Creative Green Award Winners 2020

Artists and faith groups protest BP sponsorship of the Arts in the British Museum. People holding black umbrellas arranged in a formation to spell the word 'No'

Thank you to everyone who joined us in celebrating creative climate action at the Creative Green Awards ceremony 2020! Alongside a compelling keynote delivered by Gillian Burke, presenter of the BBC’s Springwatch, we were treated to a thought-provoking creative intervention by Metis and moving performances by Kirk-Ann Roberts and Love Ssega. The awards marked the end of Season for Ex-Change, as well as the start of London Climate Action Week 2020.

Huge congratulations to all our winners!

Outstanding Achievement Award:

WINNER: The Unicorn Theatre

The Outstanding Achievement Award recognises Creative Green organisations who have done achieved an exceptional 5* in their Assessments for the first time this year.

Congratulations also to the shortlist:

Donmar Warehouse – Norwich Theatre Royal – The Royal Court Theatre

The Unicorn, nominated for 3 awards – declared a climate emergency in 2019 and joined a group of committed climate activists at the frontier of culture. Part of the London Theatre Consortium, these exceptional theatres are discovering what it takes to meet the climate challenge through combining reductions with new ways of working. The Unicorn is part of the Accelerator and Spotlight programmes, both pioneering Julie’s Bicycle and Arts Council projects to explore what decarbonisation and leadership look like.

Best Newcomer Award:


The Best Newcomer award recognises organisations who completed their first Creative Green assessment this year and are already displaying an exceptional commitment to sustainability.

Congratulations also to the shortlist:

Chichester Festival Theatre – Depot Cinema – Watts Gallery Trust – The Marlowe

Just last year The BRIT School committed to its very first Environmental Policy and Action Plan, aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals. Led by enthusiastic and smart students inspired and energised by the likes of Fridays for Future and the student strikes, The BRIT School launched the ‘BRIT Goes Green’ campaign, getting to grips with waste and recycling, ethical procurement, and using its perhaps unique capacity to support young people with creative climate projects and outreach.

Highest Achievement for Commitment:

WINNER: Depot Cinema

The Highest Achievement for Commitment Award recognises Creative Green organisations who have displayed exceptional commitment to sustainability, from their environmental policies, procedures and responsibilities to communications and engagement.

Congratulations also to the shortlist:

The Lyric Hammersmith – Sadler’s Wells – Onassis Cultural Centre – Almeida Theatre

Depot have been nominated for two awards in their first year of joining the Creative Green community – quite an achievement. Commitment to sustainability was there from the design and laying of the first brick to the people and activities that it nourishes. Using the Sustainable Development Goals as their guiding principles, they have applied ethics across their work – they represent how organisations can map across to the bigger picture in everything they do.

Highest Achievement for Understanding:

WINNER: Lyric Theatre Hammersmith

The Highest Achievement for Understanding Award recognises Creative Green organisations or who have displayed an exceptional understanding of their environmental impacts, from monitoring and analysis into key areas of environmental impacts to stakeholders.

Congratulations also to the shortlist:

Unicorn Theatre – Norwich Theatre Royal – Sadler’s Wells – The Gate Theatre

An inspirational veteran in climate action, and previous multiple-award winner, Lyric Hammersmith deserve their place again in 2020’s awards. With obstinate consistency they go behind the scenes and gather the data, pull it apart to translate into not just the long game of managing their impacts on the planet, but also into the community that the Lyric represents – the team that makes it all work at every level, including artists and audiences, suppliers and contractors. Lyric, like other winners, are part of the Spotlight Programme, going even further to ground their commitments in science-based targets to contribute to a decarbonised cultural sector.

Highest Achievement for Improvement (sponsored by Good Energy):

WINNER: Soho Theatre

The Highest Achievement for Improvement award recognises Creative Green organisations who have made the greatest improvements this year for reducing energy, emissions, water and waste impacts.

Congratulations also to the shortlist:

Unicorn Theatre – Chichester Festival Theatre – Donmar Warehouse – Royal Court Theatre

Here is an impressive and startling fact: Soho Theatre has reduced energy use per performance by 64%, and emissions per performance by an impressive 76%. After 10 years of determined commitment to understanding and acting on their impacts Soho have worked to monitor and reduce its environmental impact and reduced their overall emissions across all impacts by 36%.

