Our journey to net-zero
The climate crisis is a critical threat to our audiences, artists, region, and planet. That’s why environmental responsibility is at the heart of plans for our music centre and charity.
We’ve made an ambitious pledge to be net-zero by 2030. This is 20 years ahead of the UK government’s net-zero target.
Becoming ‘net-zero’ means that we’ll reduce our carbon emissions as much as we can, and then invest in local nature-based solutions to balance any remaining impact.
Our journey will involve working with artists and audiences, as well as making changes to our building. We’ll use our creative programme, including projects we commission, to draw attention to environmental issues.
Our pledge covers our direct carbon emissions. We’ll also work to better understand the impact of our indirect emissions. These are things we do not directly control but can influence.
Our direct emissions include:
- Energy used in our building
- Water used in our building
- Waste produced
- Travel – including the touring of our orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia
The indirect emissions we’re studying first are:
- Our supply chain
- Audience travel
- Visiting artist travel
What have we done so far?
We have measured and reported on our carbon emissions since 2012. Since then, we’ve taken the following steps:
- Reducing emissions – We’ve been exceeding our annual reduction targets since introducing them in 2018.
- Free Metro travel – We offer audiences free travel on the Metro (Tyne and Wear’s light transport rail system) with a The Glasshouse ticket.
- Reducing meat consumption – 50% of all menus in our Brasserie and Café are plant-based.
- Gateshead District Energy Scheme – We’re part of the award-winning Gateshead District Energy Scheme. The Energy Scheme will also be net-zero by 2030 by utilising solar power and an innovative mine-water heat-pump.
- Climate-themed work features on our stages –Presenting work that responds to the climate crisis is part of our socially aware programming. A recent example is Variations – a digital festival of video responses to the climate crisis including work by John Grant and Yoko Ono.
- Playing a positive role in our sector: We’ve been part of Julie’s Bicycle’s Spotlight Programming in the cultural sector, and hold a seat on the European Concert Halls Organisation Sustainability Group steering committee. We have pledged our support for Music Declares Emergency.
The electricity and heat used in our building are produced just a few hundred metres away at the Gateshead District Energy Scheme. This makes our energy more affordable and efficient than drawing power from the national grid.
Our Annual Carbon Emissions
What are we doing now?
Investing in our building
As we approach our 20th anniversary, we’re working to raise money that will enable us to make the building and the equipment within it as sustainable as possible for the future.
New ways of touring
Royal Northern Sinfonia’s travel can be one of the largest sources of our emissions. So we’re setting carbon budgets to reduce the impact of touring.
Supply chain review
We’re finding out which of our suppliers and goods have the largest carbon footprint. We’ll use this information to try and replace less sustainable goods with more sustainable ones.