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Spotlight on – Opera North

October 2019 by Jamie Saye

About Opera North

As an opera company with a global outlook, Opera North believes it is our responsibility to put environmental thinking and action at the heart of what we do.

Tackling the climate emergency is a joint effort. By engaging employees, musicians, audiences, communities, and supporters in the environmental process, Opera North believes it can help to reduce its environmental impact and carbon footprint and inspire wider change towards a more sustainable future.

Actions taken by Opera North so far

Wherever possible, Opera North has moved all its energy tariffs onto 100% renewable electricity tariffs and green gas tariffs from organisations that produce Biomethane. It has installed water-saving devices throughout its estates, encouraged public and non-motorised transport for its staff by introducing discount rail and bus travel, as well as taking part in the Cycle to work scheme.

It changed its waste management contract to a 0 to landfill waste management contractor, sent all its sets to a specialist recycling contractor and began to carbon balance all its brochures and marketing material. In 2019, Opera North’s commitment to sustainability was recognised by picking up the “Best Newcomer” award at the 2019 “Creative Green” awards.

Carbon Literacy training

In July 2019, Opera North began rolling out Carbon Literacy training to its 250 members of staff, including its administrative team and touring personnel. As of October 2019, it has completed training of 25% of its staff with plans in motion to train the remaining staff by April 2021.

The response to Carbon Literacy training across the organisation has been overwhelmingly positive:

“It was eye-opening, informative, heartbreaking but also uplifting and empowering knowing we are able to, and will, change the future today. It was well presented and has already made an impact on the things I do.”

“I really enjoyed the Carbon Literacy training sessions and am so glad that this is being implemented in our company – this training seems essential for every workplace!”

“I fully enjoyed my Carbon Literacy training. I’ve learnt so much about our world and the behavioural changes we need to save it. There is so much we need to be doing in our everyday lives what I never knew about, Carbon Literacy gives people that platform to show us what we need to do. Amazing!”

The Company is proud to be the first opera company and first touring theatre company to roll out carbon literacy training organisation-wide, and we believe effective internal communications and training will make a huge difference in meeting our sustainability goals.

Looking to the future

Opera North is currently embarking on an £18 million refurbishment of its premises Music Works which has sustainability at its heart. On project completion, all the estate will be lit with LED lighting twinned with PIR sensors, and the Opera North administrative office will be powered by its own on-site solar PV installation.

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