Sustainability pledge

Within Wandsworth, tackling climate change is already in progress.

Since the Council declared a Climate Emergency in 2019, all the Borough’s Arts Council funded National Portfolio Organisations have created Environmental Policies and Action Plans and the Council organised their first Together on Climate Change Festival in November 2021, to coincide with the COP26.

We believe that the WAF Sustainability Pledge can raise awareness on the need for individual artists and organisations to take tangible steps against climate change and could potentially set them up on their own pathway to creating tailored environmental policies and action plans. We are also confident that the festival has much to learn from its contributing artists, organisations and community groups, and this pledge and plan are our way to start the much-needed conversation on our collective responsibility and power to reduce carbon emissions in Wandsworth.

The WAF Sustainability Plan seeks to support the Arts and Culture Strategy and align with the Wandsworth Environment and Sustainability Strategy.

Our Pledge

Our pledge is to put into place a lasting strategy to ensure our own sustainability and reduce our impact on the planet, and to share this journey with our audience, our artists and our partners.

We will utilise the Creative Green Tools, a free set of unique carbon calculators developed by Julie’s Bicycle for the creative industries, to understand the environmental impact of the festival, using the data captured during the festival to assess performance and track progress year on year. We will be using this year (2022) to pilot our measuring tools with our more established partners, in a view to gather sufficient data in 2023 to be used as the benchmark to measure our environmental impact. Data collected in 2022 and 2023 will be used as our baseline data, which can be re-measured each year to ensure that we are moving towards a net zero by 2030.

This pledge is designed to be down-to-earth and evolutive: it will be reviewed each year so that a realistic and relevant action plan can be agreed prior to each new edition of the festival.


- We work on a hybrid model, looking to minimise our carbon emissions linked to transport.

- We operate in a mostly paper-free environment.

- In 2020, sustainability has become one of the 7 strategic objectives that WAF Grants are assessed against. We highlighted the ‘green’ projects of the WAF programme in partnership with the Council’s Climate Change team and offered them further opportunities to be showcased as part of the Together on Climate Change Festival in November 2021.

We have stopped producing a festival brochure, replacing it with a highlight flyer in 2020. (We feel some publicity is still necessary to ensure the festival gains visibility in the public realm and does not excludes families suffering from IT deprivation.)

- We have been promoting the Work & Play Scrapstore to our artists for years.

- We use FSC registered printers who use paper stock which is at least 70% recycled. FSC also use paper from sustainable forests, so more trees are planted than cut down and all FSC paper stock can be traced back to its source.

- We serve only vegetarian food at our opening VIP night and networking events.

- Whenever possible, we work with Wandsworth-based suppliers who use ethically, locally-sourced products.

- We replaced audience evaluation flyers with seed-cards bearing the QR code to the digital evaluation platform.

- In 2020, we purchased reusable facemasks for all our staff and contractors at the WAF Big To to limit the use of single-use facemasks.


We will make use of the Theatre Green Book whenever possible:

We will consult with Julie’s Bicycle to identify which tools are suitable to our open access model and the best way to collect data.

We will not only monitor our own carbon emissions but share tools with suppliers, crew, audience and artists and encourage their participation, enabling others to gain an understanding of their own impact.

The environmental impact of projects will form part of the assessment of WAF grants, with particular focus on the environmental impacts of materials, sourcing, construction and transportation needed to complete the proposed project.

We will make it mandatory for any trader and supplier used during the festival to use only recyclable packaging on site - no single use plastics allowed.

Environmental themes will be a key component in the annual WAF programme and will benefit from specific communication as the WAF Green strand (piloted in 2020). The aim is to utilise performances, exhibitions, workshops and debates so that artists and audiences can explore how we tackle the climate emergency and encourage a radical shift in our relationship with nature and technology.

We will continue to encourage all participating artists to use the Work & Play Scrapstore to use, reuse and upcycle their materials.

We will review our marketing plan and print supply:

  • We will support artists and venues to improve the sustainability of their campaigns through networking meetings and marketing packs, directing them to sustainable marketing resources and suppliers. We will commit to using biodegradable, recycled or recyclable printed materials from 2022.
  • We will commit to digitising as much of our marketing as is practical, while maintaining inclusivity for audiences without access to digital platforms and a minimum level of visibility.
  • We will reduce/replace festival merchandise with environmentally friendly alternatives, and not create merchandise where there are no green options.
  • We will be realistic and conservative about the volume of marketing material we create, ensuring we only produce what we use, and mindful of the environmental impact of our distribution methods – keeping it local and pedestrian wherever possible.
  • We will actively seek and nurture relationships with suppliers and advertisers whose sustainability values align with ours.