The word ‘procurement’ might sound a bit complicated but it’s simply about buying goods and services. If you are conscious of food miles when you shop, then you have a personal procurement policy.
Part of our sustainability strategy is to have some policies about procurement at The Blue Room Theatre. This means that we consider the effect of products or services on the environment when we make purchasing decisions. Some things are easy: for example, we buy recycled paper. And we stopped buying and selling bottled water: instead we supply chilled, filtered water free in the bar.
Other things are harder to weigh up. One of the interesting things we found out from the team at Simply Carbon was that if you purchase a carbon offset for air travel, it really does offset your carbon emissions! The offset program is strictly audited. So we made it a policy to include carbon offsets for business travel. Not that the staff travel a lot – and limiting air travel is a good sustainability strategy – but there is the occasional industry conference that is important.
Replacing inefficient appliances or fittings can be difficult and expensive, but a staged replacement can deliver rewards. Our tech supervisor, Roger, replaced our fluoro hallway lighting recently with LED globes, at a calculated energy saving of 4kWh per 15 hours. (A kWh is a kilowatt hour of energy, or the “unit” you see on your energy bill – and we pay 32 cents per unit, so it’s a saving of over a dollar a day, and approximately 91kg of CO2 per month.)
Our purchasing practices can have effects beyond the local environment too. When our casual staff member and arts practitioner Alexa Taylor mentioned a particular brand of toilet paper to executive director Kerry O’Sullivan, Kerry vowed to do the research and make the switch at The Blue Room if it passed the … (ah, you can insert your puns of choice here; I’ve lost my nerve!). Now we happily get our supplies from Who Gives A Crap, and support the provision of toilets in the developing world. Not only that, but patrons have read about this initiative while using our facilities, and have also made the switch.
Our – and your – consumer dollars can help create an economy that supports sustainable practices. Favouring “green” suppliers supports those who are doing good things, spreads the word and really makes a difference.
Finally – turning from what we do to what you can do – are you sick of all the STUFF you get/give at Christmas? This time around, consider buying services or experiences instead of things. A Blue Room Theatre membership or gift voucher will put a smile on the face of your theatre-loving dear one!