See below for definitions of some of the words and terms used throughout the Theatre Green Book.


Afterlife Everything that happens with a material after its lifespan: biodegrade, recycle, reuse etc.
Biodegradable Able to decay and be decomposed through natural processes.  Ensure that materials labelled biodegradable actually can be broken down in your waste management companies processes as some composting facilities cannot handle specific materials even though they are biodegradable.  Also be aware that some biodegradable materials such as biodegradable balloons can take many years to break down and cause a pollution issue while doing so.
Biodiversity Refers to the full range of life forms on earth, their species, genetic and ecological differences.
Biomass Is material of biological origin excluding material embedded in geological and/or fossilized formations.
Bioplastic Plastic derived from biological substances as opposed to petroleum.  This does not automatically make these materials biodegradable.
BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology) A science-based suite of validation and certification systems, focused on promoting sustainability in the built environment.
Brundtland Report, Our Common Future A 1987 United Nations report that suggested that sustainable development was the solution to the problem of environmental degradation: namely, that human activity was having severe and negative impacts on the planet, and that patterns of growth and development would be unsustainable if they continued unchecked.
Brundtland Report, Our Common Future A 1987 United Nations report that suggested that sustainable development was the solution to the problem of environmental degradation: namely, that human activity was having severe and negative impacts on the planet, and that patterns of growth and development would be unsustainable if they continued unchecked.
Carbon Budget Setting targets for emissions reductions or the maximum about of carbon a project/organisation can use within a set timeframe
Carbon Dioxide Detector These measure the amount of carbon dioxide gas in the air. They are often also called CO2 sensor, CO2 monitor. They are used to understand air quality, the lower the carbon dioxide / CO2 level the higher the air quality. They can be used internally and externally. They can be handheld portable versions or permanent installation. Permanent installations can be linked to the BMS system to raise an alarm if the air quality gets to low, or to automatically increase the fresh air rate via the ventilation system.
Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (CO2e) This unit of measurement expresses the warming power of each greenhouse gas as compared to carbon dioxide. Used to measure carbon footprints with a single value even though the footprint contains the effects of multiple greenhouse gases.
Carbon Emissions CO2 or other greenhouse gases emitted by a process, (See Scope 1,2, and 3 Emissions)
Carbon Footprint A carbon footprint is one element of the ecological footprint model, and is a measurement of the total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly or indirectly support an activity, product, person, country, venue etc. Usually expressed in carbon dioxide equivalency but encompassing all greenhouse gases.
Carbon Literacy Training Accredited training raising awareness of the impact of the climate crisis, and where changes can be made to mitigate or adapt.
Carbon neutral Emissions from activities are reduced as far as possible, and the remainder that cannot be removed are offset. The term is widely misused and often used to imply all emissions are offset with little management or credibility. Net Zero Carbon (see below) is a better term to use.
Carbon Sink An area that actively draws carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and returns it to the earth, includes peat bogs, forests, oceans, lakes etc
Circular Economy Resources are extracted and then re-used many times over, reducing the number of resources which must be initially extracted and the amount of waste that is created. This refers to a closed loop system and the term might be applied to a material, an economy or a design process.  Circular practices induce reuse, sharing, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling.
Clean Energy Energy that is generated without the creation of CO2, but may have other harmful effects. Usually refers to nuclear.
Climate Care The consideration of not only global warming, but also environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, chemical imbalances, pollution, water resources, and environmental justice.
Climate Change Adaptation The adjustments in ecological, social or economic systems to limit the negative impacts of climate change. Essentially, climate change mitigation is preventative, adaptation is reactive.
Climate Dramaturgy All the relationships within and between the theatre work and every aspect of its context are explored in relationship to the wider context of the climate crises. Climate dramaturgy asks challenging questions in relation to environmental responsibility, to sharpen ideas and invite artistic ingenuity.
Climate Justice/Environmental Justice/Environmentally Just Protecting the natural environment in ways that don’t cause harm to people, in particular disenfranchised groups, and being mindful that some people are affected more by the effects of climate change than others. It also means not prioritising environmental care in relation to nature, over care for people.
Climate Resilience The ability to prepare for, anticipate and respond to dangerous events or disturbances related to the effects of climate change. E.g., resilient buildings built to withstand flooding and overheating.
Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) A wood product composed of multiple layers of structural grade lumber arranged in a crosswise manner and bonded together through glue.
DEC Display Energy Certificate – – Designed to show energy performance of public buildings in the UK, they use a scale of A to G with G being the least efficient buildings. All public buildings with a total floor area over 250square metres are required to have one.
Decarbonisation The process of moving towards zero carbon, net zero or carbon neutral, by reducing and removing CO2e emissions.
Design for Disassembly The design strategy for buildings to facilitate future changes and dismantlement (in part or whole) for recovery of systems, components and materials, thus ensuring the building can be recycled as efficiently as possible at the end of its lifespan.
Digital Footprint The carbon footprint of the use of digital technologies including computers, smart phones, servers, websites, internet traffic, emails and messaging etc.
E-Waste Waste created by the disposal of electronic equipment such as smart phones, computers, monitors, anything with a circuit board. E waste contains many valuable resources including cobalt, copper, gold, but must be recycled very carefully otherwise the process of extracting these resources can be damaging to human health and the environment.
Ecosystem A community or group of living organisms which not only co-exist but interact with each other to create a functioning system of supports and balances.
Ecological Footprint A measurement of impact of which a carbon footprint is one element. The other four areas included are water footprint, waste footprint, land use for work, land use for habitation. 
Embodied Carbon The total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated to produce a product, system or building. This includes emissions caused by extraction, manufacture/processing, transportation and assembly of every product and element in the asset.
Upfront Embodied Carbon The Greenhouse gas emissions emitted in the manufacture and construction of a built asset up to the day of completion. Often equivalent to many years of operational carbon emissions.
Embodied Energy The energy consumed throughout a product’s lifetime, including the resource use, energy use to manufacture, energy use to transport, and the end-of-life management of waste.
Energy Use Intensity (EUI) The energy used on the operation and use of a building in KWh/m2 (see also operational carbon emissions)
The Environmental Agency UK (EA)

