Climate change and the threat to our planet is real.

At Birmingham Museums reducing the environmental impact of our activities and operating as sustainably as we can is a priority.

Our plan to be carbon neutral by 2040 is guided by three principles:

  1. We will use less.
  2. We will have a positive impact.
  3. We will inspire others to take collective action.

A word from Zak Mensah, Co-CEO, Birmingham Museums Trust:

“Everyone at Birmingham Museums Trust has a responsibility to devote as much passion and energy to protecting the environment as we do to preserving Birmingham’s collections and historic buildings.
“This is just the beginning for us as an organisation – let’s be bold and take collective action to tackle climate change.”

Our plan

We have four points in our plan, each of which will help us achieve our goal.

  1. Improve our buildings
    We will take clear, practical steps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the running of our museums.
  2. Change our ways of working
    We will rapidly reduce negative environmental impact from our operations.
  3. Work with others
    We will work with our communities, visitors and young people to encourage them to act and play their part.
  4. Lead by example
    Through our public programmes we will inspire and support our visitors to increase their own positive impact on the planet.

What’s involved in our four-point plan

Improve our buildings

Our first responsibility is to reduce the carbon emissions from our museums and historic properties, and this is where we can make the quickest impact. Several of our historic properties have gardens and are adjacent to green spaces, we will maximise their potential for nature and engaging people with green issues.

What we’ve done

  • 100% renewable electricity supply at all our sites.
  • Lighting improvements such as LEDs and passive infrared controls across some of our museums.
  • Toilets updated with water saving technology and devices.

What we’re going to do

  • Develop and test a plan for protecting, preserving and enhancing biodiversity in the gardens at our historic properties.
  • Continue to improve our energy efficiency and reduce our environmental impact through energy reduction, and better water and waste management.

Change our way of working

Achieving the goals of our climate pledge will require transformational change - we are scrutinising every aspect of how we operate across all our sites.

What we’ve done

  • Single use plastic removed from our food and beverage service.
  • Sustainably sourced and recyclable packaging used in all our shops.
  • Actively repurposing materials or using FSC® wood for displays and maintenance.

What we’re going to do

  • A new training programme will enable our workforce to become carbon literate
  • New displays will be ethically sustainable and have minimal impact on the environment.
  • Replace all old vehicles with energy efficient options that exceed Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone requirements.
  • Reduced the level of waste going to landfill by 20% by 2023.

Work with others

As we head towards net zero, we’re actively working together with our peers, partners and suppliers. This includes sharing our plans and solutions, taking advice and listening.

What we’ve done

  • Joined the Food For Life initiative with the aim of promoting healthy and sustainable sources of food in our cafes and food outlets.
  • Partnered with Too Good to Go to reduce food waste.
  • Joined a national programme, delivered by Julie’s Bicycle, which puts a spotlight on reducing the environmental impact of Arts Council England National Portfolio arts organisations.

What we’re going to do

  • A new fundraising strategy to make environmental initiatives a priority.
  • Seek suppliers that share our net zero ambitions.
  • Achieve Food for Life Certification
  • Be awarded Creative Green certification across all our sites by 2023

Lead by example

Through our public programmes we’ve begun to inspire and support our visitors to make choices to increase their positive impact on the environment.

What we’ve done

  • Engaged with local children, communities and young climate campaigners to inform our new climate gallery at Thinktank. Our Changing Planet looks at human impact on the planet.
  • Support environmental and natural science education for children and teaching staff through partnering with the Natural History Museum.

What we’re going to do

  • Inspire people in Birmingham to become environmental citizen scientists through our annual BioBlitz events – recording wildlife, plants and insects across the city.
  • Deliver the Operation Earth public engagement programme.
  • Deliver the Urban Nature project, enabling schools and communities to operate biodiversity activities in their own spaces by 2023.

Pledge date: 29 September 2021.

Get in touch

If you have questions or think you can help with some of the challenges we face then please get in touch.