Going Net Zero

As one of Scotland's busiest venues, we want to keep dancing, keep working, keep creating, keep inspiring in a genuinely sustainable way — and so, we've committed to radically reducing our emissions to net zero by 2025. Here's how we plan to do it. 

SWG3 is one of Scotland’s busiest venues. We have 250,000 people coming through our doors each year for gigs, clubs, art, food, drink, work and everything in between - needing heat and light and sound. We have artists, unavoidably, travelling across the city, country or globe to deliver it. And, to make it all happen, we work with a wide network of suppliers, collaborators, companies and individuals, both local and global. 

We want to keep dancing, keep working, keep creating, keep inspiring ― but we also want to do this in a responsible, innovative way. And so, over the past year, we’ve been taking steps to measure our carbon emissions and understand our impacts. Our plan is to radically reduce our emissions to net zero by 2025 — or sooner.

We know this won’t be easy, but we know we have to try — and we're mad up for the challenge.

Our Focus

Addressing energy efficiency and reducing waste

Working alongside sustainability and innovation consultancy, Stance, we've begun to understand our most significant sources of carbon emissions from our day-to-day operations.

Our yearly output of 138.5 tonnes of CO2 is our yearly operational emissions, and the figure we aim to reduce going forward. Due to COVID, our 2020 data doesn't represent an average year at SWG3. To progress the project, we have taken a 3-year average (2018-20), which includes two of our busiest years, to create the baseline year carbon footprint figure. This provides us with the most robust assessment we can make at this point.

Our most significant sources of emissions are electricity (89%), gas (8%), waste (7%) and business travel (4%).

(We've initially focused on our Scopes 1 and 2 emissions, but have already undertaken a gap analysis to include relevant Scope 3 figures in 2022). 

Our Actions

Some of the things we’ve done so far
  1. Measured our carbon emissions
    You can’t manage what you don’t measure, so our first big milestone has been assessing our carbon emissions and establishing a baseline on which to benchmark future reductions. 
  1. Committed to switching to a renewable energy supplier
    On 1 November 2021, we switched to SSE, who offer an 100% renewable energy supply. 
  1. Offset our operational carbon emissions to become a carbon-neutral venue
    We will offset our operational emissions each year going forward, backdated by one year. We've bought verified carbon offsets totalling 153tCO2e (110% of our calculated emissions) for tree planting projects in Scotland. Our certificate can be viewed here.
  1. Begun work on BODYHEAT, a radical system to harness and convert energy
    BODYHEAT is a state-of-the-art renewable heating and cooling system which will transform body heat generated by clubbers and gig-goers into a source of energy to be used again. The journey has begun, and the pilot system will be in place by late 2022.
  1. Made steps towards eradicating single-use plastic
    We use single-use plastic at our events. We're not happy about this either. How to get round this is a common but surprisingly difficult problem that all venues are facing - but we're committed to changing this as soon as possible, because we know this needs to change.

Over the coming months, we're trialling a number of products with the hope of making this happen fast. It means we can then share what we've learnt with others and exponentially increase the impact we can have on reducing plastic waste.

Our Aims

What we're working on

From October 2021 to October 2022, we are aiming to...

  • Remove single-use plastic from events
  • Implement BODYHEAT, our first major sustainability-focused capital project
  • Design and cultivate two acres of garden space, including community growing space, beehives and native and biodiverse planting
  • Carry out energy, waste and water audits, establishing a register of energy efficiency projects
  • Establish an SWG3 Green Team to measure, manage and advocate change from within
  • Implement a sustainable travel plan
  • Implement sustainable sourcing policies for food, beverages, supplies and partnerships 
  • Develop our company vision and strategy to integrate UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • Publish our first yearly sustainability report, detailing our strategy for reductions and progress thus far

Between 2022-2026, we are aiming to...

  • Become a circular business, adopting innovative ways to go further than just avoiding waste
  • Radically reduce our carbon emissions through energy efficiency projects, going beyond net zero and aiming for carbon positive status by generating more energy than we use
  • Advocate change and share what we've learnt with transparency and optimism