Celebrating MAC's journey to sustainability during Art, Nature and Wellbeing Season

Wed 6 September 2023

During the 150th anniversary of Cannon Hill Park, our autumn season is focused on art, nature and wellbeing. We're thinking about the environmental impact of our activities here at MAC, the steps we have taken to reduce our carbon footprint, and our future plans.

What are we doing right now to curb our carbon footprint?

We closely monitor MAC’s energy use using stark electricity data and take weekly submeter reads and use Julie's Bicycle to calculate our Carbon Footprint annually, which has seen a year on year reduction since 2016.

Active Travel

  • Our location on Rea valley cycling route and National Cycle Route 5 means we encourage visitors to access our venue through Active Travel.
  • We work with National Express to give visitors a 25% discount on NX WM Day Saver tickets for their bus journey to MAC.
  • We have bicycle racks on site and more information about travelling to MAC


  • To minimise wasted energy through lights, heating and water, MAC continuously monitors and reviews our activities, setting targets to investigate what green strategies work for other organisations.
  • We’ve invested in more efficient boilers, sensor taps and LED lighting to replace 391 previously compact fluorescent – predicted to save 29,000kWh per year.
  • In 2021, we completed a new accessible Garden Studio and Pocket Garden as part of an ambitious on-site renovation project, employing freelance gardener Matt O’Callaghan. Find out how to grow your own with Matt.


  • At KILN, 50% of menu options are vegan and vegetarian and there is a 25p discount on hot drinks for visitors that bring a reusable cup.
  • Nearly all of our disposables are now made from renewable, plant-based materials from Vegware™, which means cups, lids and straws are completely compostable.
  • MAC is proud to offer a variety of Fairtrade® products including coffees, teas and chocolate. We only use free-range eggs.


  • Our general waste is sorted at a recycling plant and non-recyclable waste is used as refuse-derived fuel. Zero waste goes to landfill.
In 2022, achieved silver accreditation – moving on from Bronze – for our travel plan by Modeshift Stars, which recognises: “sites that achieve a reduction in single-occupancy car journeys to/from their site.”
  • Our partnerships help with knowledge sharing on decarbonisation while establishing a culture of accountability. We are a Member of Sustainability West Midlands, founding Member of Sustainable Arts West Midlands, joined Culture Declares Emergency and Gallery Climate Coalition.
  • Implementing Green Champions offers an open forum for staff volunteers to meet regularly, identify ways to make MAC more sustainable and engage with visitor feedback on our activities.

Find out more about the steps we’ve taken to make our building greener.

How do MAC’s arts, learning and community programmes meet our sustainability aims?

Under Our Sustainability Aims, we are committed:

“To recognise the important role that the arts play in helping to communicate, engage and process environmental and climate issues and embed these themes in our programme.”

Now in its sixth edition, MAC’s regular green festival, EcoFest, has been reborn as MAC’s Big Green Weekender, taking place on Saturday 16 to Sunday 17 September – for the first time. The festival kicks off on Friday 15 September with Culture Shift, a symposium sharing imaginative and practical ideas and solutions for sustainable practice within the arts industry. 

“MAC’s Big Green Weekender is a fun, inclusive festival that will share a range of different ways we can all action in our local communities. Through a program of short films, live music, creative workshops and talks – as well as Dr Bike and a repair Café - it aims to inspire hope and imagination and show that everyone has a role to play in the movement for a better, greener world.”

Other sustainable highlights this season include:

What more can we do to reduce our environmental impact in future?

  • We developed a short, free, 'Carbon Awareness' course which is available to all staff. A quarter of all staff have received the training so far, with the view for all staff to undergo this training where possible.
  • We are aiming to completely eliminate single use plastic in the catering department.
  • We now have a formal Waste Policy appended to our Environmental Policy and continue to identify areas for improvement through green monitoring electricity data and weekly submeter reads.  
  • We will continue knowledge sharing with our friends and partners on decarbonisation strategies.