In 2010, we helped to set up the Manchester Arts Sustainability Team (MAST), a citywide alliance to tackle sustainability issues in the cultural sector.

The network is now expanding across the region as GMAST. Together, we aim to make our region carbon neutral by 2038.

A key way to support that commitment is to regularly monitor our environmental impact across our venues, our programmes and community engagement activities. We report annually on everything from artist travel and transport-related emissions to energy management on site and our steps to more responsible procurement.

We will also take the lead at MIF/The Factory, empowering those around us to play their part.

Making progress:

  • MIF was the first international festival to be independently certified as meeting BS 8901, the original British Standard for Sustainable Event Management.
  • We helped to develop ISO 20121, the international standard for sustainable event management.
  • We recycled almost all the plastic used for creative projects in MIF21, some of which became a substitute for plywood sheets. We also donated 175 PVC lamppost banners to Plastic Shed, which runs creative recycling workshops.
  • The first audience travel surveys took place at Sea Change, which will help us to better understand how people come to our events. Out of 300 respondents, 19% came by car. We hope to encourage more guests to take public transport, walk, cycle, scoot or roll their way to The Factory.
  • All Festival Square food traders offered plant-based options at MIF21 including vegan pop-up Stellar. Meanwhile, Eat Well MCR’s stalls and supper clubs were full of local produce and Honest Crust added lots of seasonal toppings to their wood-fired pizzas and summer salads.
  • All our permanent staff will be offered accredited carbon literacy training by 2023. They will understand the potential impact of their role and how to reduce their carbon footprint. We are also developing sustainability training modules at The Factory Academy.
  • The Factory is on course to achieve a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) rating of ‘Very Good’, in line with Manchester City Council guidelines. BREEAM measures our progress against 103 different sustainability criteria covering the management of the project, materials and delivery.

Read our environmental sustainability policy and ongoing commitments here.

Next steps:

  • Establish systems and monitoring to accurately measure our operational carbon footprint at The Factory. Then set a baseline by 2024 and plot a realistic path to net zero. Our ambition is to get there by 2028.
  • We will test emerging technology as it arrives, including renewable energy systems, battery storage and alternative production materials.
  • Introducing a Zero to Landfill policy and avoiding single-use plastics.

If you have any questions, please contact our Environmental Sustainability Manager, Feimatta Conteh:

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