Sustainability Strategy

Green Space Dark Skies was intrinsically rooted in nature, celebrating our landscapes and the life within them

Mission and Guiding Principles

Environmental Mission Statement

The Green Space Dark Skies project placed environmental sustainability at the heart of its design and delivery; highlighted the value of the natural environment as a core purpose and delivered significant measurable positive impact. Green Space Dark Skies will be a carbon net-positive project, combining exemplar low-emissions production with climate investments.

Guiding principles

  • Leave No Trace: We have a shared responsibility for protecting natural environment, biodiversity and climate: We will ‘walk lightly on the land’ in all of our activity, leaving no trace of our time there.
  • Beyond carbon neutral: The project will be an exemplar low carbon production, be carbon net positive and invest in nature and climate
  • Circular Economy: We will have a zero waste policy, use minimum resources from sustainable sources, plan for re-use and repurposing of materials, and innovate in our practice and technology
  • Inspire: We will highlight the beauty, value and diversity of species that our landscapes provide a home to, and tell our sustainability story.
  • Transparency: We will measure and report on all our impacts, positive and negative.

How we will achieve this

Vision & planning

We set a clear vision and systems for the project, that provided everyone with a common goal to strive towards and a clear framework to work within, that includes:

  • We worked with key stakeholders – our project partners, creative advisors, producers and production team – early in the process, to consolidate the vision, strategy and policies that will inform systems and practice.
  • The viability of locations and our plans at each site was developed in consultation with the expert advice of our partners at National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
  • We created clear documents that communicated the project standards and practice to internal staff and contractors:
    – Procurement Policy
    – Project Sustainability Handbook
    – Production Managers Checklist
    – Monitoring, Reporting and Evaluation Plan

Identifying, managing, measuring and reporting impacts.

Green Space Dark Skies was a series of 20 participatory art events which will take place in landscapes across the UK. The finale of the project was a broadcast film available to view on BBC Countryfile and online. Thousands of people participated in the project.

Activities and impacts:

  • Travel and transport: site visits, event production, participants – the dominant impact estimated at around 65 tonnes over project  (Reference: GSDS Travel Carbon Emissions Assessment)
  • Production resources: office stationery, consumables (e.g. tapes, cable ties, pens), water, toilets, power, steel, timber etc.
  • Manufacturing processes associated with the tech (beyond scope for measurement and reporting – focus on innovation narrative)
  • Landscape damage: erosion, littering (matter out of place), ground disturbance
  • Light pollution: We presented temporary lighting interventions in the landscape. The lights were used for a short period of time at dusk. The planning for the project from the earliest stages has benefitted from the input of National Park officers involved in International Dark Skies accreditations. Our technology partner Siemens who designed the lights, worked to technical guidelines and specifications supplied by the National Parks UK Dark Skies lead.
  • Digital footprint – cloud storage, online meetings, broadcast (reference WTP Digital Footprint Guide)
  • Communications materials – branding, printed materials, banners, scrim, etc

We determined ambitious and achievable SMART targets (Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Timely) for sustainability at the outset, and focused on key targets that related to all impacts of the project:

  • Headline target: Carbon net positive (scopes 1 and 2).
  • Travel: Majority shared travel target for participants (more than 80%), accurately measure travel impact across the project,  number of participants downloaded ecolibrium Travel App.
  • Energy: 100% renewable energy across the project (WTP offices and production locations)
  • Resource use: Zero Waste Policy – no disposable/single use throughout the project, and follow the waste hierarchy.
  • 1 x nature focussed investment or project in each region (with existing partners where possible)
  • 50%+ of the participants positively impacted by the experience in relation to nature and environment*
  • Supply chain: 100% of contractors meet the WTP minimum standards set out in the Procurement Policy.

*As set out in the Feasibility Study. See the GSDS Measurement Reporting and Evaluation Plan for more detail on this and other targets.


We had clear responsibility and accountability for delivering our sustainability goals and targets in the roles and structure:

Diagram of the Green Space Dark Skies sustainability action team structure, led by the Walk the Plank Head of Production

We trained all employees and core project team members to ensure good understanding and competence by putting in place:

  • Carbon Literacy Project approved training (employees, Operations Manager, Producers)
  • Production Sustainability Handbook
  • Sustainability was a standing agenda item for the project’s Production Team meetings, members of which also made up the Sustainability Action Team (SAT) – see Management tree above.


The Comms team set SMART objectives and targets for sustainability in relation to marketing and communications, as part of the wider Green Space Dark Skies Strategy and worked closely with the Sustainability Manager to plan and deliver accordingly.

Internal communications reinforced messaging about the integral nature and importance of the success of our Sustainability Strategy through actions:

  • Marketing Manager was an active member of the Green Space Dark Skies project SAT.
  • Core marketing and communications team received carbon literacy training.
  • Shared the vision and plans with all team members early in planning, and as part of briefings and job descriptions.
  • Provided team updates to reinforce and celebrate milestones throughout the project.

External communications supported a culture of awareness amongst all stakeholders about the project vision, strategy and requirements. Communicating the sustainability principles and actions was built into public-facing comms to Lumenators, volunteers, partners, groups engaged through the Learning & Engagement programme and the media.

The comms team worked with the Sustainability Manager to identify data capture requirements in order to measure the carbon impact of marketing and communications activity to achieve the net positive aim including digital marketing activity, e.g. website, e-newsletters, social media.

Supply Chain Management

We worked with innovative partners and had measures in place to maintain environmental standards across the supply chain:

  • Shared our project vision to inspire stakeholders to join our culture of commitment to sustainability and innovation
  • Minimum standards set out in the Procurement Policy
  • Monitoring for all suppliers – we supplied them with the tools and systems to provide information to integrate with our impact reporting
  • Terms and Conditions – contractual obligations relating to our procurement policy and monitoring requirements.

Assessment and Reporting

We had effective systems in place to measure and report that enabled the project to transparently report and communicate impacts:

  • The Monitoring Reporting and Evaluation Plan provided an overview and the systems to collect and manage data.
  • We used the Creative Industry Green Tool to report emissions
  • The project will be carbon net positive. We avoided emissions wherever possible, and balanced unavoidable emissions – and more than the project was responsible for – by investing in certified carbon mitigation (e.g. tree planting) in the UK.

We will produce an Impact Report that both satisfies contractual obligations, and is public-facing/ shared with all stakeholders. It will include emissions reporting, an evaluation of project aims, and a celebration of achievements.

Recap of Key Documents & Tools

  • Sustainability Strategy – overview of aims, approach and delivery
  • Procurement Policy – guides purchasing across project(s)
  • Monitoring Evaluation and Reporting Plan – what to measure and how, including assets (e.g. spreadsheet for data recording)
  • Production Sustainability Handbook – what, why and how for Production Managers
  • Production Manager Checklist