Have you ever wondered how big a ballet company's carbon footprint is? We have. We've monitored our areas of operation during a busy touring year, and we've calculated our carbon footprint. We hold our hands up – there’s room for improvement. 

Scottish Ballet’s focus over the next two years is improving energy efficiency at our headquarters in Glasgow. We're preparing to make the leap to carbon net zero, and we’re refining smaller sustainability steps too…

Creating a climate committee 

One huge stride forward for the company was the creation Scottish Ballet’s Environmental Group. Passionate people from across the organisation came together – from fundraisers to dancers, so that every area of business would be considered and represented.

The Group took a good look at the targets other Scottish businesses and arts organisations were setting. They decided that Scottish Ballet should match Glasgow City Council’s ambition to be Net Zero by 2030. During the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), held in Glasgow, Scottish Ballet’s ambitious target was shared with audiences and stakeholders.

Scottish Ballet’s Green Action Plan sets out the company’s aims across three key areas:

  • Our Glasgow headquarters 
  • Our touring activity
  • Our culture & communities

After considering the impact of each of these areas, Scottish Ballet’s Environmental Group realised that responding to climate change had to start at home – at our company offices in Glasgow. As well as considering company-wide changes, each Environmental Group member consulted with their departments to create a list of all the changes that they could make within their specific areas of the organisation.

Some of the changes we’ve made so far are:

  • recording daily utility readings and comparing this with building activity  
  • creating and analysing a staff travel-to-work survey  
  • replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs
  • making recycling easier
  • raising awareness of the importance of switching-off devices and lights
  • reviewing our funding sources

Our next steps are to:

  • install motion sensors for lights
  • update our heating system
  • investigate alternative energy sources
  • secure a fabric recycling partner

Scottish Ballet’s Environmental Group members also attend a range of national and UK-wide industry-specific environmental events. We learn from others, and we share our learning. Theatre Green Book, an environmental initiative for the theatre industry, is one source of inspiration and guidance to us.

If we keep sharing stories with communities and organisations who are taking climate change as seriously as we are, together we can make a difference. Which is one of the reasons Scottish Ballet’s Environmental Group decided to publish this series, documenting the small steps and big leaps to becoming carbon net zero.