Environmental Responsibility

The RNCM joins organisations in Greater Manchester and around the world in declaring a climate emergency. This announcement is made after the RNCM Board of Governors supported our vision for a low carbon future.

We have agreed to the following key steps:

  • Completely remove all investments in fossil fuels. Achieved 2022.
  • Full heat decarbonisation by 2038
  • Reduce carbon emissions by 13% annually to achieve Greater Manchester’s net zero carbon targets

Professor Linda Merrick, Principal, said: ‘I am delighted that the RNCM and its Board of Governors has taken significant action in the last year to reduce our carbon footprint from heat decarbonisation, by securing significant external funding for major environmental works. Reducing our environmental impact through focusing on sustainable practices remains a key strategic objective which is something our students, staff and customers expect of us.’

Solar panels on the RNCM roof.

The RNCM has had a Carbon Management Plan since 2010 and has a Sustainability 2032 Framework. The work we do in this area is truly collaborative, and our Environment Working Group is made up of students and staff who are committed to meeting our environmental obligations.

Having already saved 877 tonnes of (heat/power) carbon by 2020 (from a 2005 baseline of 1755), we pledged to save a further 389 tonnes of carbon by successfully securing competitive funding from Salix as part of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. Since then, we have delivered a full building retrofit including a new Building Energy Management System (BEMS), a hybrid air source heat pump solution, significant upgrades to motors, pumps and electrical infrastructure, the introduction of photovoltaics on our roof (pictured above), a full roof replacement, cavity wall insulation, smart metering infrastructure, and one megawatt of battery storage. We continue to identify further projects to achieve our ultimate goal of full heat decarbonisation.

Sustainability within our food and drink provision

At the RNCM, we’d like the quality of our food and drinks to leave a lasting impression on you, not on the environment.

We take steps to ensure that we’re operating in a sustainable, environmentally responsible way in everything that we do at Brodsky, in our Café, Concert Bar and at events.

Two paper cups stand on a table.

Some initiatives we have undertaken

  • In 2022, we appointed Cafeology as our sole coffee supplier. Cafeology are an independently owned coffee company who purchase direct from coffee growers in Central and Southern America. You can find out more about Cafeology’s ethics and sustainable practices on their website. In the same year we also increased our range of alternative milks, all of which are available as a latte or cappuccino.
  • Our takeaway hot drink cup is 100% recyclable, which means no part of it needs to be separated in order for it to be recycled. The paper material yield after recycling can vary depending on the quality of the paper processing mill, but after the recycling of our cups we expect a 97.9% yield of recycled material for reuse.
  • We sell a RNCM branded Keep Cup and offer a discount on each hot drink purchased when you bring your own reusable cup. Alternatively, feel free to ask our team if you prefer your drink served in crockery.
  • We have removed single use plastic glasses from the Concert Bar for those taking drinks into our auditoriums and have replaced them with branded, reusable half and pint cups from Happy Cups.
  • 35% of our Cafe Bar Menu is vegan and we have a dedicated vegan section in our grab and go fridge.
  • We operate a SMART menu where we use the same ingredients across numerous dishes. We constantly review our menu and remove less popular dishes in order to reduce wastage. We also buy non-perishable items in bulk.
  • We replaced our plastic takeaway cutlery with wooden or composable plant-based options.
  • We turn our waste cooking oil into biodiesel, thus reducing energy consumption and food waste. We employ Filtafry, whose cooking oil recycling services naturally preserve the environment by extending the life of cooking oil.
  • Our chopping boards are regularly swapped out for a resurfaced set using the Nella Cutlery resurfacing service. This saves money, ensures we are food safe and reduces plastic waste.

Some initiatives we are working on

  • Creating a Food Waste Reduction Policy.
  • Investigating the segregation of food waste to generate renewable energy and create nutrient-rich biofertiliser.
  • Reviewing all packaging used within the Department to see where we can switch to more sustainable options.