As a consortium of over 35 festival partners, Without Walls recognises its responsibility in reducing the negative environmental impacts of its activities and is committed to improving sustainability across the outdoor arts sector.
This page includes information on Without Walls’ support of Vision: 2025, a shared vision for a sustainable outdoor events industry; our Declaration of Climate Emergency, part of the Culture Declares Emergency Initiative; and our full Environmental Policy.
We are proud to support Vision: 2025, a shared vision for a sustainable outdoor events industry. Founded in 2015, the Vision: 2025 mission is to inspire a significant reduction in the climate impacts of outdoor live events by 2025 (and beyond) and is driven by a steering group of outdoor events industry associations and leaders in the field of sustainability in live events and the arts. Steering group members include: Without Walls, Julie’s Bicycle, Festival Republic, The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), The Association of Festival Organisers (AFO), The National Outdoor Events Association (NOEA), The Production Services Association (PSA), Lansdowne Warwick, The Showman’s Show, Kambe Events, ZAP Concepts, Smart Power Ltd, The Nationwide Caterers Association (NCASS) and Brown Fox Comms.
Declaration of Climate Emergency
Arts and culture venues, creative organisations and individuals across the country have been declaring a Climate and Ecological Emergency as part of a series of initiatives organised by Culture Declares Emergency.
Members of the arts, culture and creative industries are making this collective response and commitment to do their part in telling the truth about the climate and ecological crisis and take necessary action.
Without Walls fully supports this initiative and declares a Climate and Ecological Emergency. We are in a state of global climate crisis and on the brink of causing irreversible damage to our planet, its atmosphere, its inhabitants, and our future.
As a consortium of festivals, organisations and artists dedicated to creating, developing, and touring innovative outdoor art, the Climate Emergency poses a very real threat to the longevity of our work and our ability to deliver our mission to reach and inspire diverse new audiences across the country.
The scale and diversity of Without Walls’ activity offers a valuable opportunity to exert influence and inspire positive action on environmental responsibility across the outdoor arts sector. We pledge to work together with and in support of our sector, our national partners, and local government in tackling this Emergency, and we call on others to do the same.
These are our intentions:
- We will Communicate and Influence
We will communicate about the Emergency, our actions and commitments to address it with our partners, audiences, artists, and stakeholders and support them to make the changes that are needed.
- We will take Action
Without Walls pledges to actively work on reducing our direct emissions and consumption levels, and model ways that our work can innovate to support the regeneration of the planet’s resources.
- We are committed to Justice
We will do what is possible to enable dialogue and expression amidst all the communities that we serve about how the Emergency will affect them and the changes that are needed. We are committed to working towards a sustainable and equitable future for all.
This policy is reviewed every two years and was last substantially updated in February 2020
Without Walls recognises its responsibility in reducing the negative environmental impacts of its activities and is committed to understanding, measuring, improving and communicating its environmental performance, ensuring compliance with environmental legislation as a minimum standard.
Without Walls is a national consortium of festivals and organisations dedicated to raising the profile of the UK outdoor arts sector, promoting artistic excellence and supporting innovative new work for the benefit of artists and audiences.
Without Walls brings together artists, promoters and commissioners to make high-quality multi-arts outdoor shows – from the intimate to the epic – that tour to festivals across the UK and beyond. The consortium nurtures talent and skills by researching, developing, commissioning and touring new work, enhancing the growth of the sector, and reaching large audiences, many new to the arts.
The consortium’s Vision for the period 2018-22 is as follows:
Without Walls raises the artistic bar of UK outdoor arts ever higher, the diverse work it creates being recognised for innovation and wonder across the UK and overseas.
The Mission for the same period is as follows:
Without Walls leads excellence in outdoor arts through the creation of inspirational new work – from the intimate to the epic – of the highest quality by UK artists, touring this work to reach large, diverse and new audiences across the country.
The Without Walls Business Plan for 2018-22 outlines six Aims in support of this Vision and Mission and these aims are in turn supported by objectives, several of which directly support the consortium’s commitment to environmental sustainability.
Identifying and understanding the impact of Without Walls’ business activity is the first step in planning action to reduce any negative environmental outcomes as far as practicable.
Without Walls’ administrative functions are controlled by managing company XTRAX. XTRAX is one of several companies housed in an ethical/cultural co-operative workspace, the Work for Change Co-operative building in Hulme, Manchester. Environmental design was a priority in the original development of the building which benefits from good insulation, efficient heating provided by a biomass boiler, low-E glass, grass roofs, ethically sourced materials and recycling points. A range of environmental targets for the building are constantly monitored, including CO2 emissions, energy use and waste.
XTRAX will continue to embrace good practices in energy-saving (switching off hardware at the end of each working day, maintaining equipment etc) and the management and reduction of waste materials (recycling procedures, internal printing protocols to reduce paper and ink consumption, and the prioritisation of digital over paper-based working wherever possible etc), embedding this working ethos in its induction procedures for new staff.
