade and the learning we have been able to share. As we look ahead we are working with even greater commitment to envision and achieve a climate positive future, engaging our artists, staff, stakeholders and audiences in this critical endeavour.”