The statutory authority/regulator helps people and wildlife adapt to climate change and reduce its impacts, including flooding, drought, sea level rise and coastal erosion. We improve the quality of our water, land and air by tackling pollution.

We work with businesses to help them comply with environmental regulations.

Environmental Aspect Assessment

Is a tool within EMS and a way of identifying and prioritising the management of environmental risk. It is a requirement of organisations operating an EMS. Organisations are required to determine the environmental aspects of its

activities, products and services that it can control and those that it can influence, and their associated environmental impacts, considering a life cycle perspective.

Environmental harm A negative impact on the natural world through a decision, choice or material use, either through a contribution to fossil fuel production or damage in another way such as single use plastics
Environmental Impact The impact of a decision, choice, material etc on the natural world, whether that is the local environment or elsewhere in the world.
Environmental Management System (EMS) An EMS is the system by which a company controls the activities, products and processes that cause, or could cause environmental impacts and in doing so minimises the environmental impacts of its operations. ISO (please see description) 14001 is an internationally recognised EMS standard which provides organisations with a framework to protect the environment and respond to changing environmental conditions in balance with socio-economic needs. It specifies requirements that enable an organisation to achieve the intended outcomes that it sets for its EMS.
Environmental Product Declaration A document which transparently communicates the environmental performance or impact of any product or material over its lifetime.
Fair Trade Ensuring that people involved throughout the supply chain receive a fair wage and are working under safe and good conditions.
Fossil Fuel Divestment Is when an organisation or individual moves their money away from businesses involved in the extraction, production, transportation, refining and marketing of fossil fuels.
FSC Forestry Stewardship Council, a certification system for timber products that validates the products chain of custody and production from sustainably managed forests.
Globalisation Is the process by which technological, communications and political changes have intensified the worldwide exchange of money, goods, people and culture.
Global Warming Is the process by which the average surface temperature on the Earth increases. This is caused primarily by an increase in the amount of GHG in our atmosphere. Global temperatures increased by 0.85 degrees between 1880 and 2010.
Green Building Council Is a member-driven industry network dedicated to significantly transforming the sustainability of the built environment.
Green Energy Energy that is generated from renewable sources with few harmful effects on the environment. Usually refers to wind, solar and tidal energy.
Greenhouse gases Gases which when released into the atmosphere are able to hold heat from both solar radiation and re-emitted heat from the earth. The greenhouse gases which make up a carbon footprint are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, CFC’s, F-gases, and Sulphur Hexafluoride.
Greenwash The act of spending time, energy or money to make your products or services sound less environmentally impactful than they in fact are. There are different forms of greenwashing including greenlighting (highlighting a particularly green feature to draw attention from harmful practices), green rinsing (continually changing ESG targets and policies without reporting on the previous targets), green crowding (identifying with other companies in the industry who are taking action, without actually changing behaviour).
Global warming potential (GWP) Is an index to measure of how much infrared thermal radiation a greenhouse gas would absorb over a given time frame after it has been added to the atmosphere (or emitted to the atmosphere). The GWP makes different greenhouse gases comparable with regards to their “effectiveness in causing radiative forcing“.
Heat Pumps (Air Source and Ground Source) Alternative heating and cooling plant utilising fresh air or reduced temperatures to the ground. Heat pumps can be used to replace gas boilers and small-scale chiller installations.
Impact Assessment Is an environment and sustainability discipline that ensures environmental and social issues influence the decision processes that lead to the adoption of public policies and plans, and the consenting of public and private development projects.
Initial Environmental Review (IER) Is a useful precursor to developing an EMS. It is not an EMS requirement but is usually conducted in some format in order to gather information about an organisation.
ISO ISO is the International Organization for Standardization, a worldwide federation of national standards bodies. ISO comprises representatives from various national standards organisations who write the standards.
Just Transition Involves transitioning to a more sustainable and regenerative economy through comprehensive and equitable approaches that benefit everyone while fostering significant advantages for the green economy.

