Environmentally Responsible Materials

Close to the front of the image is a large sculpture of what looks like a black phirana, In the distance there is a group of people looking at a silver sculpture.

Environmental Responsibility – A personal perspective from Dan Powers.

As a member of the Arts Council National Portfolio, IOU is fortunately-positioned to take advantage of the Arts Councils’ progressive and forward thinking ideas on a number of subjects relating to ‘the development of well-run, future facing organisations’. Called Investment Principles, these ideas form a threshold of expectations over a number of different areas applicable to an Arts Organisations’ operation &  practice. 

One area of note for myself as IOU’s Technical Manager and Sustainability Champion, is the ‘Environmental Responsibility’ Principle. Here, a move from sustainability to true responsibility is recommended, with guidance towards ‘​​embedding environmental thinking in everything we do’.

IOU has always considered its impact, both culturally and environmentally, in the work it produces and in its operations. Never more than now however, has a move from consideration towards pro-active behaviour been required to help address our inarguable climate crisis.

Theatre Green Book

We are proud to have been part of the beta programme for the Theatre Green Book – an ‘initiative by the whole of theatre to work more sustainably’ – and we seek to adopt its standards in all future IOU productions. Personally I am keen to work towards evaluating our environmental  impact in terms of its Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (CO2e),  Co2e being  a standard of measurement (created by the United Nations no less!) signifying the amount of CO2 which would have the equivalent global warming impact. For easy-to-digest info on Co2 vs Co2e check here, and to begin measuring your own impact, here’s a good place to start.

Reduce and Reuse

A step towards addressing and reducing our Co2 emissions comes from first identifying suitable alternatives to the day-to-day materials used in IOU’s operational practice. IOU builds things, and we need to build things with more environmental responsibility in mind. From understanding which kind of printer paper is most environmentally friendly, to finding closed-loop recycled alternatives for shipped-in plywood with a high logistical carbon footprint and formaldehyde-containing  fibreboard, our processes need to be robust and ingrained

The Eco Agenda

There are no real ‘easy wins’ once you get past the basics (like not overfilling a kettle or),  as these replacement materials often have a higher unit cost, due (amongst other things) to the fact that supply chains and production processes are not yet at the same scale as our more mainstream materials. IOU will nevertheless strive to keep sustainability and responsibility high on its agenda.