Our Sustainability Journey

With Nature Matters focusing on ecological subjects, it has made the archive reflect on the wider sustainability of our workflow and practices. As a result, we have been looking at how we currently operate at a number of levels in terms of energy use, transport of staff and goods, waste disposal, how we run events and contractors/supplies, and addressing what more sustainable improvements we could make in the short, medium and long term.

Currently at the archive we have an environmental policy that is updated annually, and have worked with Festival of Thrift to develop a people-powered cinema using solar and pedal power to explore more sustainable ways of screening archive film. We wanted to take this further and build more sustainability into our workflow and ethos. To do this we have been supported by six environment students from the University of York. They have been working with the university's sustainability clinic to support local organisations in undertaking action plans. 

The group - Emmy, Becky, Emily, Eve, Libby and Rachel - came and did an initial assessment with us to learn about our current practices, tour the archive and ask questions. Then they went away to research and produce an action plan for us that focused on different potential changes based on time and scale. The group did a final presentation of their findings and the action plan they have produced.

The whole process was of great benefit to the archive, as it helped us assess the various impacts that we have on the environment and how we can make positive changes. We want to be open about our journey going forward to highlight our commitment to continued change and welcome conversation in the area.

Challenges so far:
  • Being in a rented space means it is hard to obtain the most accurate data around our energy and waste management. To counter this estimations were made.
  • Time, changing workflows and making more time for research into more ecologically conscious alternatives.

Changes we plan to make:
  • Carrying out regular staff surveys in regard to the environment and changemaking.
  • Regularly assessing our suppliers to check they are the most eco-conscious.
  • Continuing to develop and update our environmental policy and making it a discussion point at our Trustee meetings.
  • Continuing our work with Festival of Thrift and the people-powered cinema, focusing on making screenings more sustainable.
  • Research and explore digital sustainability.
  • Recording data of energy/waste usage and staff and volunteer travel.
  • Encouraging and supporting sustainability and ecological training for staff and volunteers.
  • Participate fully with the BFI’s Sustainable Screen Programme, establishing a baseline carbon footprint for the archive with the aid of Julie’s Bicycle, a leading not-for-profit, mobilising the arts and culture to take action on the climate, nature and justice crisis.
  • Speaking to sector colleagues to share learning and support.

We look forward to sharing our ongoing sustainability journey. If you would like to learn more or speak to us about it then do get in touch: info@yfanefa.com

University of York students Emmy, Becky, Emily, Eve, Libby and Rachel in our vaults