Our impact

At SAIL, we’re working toward a sustainable future for West Yorkshire’s creative and cultural industries, and we’re making progress.

From transformative workshops and insightful resources to our collaborative Members Network, we’re not just talking about change – we’re driving it. Here, we celebrate the tangible impacts we’ve made so far, the organisations and individuals we’ve helped, and our collective strides towards a greener, more sustainable creative and cultural sector.

Embedding Sustainability

A Hybrid/solar battery array for LEEDS 2023's "The WOW Barn" project

As the proud sustainability partners for the LEEDS 2023 Year of Culture, we at SAIL have set our sights supporting the year of culture in being the most environmentally sustainable to date. This mission propelled us to roll up our sleeves and dig deep into the environmental foundations of the event.

We introduced Carbon Literacy training to the entire staff, equipping them with the tools to understand and reduce their environmental impact, and set up a dynamic sustainability working group, drawing together minds from all corners of the organisation.

SAIL also took on the task of calculating the carbon impact of every event, creating a baseline from which to create an action plan for driving down the emissions.

One innovative solution was the introduction of a solar/hybrid generator for the WOW Barn Project. Ditching traditional diesel, we instead harnessed the power of the sun, utilising solar panels and batteries. For those less-than-sunny days, we had a backup plan: two synchronised generators running on Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil. This ensured an uninterrupted power supply without compromising our green principles.

The results? A significant reduction in the event’s carbon footprint, saving 7 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Through our partnership with LEEDS 2023, we’re demonstrating that sustainability and culture can work hand in hand. We’re excited to continue our journey towards a greener future, one cultural event at a time.

Creating new experiences

In May 2022, SAIL were successful in obtaining some funding as part of the XR Stories Climate Change Challenge to develop Home Planet, an immersive VR experience based around our Carbon Literacy training course.

This proof of concept aimed to showcase the power of immersive technology in generating an emotional response to the climate crisis. This video gives you gives you a sneak peak into the project.

Supporting Bradford 2025, UK City of Culture

“Bradford Culture Company recently worked with SAIL to develop an environmental policy and action plan for the 2025 UK City of Culture. Jamie and his team have been very responsive to the local context and the needs across all aspects of our organisation and programme delivery. The result is an ambitious and pragmatic framework that will enable Bradford 2025 to play an active role in responding to the climate emergency”
Jenny Harris, Executive Producer. Bradford 2025

Theatre Green Book expertise

In 2023, SAIL embarked on an inspiring collaboration with Opera North as their Sustainability Champion for their Autumn 2023 “Green Season” of La Rondine, Falstaff and Masque of Might, using the Theatre Green Book as a guide. This ambitious project consists of three brand-new operas, all performed on a single, resourceful set crafted solely from materials available in their scenic stores.

At SAIL, we have played the role of the ‘critical friend’, providing both support and accountability throughout the journey. We are ensuring the project remained on a sustainable course, developing a Red-Amber-Green (RAG) report to track progress and flag any potential challenges;

But our involvement extends beyond supervision. We stepped onto the stage, delivering training sessions to the cast and creative teams to deepen their understanding of environmental sustainability. In this way, we helped weave the theme of the season into the very fabric of the production process.

Upon the final curtain call, our work will continue. We are collating data on the environmental impact of the season, turning statistics into a meaningful narrative of change which will culminate in an evaluation report, painting a vivid picture of the project’s successes and learnings.

Educating the sector

We understand that knowledge is the foundation of meaningful action. That’s why we regularly host workshops for our members, creating spaces for learning, dialogue, and growth.

To date, our workshops have covered a variety of crucial topics. We’ve delved into the “Climate Action Readiness Assessment”, giving members tools to gauge their preparedness for climate action. We’ve unpacked the Arts Green Book, a vital guide for greener operations in the cultural sector. We’ve also explored the intricacies of communicating the climate crisis to our collective audiences, acknowledging the profound role that arts and culture can play in raising awareness and sparking change.

But why are these workshops so important?

Simply put, sustainability in the creative and cultural industries isn’t just about reducing our carbon footprint. It’s about fostering a deeper understanding of our relationship with the environment, and empowering each other to make a positive impact. These workshops equip our members with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate the complex landscape of environmental sustainability.

Together, we’re not just learning about sustainability, we’re becoming active participants in shaping a more sustainable future for our industries and our communities.

Rehoming resources

In June 2023, we experienced a fantastic example of local resourcefulness. Leeds Beckett University came to us with a generous offer: a whole host of technical equipment that needed a new home, free of charge.

The response from our incredible SAIL community was immediate. Within a mere 90 minutes, every piece of equipment found a new local home, circumventing waste and reducing the need for new purchases. This quick and enthusiastic response not only gave the equipment a second life but also decreased the environmental impact associated with manufacturing and shipping new items.

Even though we’re still in the process of refining our official redistribution process, this instance clearly highlights the power of community and the sustainability impact we can achieve together. So if you have any spare materials lying around, we encourage you to get in touch with us. We’ll help you share your offer with our members and together, continue to make strides towards a more circular and sustainable local economy

Supporting the education sector

"Working with SAIL over the past year, Leeds Arts University have been able to give students and alumni a fanstastic range of opportunities and training, providing them not only with in-depth and tailored knowledge about sustainability within the arts and within their own practices, but also allowing them to utilise this across a number of valuable creative experiences across a range of industries."
Elli Whitefoot, Assistant Careers, Employability and Enterprise Manager at Leeds Arts University

Creating a Carbon Literate sector

From the moment SAIL first started, our Carbon Literacy Training has been a guiding compass for our mission. This course is designed to give participants the tools and understanding they need to address sustainability challenges, whether they’re in the workplace or pursuing individual creative endeavours.

To date, we’re proud to say we’ve reached a significant milestone – over 1,000 people in the region have embarked on this transformative journey with us. Our learners come from all walks of life and from a variety of organisations. This includes esteemed institutions like Channel 4, Leeds Museums and Galleries, Screen Yorkshire, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Leeds Heritage Theatres, BEAM, and more.

By equipping these individuals and organisations with carbon literacy, we’re planting seeds of sustainability in a broad range of cultural and creative settings. Each person trained becomes an advocate for change, helping to steer our sector towards a more sustainable future, one decision at a time.


From hosting enlightening workshops to rehoming unused resources, from equipping individuals with Carbon Literacy Training to partnering with local organisations for greener events, SAIL is taking the lead in West Yorkshire’s creative and cultural scene. But we’re not doing it alone. Our strength lies in our community, in the passionate and dedicated individuals and organisations committed to fostering a more sustainable future.

We’ve made a significant impact, but there’s still much to be done. We need you to join us on this journey. As a member of SAIL, you’ll not only gain access to our network and resources, but you’ll also play a vital role in driving the sustainability movement in our local creative and cultural industries.

Join us