Our building

Sustainability

Afternoon Tea in the Conservatory

We recognise the impacts that our operations and activities can have on the environment and we are committed to reducing these.  

The Barbican’s environmental policy and strategy is fully supported by our senior management team and is implemented, communicated and monitored by our staff-led sustainability groups. Set up to spread the message of sustainability throughout the Barbican, these help to ensure everyone’s voice can be heard.
 

Awards and Accolades

In recognition of our commitments, initiatives and achievements we are delighted to have been awarded:

In 2019 

  • Julie’s Bicycle Creative Green Certification: Four out of Five stars. Creative Green is an international community of pioneering creative and cultural organisations, recognised for their ambition and action on environmental sustainability.
  • Most Sustainable Venue at the London Summer Events Show

In 2018 

  • Clean City award which recognises environmental responsibility as well as cleanliness

We have also signed the City of London’s Plastic Free City pledge at a platinum level and are supporting Clean Air in the City of London through the Clean City Air Business Engagement Programme.
 

Success and Initiatives

We take a proactive approach to reducing our environmental impact and have made great strides in reducing our use of resources, waste and associated carbon emissions. Some of our successes and initiatives are outlined below.

Reduction of Waste and the Use of Resources

With the support of our catering partners, we have reduced the use of single use plastics in our café’s, bars and restaurants by:

  • Withdrawing plastic straws (paper straws are now only available on request)
  • Replacing plastic disposable cutlery with lightweight biodegradable wooden cutlery
  • Replacing single use plastic cups at water fountains and coolers with lightweight paper cups and cones
  • Supplying our staff with reusable hot drinks cups to reduce the use of disposable cups and applying a surcharge for those still using a disposable cup
  • Selling Barbican branded reusable hot drinks cups for £5 (drink included) – one of the lowest prices in the market, to encourage as many guests as possible to avoid using a single-use cup
  • In addition a 25p reusable cup discount will be applied to encourage guests and visitors to use their own cup 

Plus:

  • We are currently working to provide water fountains in strategic public locations to enable visitors to fill up their own water flasks, reducing the use and dependence on bottled water
  • We are introducing reusable polycarbonate glassware in our performance bars that will enable us to drastically reduce the number of single use plastics used 
  • We are working to find ways to reduce single-use food containers in the ‘grab and go’ fridges
  • We are investigating options to reduce and eventually remove single-use plastic bottled drinks in our bars and cafes

Other measures to reduce the use of resources and waste include:

  • We have a zero to landfill policy, where all our waste is reused, recycled or composted where possible and everything else goes to energy recovery
  • Hand dryers have replaced hand towels where possible to reduce the amount of paper towels used 
  • Our conference consumables are recycled or made from recycled material
  • We have a number of waterless urinals in the Centre to help reduce the use and waste of water

Reduction of Energy and Carbon Emissions

  • The electricity used by the Barbican is 100% renewable.
  • We have installed six free to use electric vehicle charging points for use by our visitors in car park 3 with two more on the way 
  • We have a maintenance schedule in place to ensure engineering equipment is working efficiently to reduce the use of electricity
  • We have a Trend Building Energy Management System installed to control our lighting, heating and ventilation systems  
  • We have developed a system of weekly scheduling of our heating and cooling systems to ensure that services aren’t supplied to areas that aren’t in use
  • We are replacing lighting in many areas with low energy and LED alternatives 
  • We are installing proximity activated and timed lighting controls to ensure that lights automatically switch off when areas aren’t in use
  • We have installed voltage optimisation technology to reduce our incoming electrical current to reduce consumption and emissions
  • We continue to monitor technological advancements to identify areas where further reduction in energy use and carbon emissions can be made
     

Travel

Located in the heart of the city, the Barbican has excellent public transport links as well as cycle parking facilities for visitors and staff. Further information on sustainable travel options including maps, links to public transport operators plus information on our electric car charging points can be found in 'Your Visit'. 

Biodiversity

One of the iconic features of the Barbican is our conservatory which is home to exotic fish, terrapins and over 2,000 species of sub-tropical plants and trees. 

The Barbican opens out onto a lakeside area that provides a habitat for a variety of flora and fauna, an oasis in the heart of the city. Recently we have been working with our colleagues from the City of London’s Open Spaces team to enhance this area. Investment to date has included repairs and replacements of pumps, pipes and associate aerating equipment plus working on reed beds and planters to encourage wildlife and breeding. This has provided an enhanced area for the wildlife which includes fish, coots, mallards, herons and moorhens.

In order to reduce the use of water for watering plants we have planted drought resistant plants around the Centre along with plants that promote better air quality.

We also have a bee colony and have recently installed two bug hotels to encourage pollinating insects.   

Read our Policy

In the Barbican Shop