The 50 Shades of Green Conference: CO2 Reduction Room

27th October 2015

The 50 Shades of Green conference in October was an interactive event for (and by) the green arts community. Our CO2 Reduction Room tackled reduction and reporting at practical and inventive levels.

For many arts organisations, carbon emissions reduction and reporting is the focus for environmental sustainability activities. The CO2 Reduction Room aimed to present a mix of emission-reduction experts and members of the artistic community working in this area in a particularly enterprising way.

Summaries of the presentations of each of our speakers can be found below:

Clare Wharmby, Zero Waste Scotland:

Zero Waste Scotland provides support for all businesses throughout Scotland to find ways to reduce emissions and resources use as part of this support, Resource Efficient Scotland work with Zero Waste Scotland to provide training and tools to help businesses to monitor and reduce waste of all types. Many of our GAI members have made great progress in understanding how to collect information to calculate their carbon footprints. The next stage is to work out how to make reductions. With shortage of time and money, how can we make the best decisions for action?

Clare Wharmby came along to tell us about the RES Carbon Footprint and Project Register Tool for small businesses, which was part of a suite of tools for carbon management and planning. Clare provided lots of advice on how to get the best out of the tool to plan reductions to your emissions.

Our full resource on the tool can be found here.

Rhiannon MacIntyre, The Touring Network:

Rhiannon provided us with an overview of the work of the Touring Network and particularly their focus on encouraging and supporting more sustainable behaviours among those involved in the arts in rural communities. The Touring Network supports 60 promoters in venues all over the Highlands and all of the Islands of Scotland, encouraging rural touring (with over 700 shows last year!) and providing best practice guides on how to set up tours and to run them sustainably.

Touring Network’s website hosts the Tourbook: a member’s only section of the website designed to allow promoters and performers to coordinate and book performances. Tourbook helps performers in Dance, Theatre, Music, Comedy and more to connect with promoters and venue representatives across Scotland. Tourbook is currently being updated and you can find out more here. The organisation has also been working on a project to assess the Carbon impact of touring using the case study of a show produced by Comar which toured to 17 venues. Currently they are developing an online tool intended to allow companies to plan tours and calculate complete mileage and fuel used. This work is continuing and you can find out more here.

This has been supplemented by work to survey audiences on where they travelled from and why they came to that venue. They encouraged audience responses by promising to donate 50 pence to a tree planting charity for every survey returned. The average audience size for the shows is 36 and 96% make the journey just to see the show. Car sharing is reasonably high but other methods of travel sharing could be investigated. Rhiannon finished with a lively discussion with the audience on ideas for promoting lower carbon audience travel. An enticing view of things to come from a truly innovative organisation.

Gill Davies, Hebrides Ensemble:

Gill informed the group about the way that Hebrides Ensemble are using new digital techniques and particularly on their collaboration with the development and use of the LoLa technology: the LOw LAtency audio visual streaming system.

LoLa technology provides the ability for musicians to rehearse together even when they are located at a distance. Gill talked about the potential for the technology to have large impacts on the practice, and carbon emissions reduction aims of their organisation. The cross-distance connection can also aid those who would otherwise be unable to attend regionally-specific rehearsals, or even those unable to travel.

You can find our full blog on the LoLa technology, and Hebrides Ensemble’s use of it, here.

50 Shades of Green: Stories of Sustainability in the Arts Sector took place on 6 October 2015 at the Pearce Institute in Glasgow. It was Creative Carbon Scotland’s first conference for green arts organisations working to affect their environmental sustainability. A copy of the programme for the event can be found here.

To become part of the Scottish green arts community, and to hear more about events like 50 Shades of Green (as well as our other free training sessions and resources), sign up to the Green Arts Initiative.


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