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Home  >  Latest News  > Nottingham Playhouse becomes Carbon Literate Organisation

Nottingham Playhouse becomes Carbon Literate Organisation

To become a carbon neutral city, we need all organisations in Nottingham to get involved and reduce their carbon footprints.

After Nottingham Playhouse announced that they had become a Carbon Literate Organisation, we caught up with them to find out more about why they did it and what they learned through the process.

What made you want to become a Carbon Literate Organisation?

Improving sustainability is at the heart of everything we do at Nottingham Playhouse. We have a responsibility to the local community and are committed to the Carbon Neutral Nottingham 2028 aims. It’s also part of our agreement with Arts Council England, who provide some of our funding.

From energy-saving adaptations to the building, to monitoring and analysing the impact of our programming, it’s a consideration at every turn. So, training our staff in understanding how they can contribute to that became imperative.

What did the process involve?

It started when our Deputy Production Manager, Jill Robertshaw, undertook Carbon Literacy Training in order to prepare for delivering our first show to Theatre Green Book standards, which was Goldilocks & the Three Bears.

The Carbon Literacy training was delivered by an Environmental Consultant at Bristol Old Vic who has written the course.  Once Nottingham Playhouse committed to training everyone, Jill became the lead trainer, tailoring parts of the course to our specific work. And Jill developed a further team of trainers internally, who have then been helping deliver the training to staff.

It’s a full day’s training, followed by each individual submitting a report which includes pledges for both work and personal lives.

Did you learn anything surprising during the process?

The training clearly states the facts of the climate emergency, presenting the science from many different perspectives, so the message is clearly received. We have to do something, and it’s urgent. It was the urgency of the situation that really hit home, even with those who felt they were already climate aware.

Being forced to confront this is uncomfortable, and can make you feel rather anxious, but we also ensured we talked about how every individual can have an impact, just by changing small things and by raising awareness.

What would you say to other organisations considering becoming a Carbon Literate Organisation?

It’s absolutely worth the investment. Every individual in the building now has raised awareness of sustainability that means it is inbuilt. We’ve involved creatives and freelancers, suppliers and audiences, so that knowledge and understanding is embedded from the start of any creative process. It also means that as our staff move on in their careers, they are taking that knowledge with them and raising awareness in the wider industry.

Following the pledges you made during the training, what's next for Nottingham Playhouse's sustainability journey?

We have employed a Sustainability Officer to put in place processes, policies and structures which will make it easier to track and analyse data, and to easily identify where improvements can be made.  
We have a Green Champions group of employees from every department, who meet regularly to discuss the small everyday changes that can have such an impact.

We’ve created a new ‘green’ logo which will help raise awareness of our activities with our audiences and wider community. Because they expect us, as a key part of the Nottingham community, to be leading the way.
We continue to focus on small, short-term changes in every department, whilst also considering the longer-term projects that require upfront investment.

We are holding a Sustainable Production Summit next April, alongside our show The Children, which is a drama about environmental impact, which will include industry experts and theatre-makers learning from each other. Three of our productions in the coming year will be to Theatre Green Book standards.  It’s an ongoing process, and we will keep challenging ourselves to improve on every front.

You can read more about Nottingham Playhouse's environmental aims on their website.

If your organisation is keen to support Nottingham's ambition to be a carbon neutral city by 2028, why not join our We Support network? Find out more now.