As a national project with 36 partners (at present), business travel is a major consideration, representing by far the biggest carbon impact of the consortium’s management. Without Walls will develop and maintain a transport and expense policy that applies both to XTRAX staff when carrying out Without Walls activity and Without Walls’ Board and partners, seeking to reduce unnecessary travel and favouring public transport where practicable. Flexibility in working hours and the timing of meetings, events and activities will be considered in order to best support this. There is an opportunity to research, trial and invest in new technologies as they develop in order to increase the effectiveness of working in alternative ways, for example considering how conference calling might reduce the need for physical meetings and the travel they entail. This is aligned with the consortium’s broader digital strategy which outlines an investment in equipment that will aid digital distribution, webinar-based training and live broadcast of public-facing events.
In its financial and procurement procedures Without Walls will favour sustainable choices where practicable, defined by a set of criteria to assess the credentials of the product or service supplied. Those with purchasing responsibility will be required to comply with these guidelines as far as is practicable, for example seeking alternatives to purchasing new materials where possible to reduce unnecessary waste; purchasing from suppliers local to the activity being delivered; and demonstrating a preference to work with suppliers which demonstrate environmental policies that complement the consortium’s approach.
Broader responsibility for environmental sustainability sits with the individual organisations that make up the consortium, with several already taking steps to explore and implement a range of ideas to reduce the carbon footprints for their own activity, including the production of public-facing events, festivals and touring shows. Many of the consortium’s partners have established policies, plans and broader approaches to environmental sustainability in place, and as such, with its consortium model Without Walls operates differently to many other NPOs (including its individual partner festivals).
Without Walls acknowledges its contribution to the impacts generated by partners’ activities through its role in encouraging the creation, touring and presentation of new outdoor works and will proactively engage with festival partners and supported artist companies on environmental sustainability. Without Walls can play a key role in educating partners and the wider sector on sustainable approaches through training, information-sharing, amplifying examples of good practice and creating opportunities for collaboration.
Over the period 2018-22 Without Walls makes a commitment to:
- Measure and analyse the environmental performance of its activity
- Reduce annual energy use and related emissions by 5% (annual kWh used)
- Reduce the volume of waste to landfill by 20% and work towards a zero-waste policy
- Implement a sustainable travel and expense policy, reducing the mileage and associated environmental impacts of journeys made on behalf of the consortium
- Design and implement sustainable procurement guidelines and an ethical investment policy
- Communicate information about environmental performance and progress to Board, partners, artists and audiences through meeting agendas and the Without Walls website
- Provide information and learning opportunities to festival partners and supported artist companies to understand how they can implement sustainability in their work, and encourage innovation
- Make an active and socially responsible contribution to the wider arts sector regarding shared environmental goals
- Ensure compliance with environmental legislation as a minimum standard
- Engage and train management, contractors and partners in these processes
The scale and diversity of Without Walls’ activity offers a valuable opportunity to exert influence and inspire positive action on environmental sustainability across the Outdoor Arts sector, and during the period covered by this policy Without Walls will work with industry experts (including Julie’s Bicycle, Outdoor Arts UK and NASA) as well as other consortia that are leading on sustainability initiatives specific to the culture sector (such as Manchester Arts Sustainability Team and the London Theatre Consortium) to inform its strategic activity and define a sector-leading role.
Monitoring and review
Without Walls’ Board of Directors, supported by the XTRAX management team, leads on the consortium’s commitment to environmental sustainability, ensuring it is fundamentally embedded in the governance and management of the consortium’s work.
Responsibility for implementing and monitoring this Environmental Policy and accompanying Action Plan lies ultimately with the Without Walls Board of Directors, which identifies two of its members to take the role of Environmental Champions and have oversight of this Policy and Action Plan and all related issues.
The setting and monitoring of targets and reporting on progress against them is led by XTRAX in consultation with the Board and is outlined in the Environmental Action Plan. Both policy and plan will be reviewed by the Board of Directors in conjunction with the XTRAX management team on an annual basis, or whenever there is a significant change in working practices, whichever arises first.
Communications and reporting
Inductions for new XTRAX staff and Without Walls Directors will include reference to this policy and their responsibilities in relation to it and the documents will be made available to them in full. Formal and informal training opportunities addressing environmental issues, when deemed to be relevant and feasible, will be offered to XTRAX staff and Board members to enable them to discharge their roles and responsibilities effectively. To encourage an organisational culture of shared responsibility, environmental sustainability is included as a fixed agenda item on Without Walls Board and management team meetings, and as a small staff team the action plan acknowledges that most actions will require shared input and resources to achieve success.
Without Walls is committed to communicating information about its environmental performance and will make this policy available on its website, along with any other progress reports detailing the actions undertaken by the consortium.
To meet the requirements of Arts Council England’s funding conditions, XTRAX will report annually on behalf of Without Walls in two key areas as follows:
- the administrative function – reporting specifically on business travel, waste & recycling and the consumption of energy (electricity only, as currently no gas is consumed, and water is shared with several other businesses within the office complex);
- a range of indoor events planned across each year – reporting specifically on business travel and waste & recycling.