The V&A museum has announced a sustainability plan with Net Zero target for 2035

The V&A museum has announced a range of commitments that will reduce the negative environmental impact of how it delivers its programmes and operates its buildings. 

The action plan focuses on understanding influences across the whole organisation and beyond, centred around ‘Place’, People’ and ‘Programme’, outlining an approach to embedding sustainability within operations. 

Progress will be regularly assessed through monitoring by the executive board and trustees, with results published annually. 

Developed through extensive consultation by the V&A’s first dedicated Sustainability Lead, Sara Kassam, the headline commitments are:  

  • Reduce the negative environmental impact of the V&A’s operations and estate, with a new target to be net zero by 2035.  
  • Embed sustainable decision making and practices across all aspects of museum activity, working closely with V&A staff, partners and sector, to share knowledge and skills. 
  • Engage audiences directly with issues of planetary limits and climate justice, through learning activities and public programmes including exhibitions, to help stimulate agency, action and debate. 

Actions on energy, water and materials, as well as procurement, climate resilience, biodiversity and air quality form a central part of the plans. Examples include the creation of a new low carbon travel policy encompassing object transport, business travel and employee commuting, to reduce the V&A’s travel carbon footprint by 30% by 2022, as well as operational building performance targets for all construction projects. 

Maintaining a zero operational waste to landfill policy is also included, alongside plans to significantly lower disposed waste for exhibitions and projects.

Sara Kassam, V&A Sustainability Lead, said: “The V&A was founded in a time of optimistic belief in the power of industry, a seminal point in history which we now know has had devastating consequences for our planet. At this critical moment in the climate and biodiversity crisis, it is absolutely the responsibility of the V&A, in collaboration with others, to demonstrate the incredible potential of art and science to build a sustainable future for all. Our research and commitments have been led by the words of William Morris who once wisely said, ‘we are only the trustees for those who come after us.”

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