In February a team from the University of Leicester visited the Theatre and undertook a Social Impact Audit as part of their Innovation for Good Programme. The goal: to identify ways we can improve our commitment to sustainability and the environment. We were assessed in 8 different areas, given a score, and then a set of recommendations to continue to improve.
Overall we were thrilled to receive a silver rating, with gold in Community and Water categories. Never one to back down from a challenge, we’ve already been looking at ways we can improve, building on the brilliant feedback from the team.
What we’ve done:
- Bike racks – As well as the public bike rack in front of the building we have a secure sheltered bike rack. If you would like to use this on your next visit, just speak to a member of our team, they will happily show you where to go.
- Encourage use of public transport – We’re lucky, being right across from the train station we’ve got brilliant transport links! On our website we’ve made a point of telling you all the ways you can get to us that don’t involve driving. But if you do drive, we’ve got tips on that as well.
- Reduce single-use plastics – Standing gigs are a huge part of our programme and one of our safety measures for a long time has been for only plastic cups to be used at these events. This did mean we were getting through a lot of plastic cups, something we weren’t particularly comfortable with. So we’ve invested in reusable, dishwasher safe cups made from recycled plastic, and we’re pretty chuffed with them.
- Reduce electricity consumption – our corridors and bathrooms all have movement-sensitive, LED lighting so we are only using the energy we need. We also encourage staff to turn off their computers and lights when they leave the office. These small changes have already made a big difference.
- Reducing food waste – No matter how well you plan, there’s always food left over at the end of an event. Thankfully our residents are more than happy to help.
On our to-do list:
- Reduce water usage further – We may have scored gold in this area but we can do better. We’re looking at fitting taps with flow restricting mechanisms to help go that little bit further.
- Eco-friendly procurement – Whenever we choose a new supplier we take the social an environmental impact very seriously. This is why we use local brewery Everards in our bar, use local catering companies La Baguette and Jaspers for our events, and use local designers and printers for our marketing materials. We want to go a step further and support more local and independent companies.
- Further reduce reliance on print – Brochures, flyers, posters: print material is everywhere in any theatre, it’s impossible to get away from. We’ve been working hard on encouraging customers to join our email list and receive our brochure electronically, so much so that we’ve been able to reduce the number of brochures we are printing by a quarter over the last two years. But that’s still not enough for us. Our next step is to start encouraging artists not to send us flyers and instead use that money on digital advertising. Our dream is to get rid of our flyer racks altogether.