Sustainability Committee

Sustainability Committee

Published: February 17, 2022

Open meeting for students and staff

8 February 2022

This was an open meeting where the members of the Sustainability Committee were joined by RCS students and staff. Dr Laura Bissell (Co-Chair) opened the meeting, welcomed everyone and thanked them for engaging in the development of key agenda points for the committee.

She noted that she had recently become co-chair and was keen to continue the conversations about climate crisis that had been such a big part of the RCS COP26 activity.

Dr Bissell shared the People and Planet University League Table and mentioned that we are considering the methodology of this as part of developing a Sustainability policy for RCS. 

Dr Bissell explained the format of the meeting, that members would work in breakout rooms exploring the key themes of the working groups then come back to the main meeting to share thoughts and ideas. 

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey (Chair) provided an overview of the activity of the Sustainability Committee since its inception and noted areas of development in relation to estates and good practice in Production using the Theatre Green Book.

He outlined the new Sustainability Prize which would be launched later this year and also noted the current Whittaker Library seed project. The committee is investigating more options for outdoor growing space and is keen to gauge interest from students and staff.

The Sustainability Committee working group themes (Production, Academic, Student-led working group, Marketing/Recruitment, Ethics, Artistic Output, Estates, Information Services, Sustainability Policy creation) were shared in the chat and each group was given twenty minutes to discuss.

When the groups returned to the main space, there was a conversation about the visibility of the work of the committee and making sure that as well as longer-term projects concerning estates, there is a sense of the tangible progress within the cycle of student experience at the RCS.

Those present felt that there was a shared desire to develop a culture of sustainability at RCS and to bring these conversations to the fore. One of the breakout rooms discussed how the RCS’s desire to be international can be considerate of climate sustainability.

Green Space at RCS

The discussion of developing gardens/growing spaces at RCS was enthusiastic and some people thought that this might draw in the local community. One group suggested a living wall and the possibility of this being placed externally or internally. Some felt that this would also contribute to staff and student wellbeing by having more green spaces in and around the building. 

Resources and RCS Activity

One group suggested that RCS replace paper scores with tablets and that more research could be done on if this would be a sustainable choice.

There was reference to many aspects of current RCS activity. For example, in Production and costume, there is a need for using all the fabric to avoid waste. Reset Scenery was discussed as an example of good practice and the committee informed the group that co-founder Simon Cook would be presenting at the next Sustainability Committee meeting.

Colleagues acknowledged that the library is the ultimate sustainable practice through reusable resources for all. There is a collaboration with Glasgow Seed Library and a role for the library in education and wellbeing.

RCS Artistic Planning follows the Scottish Classical Music Green Guide and RCS staff have signed/are also supporting this project.

Induction Week

One suggestion was that sessions could take place in Induction Week for new students to ensure that sustainability is highlighted as an important part of the RCS learning community. It was suggested that the Green Map of Glasgow could be embedded on the Portal and/or shared with new students.


There are challenges in heating and energy resources and while good progress has been made on this, many of these changes are long-term investments. 

Student Representation

It was noted that when seeking student representation from SoDDPF and SoM, this might be extended to students who do not fit under this structure, for example, PG Learning and Teaching students or Research students, many of whom are actively involved in this area. 

If anyone has further ideas or suggestions or if you are a student who would like to join the committee, please contact 

Library Resources

Library colleagues shared a full reading list for Climate Change and Arts in the Anthropocene

New publication in the library: Turn the Tide on Climate Anxiety: Sustainable Action for Your Mental Health and the Planet (Megan Kennedy-Woodard, Patrick Kennedy-Williams; foreword by Arizona Muse).  

For more information or to get involved, contact

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