Environmental Sustainability

The Bush Theatre is committed to promoting environmental sustainability in everything we do.

Our Statement

The Bush Theatre recognises that businesses can negatively impact the environment.  We believe that climate change and other environmental issues are a threat to global well-being, and can be solved only through radical changes in the current socio-economic system. Our mission is to broaden the artistic and cultural conversation in this area, amplifying the message and work and driving a conversation that’s already happening globally. In our operations we will move towards carbon neutrality by 2050 or earlier.

We are committed to reducing our reliance on unsustainable fuel and materials by seeking out and investing in innovative technology that allows our teams to reduce carbon consumption at the source. We are committed to reducing waste in all areas of operation including materials, water and energy.

Our aims:

  • To be a leaders in environmental sustainability within the UK Theatre industry
  • To embed sustainability in the delivery of strategic goals whilst maintaining our commitment to great art and the needs of the organisation as a charity
  • To influence and inspire our staff, audiences, partners and stakeholders to make positive choices and take appropriate action to achieve the necessary reduction in carbon emissions
  • To reduce Scope 1,2 and 3 emissions to net zero by 2050 or earlier

Key Achievements

Powering the Bush
All of the Bush Theatre’s electricity comes from a REGO approved 100% green energy tariff. Our high library roof supports a grid of solar panels which generates up to 5% of our annual electricity onsite.

During our capital refurbishment we updated our air handling system, improved our insulation and made our lighting systems more efficient through the use of LED lighting and motion sensor lights.

Since our base year of 2017/18 (our first year post capital project) we have reduced our overall energy consumption by just under 25%.

We have made changes throughout our building to reduce the amount of water we are using, through low flow water taps and dual flushing systems as well as more water efficient washing machines. Over the last decade despite an increase in our audiences of just under 20%, we have seen a decrease in our water consumption of 16%.

We have also planted some natives and drought resistant plants in our garden spaces to reduce the need for additional watering.

What’s growing at the Bush
The Bush has a sedum roof insulating the Holloway Theatre and providing a habitat for local wildlife. Our garden beds are planted with natives to provide a home for local birds and bees. Theatre maker and wildlife educator  Coral Richards built a bug hotel to support biodiversity on our green roof.

We have a zero to landfill policy and currently recycle 80% of all of our waste with the rest being used to create biofuel. Our sets, costumes and props are either reused or donated and 95% or the remainder is recycled.

We are now working with designers to reduce our consumption of raw materials from the very beginning of the design process including our energy consumption.

The Library Bar
We understand the need to eat less meat and dairy to reduce our carbon footprint, so 90% of products across our entire range of hot and cold dishes, snacks and sweet treats are vegan or vegetarian. We focus on locally sourced products and ingredients using fair-trade wherever possible. We also regularly team up with local producers and caterers to create exciting food and drink offers that haven’t had to travel the world to get here.

Understanding our impact
Highlighting our ongoing commitment to understanding, improving and communicating our environmental impact, every year we us the Julie’s Bicycle Creative Green tools to calculate our carbon consumption.

Results for 2023 – 2024

Energy 52 tonnes CO2e
Water & Sewage 1,677 m3 316 kg CO2e
Waste 28 tonnes 38 tonnes CO2e
Business Travel 1,983 km 412 kg CO2e
Audience Travel 82 tonnes CO2e
Artist/Crew Travel 18,745 km tonnes CO2e
Freight Travel 2,577 km 631 kg CO2e
Materials 2,815 kg tonnes CO2e
Emissions Total 183 tonnes CO2e

Over the last three years we have significantly improved and increased the data we gather.  So while we have seen an overall increase in carbon consumption this year, we believe it is due to better data capture rather than increased usage.  Individual metrics have reduced across energy, water, and business travels, with increases seen across audience travel and waste.

You can also read our environmental policy and action plan for further information on what we are doing at the Bush to meet our environmental targets.