Cultural Networks and Sustainability: NGCV

NewcastleGateshead Cultural Venues (NGCV) are a network of 10 organisations taking a leading role in collaborating for a sustainable sector.

NewcastleGateshead Cultural Venues (NGCV) is a great example of organisations' working collaboratively and effectively as a group to reduce their carbon emissions and promote environmental sustainability. NGCV is a partnership of ten leading building-based cultural producers encompassing visual arts, performing arts, music, dance, film, writing and literature, heritage, archives and museums and science communication in North East England.

NGCV is now recognised as one of the strongest examples of area-based cultural sector collaboration in the UK. As a partnership, they create significant economic, cultural and social impact and play a key role in contributing to the distinctiveness of the North East as a great place to live, work, visit and do business. They have a local, regional, national and international reach and work together to develop strategic initiatives and promote the economic, social and cultural benefits of culture and creativity.

Together NGCV member organisations' make a total economic contribution of £78m to the North East region, support 2020 FTE jobs, employing 1,232 people directly and generate £17m additional visitor spend in the region's economy. In 2012 - 13 there were 3.8m attendances at their cultural events and activities and they supported 872,797 learning and participation engagements, two thirds of which were with children and young people. In addition, 894 volunteers gave 35,296 hours of time to support their organisations.

NGCV Facilities Managers have worked together since 2009 to improve the efficiency and environmental sustainability of their buildings and sites, with great results. Collectively they have successfully reviewed and improved approaches to waste management, energy procurement, lift management, water monitoring and a wide range of other issues relating to how their buildings run.

As a means to engage more staff and the public in 'greening' the venues, NGCV's 'Green Campaign' kicked off in June 2011 with an event involving 200 members of staff from across the venues. Since then the campaign team has shared knowledge and developed more joint work on a range of topics, in particular focusing on campaigns and awareness-raising for staff and the public, often inviting guest speakers to offer specific insights. They galvanise activities within their own venues to engage as many people as possible in activities and behaviour change.

The partnership has run successful public transport campaigns to encourage both staff and audience to walk and cycle to their venues, as well as setting up staff travel and cycle schemes and running an annual audience travel survey to understand how people travel to venues and what issues they face. They have advocated environmental sustainability through a broad range of events such as the national Recycling Week, Green Office Week, Climate Week, National Bike Week and Car Free Days, as well as engaging in the national Tipping Point exhibition at Northern Stage. They've also promoted public engagement through activities such as the Green Film Festival at Tyneside Cinema, Lift Free Days across all venues, Earth Hour events and the Green Explorer for children and families in association with Sustrans.

NGCV member organisations operate a wide variety of venues, from purpose built buildings dating from 2000, to listed buildings and heritage sites, each with their own particular issues and challenges and each with a wide variety of spaces, functions and uses.

Creative Industry Green Certification and Good Practice

Creative Industry Green is a certification developed by Julie's Bicycle for the music, theatre and the wider creative industries to recognise commitment and achievement in managing and reducing carbon and improving environmental performance. All NGCV venues have achieved Industry Green certification since 2010/11, with the majority improving on their assessments over successive years. This process involves Julie's Bicycle verifying the carbon footprints and environmental performance data of the NGCV organisations, enabling the group to track emissions and estimate money spent on energy annually and comparing this against industry norms.

All NGCV members committed to achieving the Industry Green environmental certification and have all succeeding in doing this in successive years, making improvements in different areas of policy and practice as individual organisations and as a group. This process has also highlighted good practice across the group, including promoting more sustainable production practices internally and for visiting companies and performers, introducing renewable energy technologies, improving energy management and engaging staff and the public in actively promoting environmental sustainability.

Carbon and Energy Reductions 2010/11 - 2012/13

Combined carbon emissions of all NGCV venues in 2012/13 were 8,533 tonnes CO2e. These carbon footprints are only based on energy consumption (i.e. electricity and gas). Organisations did also provide data relating to other impacts including: - waste, water, business travel, audience travel and productions.

Between 2011/12 and 2012/13 the 10 NGCV organisations collectively achieved a 5% carbon reduction (based on electricity and gas consumption) and 4% energy bill reduction (from c.£1,705,000 to c.£1,639,000). These reductions speak volumes for NGCV's strong commitment to reducing the carbon impacts and energy use of their venues in particular. Energy use is the main source of carbon, typically accounting for between 75 - 95% of the total carbon footprint associated with an organisations core activities. Total carbon saved from energy consumption between 2010/11 and 2012/13 stands at 634 tonnes CO2e. This is the equivalent of annual emissions from 135 UK households. Total estimated energy cost savings since 2011 stand at £104,000, based on actual energy use data and the Department of Energy and Climate Change national average tariff rates (3p/kWh for gas and 11p/kWh for electricity).

The NGCV members include:

Sustaining Creativity