Case Study: Environmental Policy – National Theatre of Scotland

10th December 2013

The National Theatre of Scotland's commitment to working for a sustainable environment

In our heart is an ambition to transform the world in dreams and drama, to make incredible things happen in unbelievable places. And with no stage of our own, we have the freedom to go where our audiences take us. There is no limit to what we believe theatre can be, no limit to the stories we are able to tell.

Our building-free model enables creative professionals and participants to take risks and be innovative. We wish to create experiences for audiences who have the right to expect the best of a 21st century cultural institution in an international world.

If this building-free model of the National Theatre of Scotland means that our footprint may not be as great as other similar organisations, we also understand that this ambition at the heart of the Company’s business operation has an impact on the environment. Each year it is our ambition to create more work and engage with larger audiences without growing our carbon footprint.

While many of our resources are shared or already exist, we acknowledge that our environmental impacts include air emissions, waste generation, land use, energy use and water use. The National Theatre of Scotland explores and develops techniques which reduce carbon emissions and provide a more environmentally sustainable way of working. We believe it is our responsibility as a national organisation to take a lead on these issues.

We operate within the following clearly-defined principles to ensure that the National Theatre of Scotland is run in an environmentally-friendly and sustainable manner.

  • The National Theatre of Scotland complies with all applicable legislation and requirements.
  • The National Theatre of Scotland provides suitable and sufficient information and adequate and appropriate resources for all Board Members and staff in order to communicate our Environmental responsibilities.
  • We aim to reduce, where appropriate, all printed material produced by the National Theatre of Scotland.
  • We actively encourage people to receive emails rather than letters, brochures and flyers.
  • We actively encourage people to visit our website for information rather than relying on printed material.
  • Where we do produce printed materials, we produce them on paper stock that is at least 50% recycled.
  • We carry accessible information on recycling our printed material on this website.
  • We aim to book all company travel by rail rather than air whenever possible.
  • We seek to minimize unnecessary travel in our tour booking.
  • We require our technical teams to reduce wastage of power and resources, and to reuse existing stock.
  • We will actively encourage people to distribute information electronically rather than in print.

In addition:

  • We measure our waste and energy use at core properties.
  • We calculate our carbon footprint for all our shows and calculate and for the Company as a whole.
  • We recycle paper, cardboard, plastic, paint, polystyrene, batteries, lightbulbs, electrical equipment, wood and steel.
  • We ensure our sets are sent to recycling centres, not landfill.
  • We have invested over £35k in LED lights.
  • We are members of two charities promoting sustainability in the arts and culture industry, Julie’s Bicycle and Creative Carbon Scotland.

‘Carbon-lite’ Projects
The National Theatre of Scotland explores ways of bringing its work to audiences in a variety of ‘carbon-lite’ ways. Recent examples have included:

The Last Polar Bears
A four week tour of Scotland of the play inspired by the book The Last Polar Bearsby Harry Horse. The cast and team perform the shows and give workshops while travelling from venue to venue by bicycle. The project embraced the notion of ‘carbon-lite’ touring by ensuring that equipment for the tour is sourced locally and from recycled material where possible.

Five Minute Theatre
This project has an audience which does not need to travel to participate in the live experience. The method of promoting and delivering the project is entirely digital with no paper print.

The Board and staff of the National Theatre of Scotland are committed to these initiatives and to the adoption of best practice in helping to sustain our environment. Our ambition is to lead the way and to work towards minimising our environmental impact with flair, creativity and brilliance.

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About Creative Carbon Scotland

We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

Read more about CCS

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Supported by

Edinburgh Festival City Edinburgh Festival City

A project initiated by Edinburgh’s Festivals with key partners the Federation of Scottish Theatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network

Edinburgh Festival City Federation of Scottish Theatre Scottish Contemporary Art Network