Commitment to sustainability at the ROH ©2021 ROH. 2021 Phoebe Nightingale
Commitment to sustainability at the ROH ©2021 ROH. 2021 Phoebe Nightingale

Royal Opera House Environmental Policy

The climate crisis is one of the most important issues facing us today. Recognising our global reach and leadership role within the UK arts sector, we embrace our responsibility and obligation to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and wider impact on the environment. It is the ambition of the Royal Opera House to be a leader in environmental sustainability and to act as a catalyst for positive change in this field.

The climate crisis is the most important issues facing the globe today. Recognising our international reach and leadership role within the UK arts sector, we have embraced our responsibility and obligation to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. It is the ambition of the Royal Opera House to be a leader in environmental sustainability and to act as a catalyst for positive change in our industry.

The Royal Ballet, The Royal Opera and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House bring together the world’s most extraordinary ballet and opera artists.  Our theatres are in Covent Garden but our work is experienced across the UK and globally through touring, cinema broadcasts, radio and TV and streaming online.

We are committed to net zero emissions by 2035 for Scopes 1 and 2 and to setting targets for our Scope 3 emissions by 2025.*

Our Environmental Strategy focuses on the following key areas:

1. Our buildings

We operate across three sites in Covent Garden, Thurrock and Aberdare. Over the last decade we have been improving energy and waste management across our estate. Building on our progress to date, we are committed to:

  • Developing an Estates Plan that includes upgrades to our infrastructure and equipment, utilising technology to drive down our carbon emissions.
  • Monitoring our energy and water consumption to enable us to target reduction initiatives in a timely way and effectively.
  • Promoting the waste hierarchy to avoid, reduce, reuse and recycle waste and ensure zero waste is sent to landfill.
  • Monitoring waste production and recycling rates, ensuring the right facilities are available for our staff and visitors.
  • Engaging and supporting our staff to enable energy, waste and water reductions within their areas of influence.
2. Our productions

Our productions have an impact on the environment across their lifecycle, from their creation and performance to the transportation and storage of sets and costumes. We are committed to:

  • Establishing a framework for reducing the environmental impact of our productions in partnership with the wider cultural sector, such as the Theatres Trust Green Book Initiative.
  • Promoting efficient use of materials and exploring more sustainable and ethical options to implement.
  • Minimising our use of resources including our consumption of energy, water and raw materials by working closely with our suppliers, designers and staff to ensure these reductions are prioritised and embedded.
  • Avoiding unnecessary use of hazardous materials and taking responsible steps to prevent pollution.
3. Our operations

Our main operational activities include on site catering, retail and events as well as all the administrative functions required to run a large organisation. We are committed to:

  • Evaluating and prioritising the environmental policies of our contractors, together with specifying and monitoring sustainability requirements for new contractors through the procurement process.
  • Improving the environmental sustainability of our catering offering focusing on food sourcing and minimising packaging, particularly single-use plastics.
  • Reviewing our retail offering and expanding our range to organic, ethically certified, reusable or recycled products.
  • Reviewing our travel policy and practises to ensure that we can measure and reduce emissions from business travel.
4. Our people

We are committed to working with our staff, artists, audiences and industry stakeholders to enable and inspire environmental action. We will:

  • Enable and support our staff to take action providing training and other resources where possible.
  • Communicate with our audiences and visitors about our plans, progress and how they can make sustainable choices when visiting us.
  • Encourage, enable and participate in public discussions concerning environmental issues.
  • Be transparent about our efforts and share our knowledge, encouraging the exchange of ideas with stakeholders, suppliers and audiences.

It is our belief that reducing our environmental impact will not only have a positive effect on the environment, but will also make our operations more efficient and economical and will enhance our organisational resilience in the long term.

We will monitor and report on our progress each year. This policy is reviewed on an annual basis, ensuring compliance with statutory requirements and organisational priorities.

Alex Beard

September 2021

*Categorising Green House Gas Emissions:

Emissions are categorised in the UK under three ‘scopes’. These scopes detail the kinds of carbon emissions that a company creates in its own operations and in the wider value chain.

Scope 1 – the Green House Gas emissions that a company makes directly. At the ROH this includes heating the building and running some vehicles.

Scope 2 – the emissions made indirectly. At the ROH this includes the electricity that we purchase.

Scope 3 – the emissions not associated with the company itself but that they are indirectly responsible for as part of the value chain. For the ROH this is very broad and includes our suppliers, business travel, the products that we sell and more.

The Royal Opera House commitment relates to Scopes 1 and 2, with different targets set around Scope 3.