(The) Kyoto Protocol

Is an international treaty which extended the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that commits state parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, based on the scientific consensus that global warming is occurring and that human-made CO2 emissions are driving it.
LED Lighting Light emitting diodes are used as an alternative to traditional lamps. They use a fraction of the electrical energy and can last up to 10x longer. These are now a viable alternative to all lighting needs; general, emergency and performance
Linear Economy A system of extracting resources, using them up and then throwing them away. 
Local The final definition of this will vary in each case.  Agree within your team how you will assess this taking into consideration public transport options, infrastructure and sourcing opportunities in your area, and available storage sites. 
Market-based instruments

(Also referred to as ‘economic’ instruments) use economic variables to incentivise companies to improve their sustainability.  

Material Passports Datasets that compile the characteristics of materials and assemblies empower suppliers, designers, and users to maximize their value and steer them collectively towards material loops.
Mega-trends Relate to a wide variety of large-scale environmental, social and economic changes, varying across the globe. Trends such as climate change, population change, terrorism, big data, immigration, etc. affect all of society; however, some trends are directly related to the status of economic development such as big data and cybersecurity.
Nature Based Solutions Cost-effective solutions inspired and supported by nature that offer simultaneous benefits to the environment, society, and the economy, contributing to the development of resilience.
Net Zero Emissions from activities are reduced as far as possible, and the remainder that cannot be removed are offset specifically by investing in carbon sequestration such as CCS, and restoration of peat bogs and other natural carbon sinks. There is no universal definition of Net-Zero, and the term is widely misused, however a new UK standard for buildings is currently under development (Net Zero Carbon Building Standard)
Offset The use of financial payments to invest in projects which prevent future carbon emissions, or which result in carbon capture, thereby ‘offsetting’ the carbon emissions created by an activity or organisation.
Operational Carbon Emissions The greenhouse gases emitted during the operation and use of a building, often expressed as per M2 of floor area
(The) Paris Agreement Stands as a legally binding international treaty addressing climate change. Adopted by 196 Parties during COP 21 in Paris on December 12, 2015, it came into force on November 4, 2016.
PEFC Stands as a legally binding international treaty addressing climate change. Adopted by 196 Parties during COP 21 in Paris on December 12, 2015, it came into force on November 4, 2016.
Photovoltaics (PVs) Converts solar energy to electrical energy. They require daylight to work, so are a potential daytime solution, depending on the energy usage profile of the building. Battery installations can be used to store energy for non-daylight use.
Plant equipment and machinery used to power, heat and cool a building.
Plant-based Derived entirely or predominantly of plants
Polluter Pays Principle The Polluter Pays Principle (PPP) was originally developed in 1972 and subsequently adopted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as “an economic principle for allocating the cost of pollution control”. The overriding purpose of the principle is to make those who create pollution responsible for any environmental damage. For example, where pollution is caused as a result of waste being sent from a manufacturing facility to landfill, the polluter should pay.
Post-consumer Recycled Content Material that has been used by a consumer and then returned and recycled, for example a plastic bottle which has been used and then turned into a recycled bag. Material such as reconstituted foam where waste cut offs have been gathered from a factory process and used to create another product would not be post-consumer as it has never left the factory floor.
Race to Zero A worldwide campaign aimed at mobilising leadership and garnering support from businesses, cities, regions, and investors to achieve a healthy, resilient, zero-carbon recovery. The initiative seeks to mitigate future threats, generate quality employment opportunities, and unlock inclusive, sustainable growth
Reduce Minimising the amount of resource required by questioning the need, designing out the need, or removing the need.
Recycle Materials are changed to a different material flow – for instance wood pulped down and turned into napkins, loo roll. Often called down-cycling, recycling requires a huge amount of energy and water to achieve, and the resulting material is usually less robust than the original source material. For these reasons reuse should be prioritised over recycling.
Regenerative A material that is sustainable, and also goes beyond that label to actually restore, renew or revitalise the ecosystem 