Pioneer Innovation Award:

Tate Galleries

The Creative Green Pioneer Award celebrates some of the most outstanding cultural organisations in the country. These pioneering arts organisations have been doing trailblazing work combining practical actions with inspirational ideas unique in the sector.

Just over a year ago, Tate declared a climate emergency, and publicly committed to reduce its carbon footprint by 10% by 2023. The moment when Tate stood up and joined the growing community of cultural declarers calling for change had repercussions across the art world. One of our most iconic and international art institutions firmly putting climate on the agenda of the art establishment. Tate partnered with Julie’s Bicycle to develop a comprehensive assessment of their impacts, the scope of which was much more ambitious than most, scopes 1,2 and 3 emissions – almost unknown in an organisation of Tate’s size, complexity, and reach. This truly is the change we need to see, a combination of climate action, public commitment and accountability and ongoing commissioning and public engagement.

Best Campaign Award:

The Campaign to end Oil Sponsorship, Art Not Oil Coalition

This award recognises the Best Campaign that successfully inspired and galvanised people to take creative climate action.

Congratulations also to the shortlist:

Y-East & Artsforward for #MyTreebute – Culture Declares Emergency for Letters to the Earth – Nevis Ensemble for Green Nevis – Festival Republic for Zero Waste Festival Goer

For over a decade, this loose coalition of organisations and artists have campaigned collectively to end the oil sponsorship of cultural institutions in the UK, aiming to undermine the social legitimacy that firms such as BP and Shell seek from these partnerships. In 2019-20, this creative opposition to Big Oil’s partnerships with cultural organisations yielded big results: it ended long-running and high-profile sponsorship deals, instigated an urgent conversation about the acceptability of fossil fuel funding, and shifted opinion – and money – across culture. As Margaret Mead puts it: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Best Creative Programming Award:

Singing With Nightingales 2020: Live at Home, The Nest Collective

This award recognises the Best Creative Programming that has inspired people to think about climate and environmental issues in a new and creative way.

Congratulations also to the shortlist:

FoAM Kernow for Sonik Kayaks – Metal for Picton Poets – The Nest Collective for Singing with Nightingales 2020: Live at Home – Royal Exchange Theatre for the Den & Local Exchange – Amy Jackson Studio for Little Voices

If ever there was a moment during the early days of lock down where we needed to gather in community and connection to nature it must be the early days of spring. For Singing with Nightingales 2020: Live at Home, The Nest Collective’s annual series of woodland concerts led by folk musician and environmental campaigner Sam lee, was transformed. This year the Nest Collective gave us 10 digital woodland concerts, where 50,000 people from all over the world gathered together to hear the live nightingale singing in the Sussex countryside, interwoven with the woodland, with artists contributions from artists such as Johnny Flynn, Lemn Sissay, Isobel Waller-Bridge, Robert Macfarlane, Abel Selacoe and the Pet Shop Boys.

Creative Green Champions Awards:

These awards recognise individuals who have been leading and inspiring change from within their organisations and beyond, engaging colleagues and the wider community to take creative climate action.

Andy Land, Service manager at Focusrite, who has been working tirelessly to build the business case for sustainability at Focusrite, developing their environmental strategy, action plan and approach to procurement.

Ray Oudkerk Assistant Principal at The BRIT School, has been instrumental in kick starting The BRIT’s work on sustainability this year, working with staff and students to develop the school’s first environmental policy and launch the ‘BRIT Goes Green’ campaign.

Lucy Davies, Chair of the London Theatre Consortium and a Creative Climate Leader, Lucy has held a key leadership and advocacy role around sustainability within the Royal Court Theatre and the wider community.

Helen Harland, co-Event Manager for Manchester Day, is the lead for Sustainability within the Manchester City Council Events Team, coordinating the Sustainable Events Working Group and supporting Manchester’s Zero Carbon Framework 2020-2038.

Peter Quicke, As Managing Director of independent label Ninja Tune, chair of the Association of Independent Music and co-founder of Music Declares Emergency, Peter has been working for years to drive the recorded music industry’s response to the climate emergency – this award recognises both his tireless efforts and those of the wider AIM Climate Action Group champions.

Photograph: 13/09/2015 – British Museum, London: Art Not Oil, a coalition of various artist, acting and music organisation, staged multiple protests in the Great Hall and exhibition rooms of the British Museum, whilst protest also took place in the Tate Modern. The coalition is protesting against corporate oil sponsorship of the arts in Britain and includes Liberate Tate, BP Out of Opera, Shell Out Sounds. Photo by Anna Branthwaite