Environmental Sustainability

At Southbank Centre we’re committed to becoming a net zero carbon organisation by 2050 (an organisation achieves net zero carbon emissions by balancing carbon emissions with carbon removal and eliminating carbon altogether) and we are currently acting on a plan to achieve this goal.

Our previous efforts to become a more sustainable organisation have achieved success: over the past four years, we’ve reduced our CO2 emissions by 48%.

We currently use 100% renewable electrical energy (biomass) and we’ll be switching to wind/solar power soon.

We send zero waste to landfill. We’ve also reduced our use of plastic bottles by 95% in 2019 and are using less plastic in general.

Our progress so far

Our action plan

We are committed to reducing CO2 emissions by 10% by 2023 and working to achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

We are signed up to the Arts Council England (ACE)-approved 2019 – 2023 Environmental Policy and Action Plan and the ACE Spotlight programme for building-based National Portfolio Organisations, which include these goals.

CO2

Over the past four years, we’ve reduced our CO2 emissions by 48%. 

We did this by replacing inefficient equipment, introducing LED lighting and improving our buildings (particularly the refurbishment of Queen Elizabeth Hall and Hayward Gallery last year), among other things.

Energy

We currently use 100% renewable electrical energy (biomass) and we’ll be switching to wind/solar power soon. 

Southbank Centre was one of the first organisations in the arts sector to be certified as energy efficient under the internationally recognised standard (ISO 50001) in 2017.

Waste

We send zero waste to landfill. 

Our general waste is separated into mixed dry recyclables, food waste and glass. 39% of our waste is dry mixed recyclables, which are sent to a recycling facility where they are sorted into paper, card, plastics, metals and wood and sent to reprocessing plants to be made ready for reuse.

53% of our general waste is not suitable for recycling. We send it by barge (saving 50,000 lorry trips) to a high performance Waste to Energy plant where it generates 67MW of green electricity a year.

We collect glass on our site daily to be recycled and used by industry.  

We also collect food waste on our site daily and send it to an anaerobic digestion plant, which converts the waste into methane gas used for energy and high quality fertilizer.

Plastics

In 2018 we decided to try to reduce our use of plastics as much as possible. We introduced water fountains and glass bottles for meetings, and now use 95% fewer plastic bottles.

Water

We are currently working to stop using most cleaning-related chemicals on our site by installing a new chemical-free cleaning system which uses purified micro-filtered water instead.