You know how you buy a certain kind of, say, bicycle and then you see them everywhere? Or, you adopt an environmental policy and lots of opportunities pop up? This happened! No sooner had we formalised our commitment (in principle) to reducing our carbon footprint than the City of Perth offered us the chance to participate in their Sustainable Business Leader Program. While our executive director Kerry O’Sullivan took care of the business skills section, I attended a day workshop on Green Skills with West Coast Institute of Training teachers Gareth MacRae and Stephen Goodfellow.
The workshop was filled with top tips and inspiring examples, and I came away with a thumb drive filled with brilliant resources about energy (and money) efficiency. There were some simple but important take-home messages:
- Do it now
- Have a policy
- Measure your baseline
- Analyse your energy use
- Measure your achievements
- Tell people about it
The Blue Room Theatre was on the right track already, and I was researching how best to measure our energy consumption (and thus our carbon emissions) baseline. It’s important to do this so that you can work out how to achieve the best efficiencies.
There’s another motivation too. I have a feeling that reporting obligations for big corporations will trickle down to smaller ones, especially grant-recipient organisations. Fair enough too – our taxpayer dollars shouldn’t support polluters! And I don’t think we should wait until we’re told we have to do it before taking steps to become aware of how we are using energy, and reduce our use.
Even more importantly, if it becomes a requirement to achieve efficiencies, we want to document and get credit for what we’ve already done!
Getting back to serendipity, or coincidence: the City of Perth has another program, and we were onto it quick smart. The thing was, although the board and staff at The Blue Room Theatre are all fully committed to the carbon emissions reduction, we are all so busy delivering our two seasons annually, plus our full-on Summer Nights program, it was going to be hard to find time to undertake an audit and analysis of our energy usage. The City of Perth sustainability grant, which we were successful in getting, enabled us get a full professional audit by Sam and Vanessa of Simply Carbon.
We started to notice other projects and programs too. Live Performance Australia is running a pilot program in Queensland, Greener Live Performances. It includes a very detailed sustainability statement that has ‘[developing]sustainability criteria for integration into future funding arrangements’ as one of its strategic objectives. Interesting! Malthouse Theatre (Melbourne) also has a strong commitment to environmental outcomes through their Greenlight initiative.