About us

Glyndebourne and the environment

Find out how we’re working to reduce our environmental impact, including using our very own wind turbine.

At Glyndebourne we are very concerned about the impact of climate change and the worldwide dependence on the dwindling supply of fossil fuels.

We are committed to being industry leaders in minimising both our direct and indirect impact on the environment, and encouraging everyone we engage with to do the same.

In 2021, in conjunction with COP26, Glyndebourne joined the global Race to Zero and committed to:

  1. Halving direct carbon emissions (from a 2019 baseline) by 2030
  2. Reaching net zero by 2050
  3. Reporting annually on progress

You can read on to find out how we’re planning to reach those targets and watch this short video to learn more about our environmental initiatives:

What we do to reduce our environmental impact

In the drive to achieve our targets of halving direct carbon emissions by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050, Glyndebourne has announced a new two step approach for 2022, combining a focus on continuing to reduce gross carbon emissions with offsetting to achieve carbon neutrality, whilst driving further investment in new environmental measures at Glyndebourne. This year we will continue to reduce gross carbon emissions and also invest an additional £25 per tonne of net Scope 1 and 2 emissions into new emission-reduction measures at Glyndebourne within the following 12 months.

Steps taken include:

  • Installation of new, more efficient gas boilers that we forecast could reduce our gas consumption by 20%
  • Making changes to the air conditioning system to lower energy consumption
  • Replacing auditorium lights with low-energy LEDs
  • Installing timers and light sensors
  • Adjusting toilet flushes to save water
  • Reusing 70% of garden waste for compost
  • Installing on-site electric car charging facilities
  • Introducing a ‘cycle to work’ scheme
  • Offering an interest-free loan for staff commuting by public transport
  • Increasing use of recycled paper
  • Significantly improved recycling facilities by switching to a local specialist provider
  • Recycling decommissioned scenery
  • Switching to environmentally-friendly cleaning supplies
  • Introducing a ‘green purchasing’ clause, committing to source from local suppliers where possible
  • Annual industry-recognised certification of environmental sustainability
  • A new waste management contract to ensure Glyndebourne operates zero waste to landfill and a 21% reduction in absolute waste tonnage between 2018 and 2019
  • A partnership with Recorked UK to recycle or resell wine and champagne corks, most of which will not break down in landfill.
  • A new partnership with OLIO to ensure surplus food is shared, not thrown away. To date Glyndebourne has donated a total of 365kg of food, helping to feed 62 local families and avoid 1,574kg of carbon emissions.
  • A switch in energy providers so that Glyndebourne is running on 100% green energy as of 15 October 2021
  • Phasing out bottled water so that by 2023 all water served at Glyndebourne will be drawn from our own natural spring.
  • Working in partnership with Eastbourne Borough Council and Lewes District Council to use reclaimed wood from old sea defences in Eastbourne for our raised beds by the Veg Patch Stretch Tent.

The impact of these and other changes have been:

  • 77% reduction in energy-related emissions between 2009 and 2021
  • 55% reduction in water use between 2009 and 2020
  • 81% reduction in absolute waste tonnage between 2009 and 2020, all of which is converted into energy with nothing going to landfill

To keep finding new ways to reduce our environmental impact, Glyndebourne has joined the Spotlight Programme, developed by Arts Council England and Julie’s Bicycle. This will help us set ambitious targets for cutting our carbon emissions further over the next few years.

The Glyndebourne wind turbine

Photo: James Bellorini

The biggest step taken by Glyndebourne was the installation of a 67-metre wind turbine a short distance from the opera house.

The turbine was launched in January 2012 by Sir David Attenborough and between 2012 and 2021 it has generated the equivalent of 105% of the electricity used by the company in that period, far exceeding the 90% annual target and resulting in a 50% cut in carbon emissions.

In 2021 the turbine produced an annual yield of 1,384 megawatt-hours (MWh) with an average annual wind speed of 5.7 metres per second (m/s) which amounted to 99% of the electricity used by Glyndebourne during the year.

Any excess electricity generated by the turbine is sent to the National Grid to provide a source of green energy for the local community.

The wind turbine directly reduces our environmental footprint by electricity generation. It also acts indirectly, to do the same by providing a visual reminder to us all to do all we can to tackle climate change.

The Theatre Green Book

We are also making our productions more sustainable. All four new productions in Festival 2022 will have sustainability at their core – following the baseline principles of the Theatre Green Book, which is bringing theatre-makers together with sustainability experts to set common standards for sustainable theatre.

For The Wreckers, the opening production of Festival 2022, the focus on sustainability has inspired a partnership with the charity Surfers Against Sewage – Glyndebourne is taking part in a series of beach cleans to salvage flotsam and jetsam to use as set dressing for the opera, which is set in a remote and isolated Cornish fishing village.

Other recent initiatives include the creation of a dye garden at Glyndebourne to grow plants that can be used to create natural dyes for its costume department.

Beach cleaning photos by Sam Stephenson

Our environmental awards

Highest Achievement for Improvement award at THE 2018 CREATIVE GREEN AWARDS
Awarded 4 Star Creative Green rating from JULIE’S BICYCLE in 2018 and 2019
Most Sustainable Business finalist at the 2015 SUSSEX BUSINESS AWARDS

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