Renewable Energy Energy that is generated from renewable sources (a renewable source renews within a human lifetime) but may have other harmful effects. For example, burning wood for energy.
Reuse Materials are repurposed but remain in the same material flow – for instance a piece of wood may be part of a set of treads, then becomes the seat of a chair, then become a shelf – but it is still a piece of wood. Prioritise reuse over recycling as it requires less energy and water to achieve and does not downgrade the original material as recycling does.
Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions: (Greenhouse Gas Protocol) Emissions Scopes Carbon emissions from an organisation or business are categorised into Scopes 1, 2 and 3. Scope 1 includes the powering of buildings and vehicles within the reporter’s direct control. Scope 2 refers to the indirect emissions that result from the use of grid supplied electricity. Scope 3 is the manufacturing, transport and waste management of all materials the reporter uses, the movement of people for instance audiences, crew, staff, and the impact of activities such as banking, investment, end of life of things the reporter is selling.
Single-use Plastic Designed for a short-term use such as plastic bags, water bottles. Using a long-term product, in terms of its durability, for a short-term use.
Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Is a tool used across the globe and is particularly a requirement across the EU. The tool is used by policymakers and planners to assess the environmental impacts of strategic plans and programmes.
Sustainable Meeting the needs of the present while not compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Includes considerations of equity and fairness, operating within the limits of the world’s eco-systems, having a long term and multi-generational view, understanding and balancing the connections between economy, society and the environment.
Sustainable Procurement Ensures we obtain the best value for money when purchasing the most sustainable goods and services, from the most sustainable suppliers, in support of our organisation or projects stated purpose and goals.
The Three Pillars of Sustainability/Triple Bottom Line Sustainability’s three main pillars represent environmental concerns, socially responsible practices, and economic cooperation. These three pillars are also informally referred to as people, planet, purpose, and profits. It’s useful to understand the terms sometimes used in place of the three pillars
Thermal Panels Or solar thermal panels, are mounted on a buildings roof and use solar energy to produce hot water without the need for gas boilers or electrical water heaters. Depending on usage, these can in some cases can meet all hot water needs. However, they are often used to reduce the size and operational hours of conventional hot water systems
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 17 goals which went into effect in 2016, calling on nations to end poverty in all forms by promoting individual wellbeing while protecting the planet.


Is the increase in the proportion of people living in towns and cities. Urbanisation occurs because people move from rural areas (countryside) to urban areas (towns and cities). This usually occurs when a country is still developing.
Vampire or Phantom Energy The power drawn by AC/DC adaptors and electronic devices when in standby mode. This is commonly experienced with TV and AV equipment, computers and mobile phone chargers. When you switch a TV off, if there is still a red LED illuminated it is still using energy. Although individually small, with the amount of electronic equipment found in a theatre this can add up over time.
Waste Hierarchy The waste hierarchy outlines the order of priority for waste management options, highlighting the worst (disposal) and best favourable (prevention) environmental option.
Water Footprint The water used to create, grow, transport, manufacture a product or service. Blue water is the amount of ocean, lake or groundwater used. Green water is the amount of rainwater used. Grey water is the amount of water required for filtering or cleaning the environment after a process. Grey water is also used to refer to water that can be reused for non-potable purposes for example handwashing water being used to then flush a toilet.
(WEEE) Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) is regulated to reduce the amount of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) incinerated or sent to landfill sites. Reduction is achieved through various measures which encourage the recovery, reuse and recycling of products and components. The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2013 (as amended) is the underpinning UK legislation.
Whole Life Carbon The complete greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and removals associated with a product throughout its entire life cycle, including the embodied, operational, and disposal phases.
(Absolute) Zero Carbon Causing or resulting in no net release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and without the use of offsets