Environmental Sustainability

Our journey to becoming a more environmentally sustainable museum

Environmental Sustainability

North Yorkshire & East Riding Enterprise Partnership’s report, ‘Good Growth in Distinctive Places, Place Stories – York and its hinterlands’ recognises that York offers a unique opportunity to be the global lead on bio-economy innovation by translating this into real-world interventions that positively addresses sustainability and climate change. 

Our parent charity, York Archaeological Trust is committed to a carbon-neutral strategy which is noted in its environmental policy. Our policy states that we are concerned to preserve, protect and continually improve the environment for future generations by:

  • Integrating our sites into their urban and landscape environments;
  • Complying with or exceeding the requirements of environmental legislation;
  • Selecting materials and services from environmentally responsible suppliers;
  • Improving our material flow management and our storage practices in order to reduce their impact on the environment;
  • Training and making each staff member aware of his/her responsibilities regarding working methods and impact on the environment;
  • Favouring the re-use of materials before they enter the recycling process, and favouring recycling materials before they enter the refuse process;
  • Considering prevention as an essential theme in our thinking and in our actions, both internally and towards our clients;
  • Becoming a model in environmental matters for our clients and partners
  • Committing to and promoting sustainability through sound economic, social, environmental and equitable practices throughout our operations

This specific project is based on low or zero-carbon best practice, using innovative clean tech and supports growing skills and supply chains in support of Net Zero.

Our aims and objectives

We are committed, through our attractions, JORVIK Viking Centre, DIG and Barley Hall and our Events and Festivals to our organisational strategy which includes the aim that York Archaeology will be economically, environmentally and socially sustainable and grow. 

To fulfil this aim, and following work undertaken as part of the Greener Museum’s Project in 2014, YAT is striving to reduce our carbon footprint and make active environmentally sustainable choices

Over the last few years, we have been making efforts to improve our environmental sustainability through practices such as reducing paper and electricity use and introducing a crisp packet recycling scheme.

Recent achievements

Wolfson Sustainability Fund

We have been awarded £48,000 of funding to make environmental improvements to our accredited museums – JORVIK, DIG and Barley Hall – to reduce our carbon footprint and make cost savings across our operations. Using the Wolfson Sustainability Fund, we are making changes such as replacing all of our lighting with LED bulbs and fittings, upgrading our air handling units, installing new insulation, and timers for water usage and reviewing our building management systems. 

We will continue upgrading our operations over the coming months with this funding and more. 

Carbon Literacy

We’re Carbon Literate! The Carbon Literacy Project aims to raise awareness of the effect carbon dioxide production has on the climate and highlights ways to help individuals and industries reduce carbon emissions.

A number of our staff have completed Carbon Literacy training to influence how The JORVIK Group can make a meaningful impact on the future through organisational policy and personal lifestyle changes. We will continue investing in this training as we strive to improve our environmental credentials over the next few years. 

Kids in Museums ‘Takeover Day’

In 2021, our Learning Team ran a special session with children from Appleton Roebuck Primary, North Yorkshire exploring ideas about environmental sustainability as part of the Kids in Museums Takeover Day themed around climate action.Pupils took on the role of museum interpreters to create a social media campaign about the collections at JORVIK Viking Centre, exploring if the Vikings were environmentally-friendly with the hope that it might challenge people today to live more sustainably.

Archaeology Live – Eco Friendly Invaders

As part of our online Archaeology Festival in 2021 and to support our new initiative ‘Windows on the Past’ designed to help bring high streets back to life by installing exhibitions in unoccupied retail spaces, we created a special look at how the Vikings regarded the environment and could be regarded as early environmentalists. Take a look at this video created for our exhibition ‘Eco-Friendly Invaders’ 

We look forward to sharing more updates with you on our journey to becoming a more environmentally sustainable museum. Watch this space!