The purpose of this policy is to outline Shape’s approach towards protecting the environment, as part of an overall sustainability strategy. It sets out:

  • Shape’s commitment to reduce the impact of our activities on the environment wherever possible; and
  • How we will translate this commitment into action.


Shape recognises that our day-to-day operations have an impact on the environment in a number of ways. Our policy is to minimise any adverse environmental effects caused as a result of our activities wherever and whenever possible.

Shape acknowledges that its programme might be more resource intensive than equivalent programmes with non-disabled beneficiaries.

Our aim is to ensure that all development is as sustainable as possible.


Shape moved to accessible, refurbished offices in Kentish Town in 2008.  The offices selected, which have good natural light, have enabled Shape to meet a number of environmental sustainability targets, as well as catering for the needs of disabled staff, visitors and clients. Examples include:

* Close proximity to public transport hubs, reducing the need for motor traffic, whilst at the same time offering accessible parking spaces for the people who require them.

* Auto lighting in shared building spaces, meaning that electricity is not used unless people activate sensors with their presence.

* Recycling collection point at the front of the building.

* Award-winning build specification, ensuring maximum insulation in the office suites.

Within the offices themselves, Shape invested in a number of recycling points, so as to collect as wide a range of waste items as possible, including: paper, card, plastics, IT equipment, copier toner and inks. As a charity, Shape received donations of computer screens and a few PCs, ensuring the continued use of valuable IT resources. Printer parts are re-used in machines which are failing. Environmentally-aware office management and staff participation has ensured that as many ‘green’ and recycled materials (especially stationery and cleaning equipment) as possible are sourced and used. There is a strong understanding of the importance of shutting off machines an appliances as soon as they are not in use, and staff are aware of the environmental as well as financial benefits of this policy. High-consuming appliances like water boilers have built-in ‘eco-settings’ to reduce power usage and Shape installed a mains-water fed water cooler in place of bottles to reduce plastic waste and transportation costs.

Shape has maintained the momentum of spreading environmental awareness by setting up a ‘Green Team’ in 2012, which meets regularly and is responsible for promoting new ideas, statistics and suggestions to stimulate staff participation and enhance their knowledge.

At the point of collecting our baseline figures for energy consumption via Julie’s Bicycle for Arts Council England, Shape is working pro-actively to promote environmental awareness throughout the organisation, the cost benefits of which are especially important, and welcome, at a time of widespread funding restrictions.    


1. Premises

Shape’s premises need to be fully accessible and this includes proximity to public transport, resources for cyclists, etc. Independent travel will be encouraged where appropriate.
Where accessible transport needs are apparent we will encourage car sharing to reduce environmental impact.
Our aim is to use energy as efficiently as possible and source it from an environmentally friendly source wherever possible.
All heating, cooling and ventilation systems will be maintained efficiently and operated in the most effective way.
All non-essential electrical appliances and supplies are switched off when not in use and/or at least at the end of each day – including computer screens when not in use.
We will purchase environmentally efficient equipment and machinery.
The most effective possible use of water will be adopted at all times.
Wherever possible, energy efficient light bulbs will be used in preference to the standard type fittings.
Contracted cleaning staff will be encouraged to use environmentally sound cleaning products.

2. Staff

All employees, contractors and volunteers will be encouraged to minimise, reduce, reuse and recycle the use, and therefore reduce / minimise the unnecessary wastage of all resources.
Employees and service user involvement in environmental matters will be encouraged and promoted initially through engagement with the development of this policy and practice.
Make use of email communication and electronic filing systems, minimising the use of paper wherever possible.
Introduce onto staff email signatures the message: ‘Please think of the environment before printing this email’
The use of bicycles or public transport will be encouraged.

3. Office Consumables

Recycling and the use of recycled materials will be promoted, whilst reducing consumption of materials wherever possible.
Waste paper will be recycled and, wherever possible, recycled paper will be used. Economical printing (eg double sided) encouraged across the organisation.
Where appropriate all photocopier and printer toner cartridges will be recycled.
Where possible we will use local suppliers and/or ‘green’ suppliers.

4. Marketing and Publications
Shape will prioritise the use of non-printed forms of communication. Wherever possible, information will be circulated by email or CD-ROM. However, this will never be allowed to conflict with the access needs of staff, partners, audiences or participants.
Wherever possible, recycled paper will be used for all printed flyers, brochures or publications.

5. Catering
Where possible we will purchase fair trade and/or organic products.
Where possible we will use local suppliers and/or ‘green’ suppliers.

If you have any questions regarding this policy or want to get in touch about green/ environmental matters, please email [email protected] or call 0207 424 7330