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

It’s been a year since we announced our ambitious intentions of becoming net zero by 2025. We’ve made some real progress, and also hit some hurdles too, but we’re still throwing everything into reaching our end goals. We promised to keep you updated with our progress, so here’s a rundown of the last 12 months.

  • Fully commissioned, powered up and started using BODYHEAT
    This one has been quite a journey already, but we are finally capturing the energy created by our gig and party goers and using it to help reduce our carbon footprint!
  • Reduce our operational carbon emissions by 17%
    In 2021 we were able to reduce our operational carbon footprint to 109tCO2e split across electricity (81%), gas (12%), waste (2%) and business travel (5%).
  • Complete works on our community garden space
    Converting two acres of vacant and derelict land into a beautiful, biodiverse space ready to be enjoyed by our community from spring 2023.
  • Carried out a waste audit
    With this we were able to establish a register of circular and carbon reduction projects in line with our net zero route map and Scottish Government targets to reduce waste and increase recycling to 70% by 2025. We’re currently recycling 63% of our 102 tonnes of annual total waste.
  • Set up an SWG3 Green Team populated with members across every department
    The green team has already held multiple meetings and have several projects lined up.
  • Undertook a sustainable travel survey
    We asked Ansons Consulting to help gather information on how, and why people currently get to and from the venue the ways they do, and help us map out a sustainable travel plan.
  • Made all our main suppliers aware of our sustainability targets
    And, asked if our journeys align – it's been great to see what many of our suppliers and partners have also been working on.
  • Offset our operational carbon emissions for the previous year
    We again offset our carbon by 110% with tree planting projects in Scotland.
  • Eliminate single use plastics
    This is a big one which we really had hoped to achieve this year. In looking at options to replace single use plastics we discovered the options available are limited and none come without their own set of challenges, with many only part fixing the problem. As a temporary measure, we have switched all our disposable products to rPET, a material made of at least 80% recycled plastic which is also fully recyclable until we find the right solution.

Our Aims

  • Finally remove single use plastics from events, once and for all.
  • 'Fine tune' BODYHEAT to achieve maximum efficiency.
  • Install a Building Management System (BMS) in the venue to give maximum sight and control of energy usage.
  • Look to build a digital twin of the venue, allowing a stronger forecasting and proactive energy management.
  • Establish a centralised waste and resource area on site for all businesses operating out of our campus.
  • Develop a toolkit to align suppliers and partners with SWG3 vision.
  • Use the findings of the sustainable travel survey to actively encourage greener travel methods.
  • Keep you updated with our yearly sustainability report.
  • 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.