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Building and operations

  • The Museum consumes energy in the form of electricity, gas for hot water, and our share of a district steam system to provide heating. All energy sources are centrally procured by the University. 100% of the University’s electricity consumption is backed with REGO certification.
  • Between 2010-2020 we have achieved a substantial reduction in the impact of our energy consumption, from nearly 1,000kg C02e per year to under 500kg C02e annually
  • This has been achieved through the fitting of double glazing, improved ventilation and insulation, more efficient lighting systems and reviewing our use of environmental controls
  • We strive to maintain environmental conditions for our collections in line with the Bizot Green Guidelines. To reduce energy consumption, we prioritise passive controls; displaying objects in well-sealed display cases with buffering materials to stabilise relative humidity at an acceptable level
Materials and construction
  • We reuse and recycle materials as much as possible, especially in construction and exhibition projects. Where we can’t reuse in-house we will share with partners or via Museocycle; a museum-focused recycling scheme encouraging North West museums to give away unwanted display, storage and other equipment to other museums, to avoid material going to landfill. 
  • We work with exhibition partners and suppliers who share our ambitions – for example read more about our work on touring Golden Mummies with Nomad Exhibitions
  • Our new building extension meets BREEAM standard “very good” 
  • We aim to work with local sustainable producers and suppliers across the museum, including in our shop and café
  • Ethical fundraising statement
  • The University of Manchester has ended investments in coal, oil and gas and reduced the carbon intensity of all investments by 37% and have committed to gradually decarbonising their entire investment portfolio. More information is on the Environmental Sustainability pages of the website, including the 2021 Responsible Investment Report. 
  • The Manchester Museum Shop is on a journey to be ‘people and planet friendly’. Our suppliers are carefully selected based on their sustainability credentials
  • We are moving away from single-use plastics across all product areas, and have removed products with a limited lifecycle to further reduce our ecological impact
  • All orders sent out from the Museum are packaged in FSC certified recycled plastic-free packaging and our single use bags in store are all made of recycled paper
  • However, we recognise that in some areas, especially children’s toys, there is a challenge that sourcing sustainably can result in a more expensive offer for visitors. Our children’s offer is focussed on toys with a longer life cycle that can be passed from generation to generation. We have also sourced toys made from recycled materials, natural rubber and wooden offcuts.
  • We are lucky that Manchester has a wealth of creative talent and local artists and makers who feature prominently in the shop, helping to reduce the need for transport and our carbon footprint. 
  • We also have established partnerships with brands such as Just Trade, who work with artisans across the world to create handmade ethical jewellery and are committed to the 10 Principles of Fair Trade set out by the World Fair Trade Organisation
  • In the future we would like to explore how we can extend the life cycle of our products by encouraging the return of products that can be refurbished and resold. 
Travel and transport
  • The Museum shop offers local deliveries by bike
  • We switched to using an electric vehicle to reduce carbon emissions. Our electric van allows us to take the museum’s learning programmes out to schools without polluting the air and without the costs associated with our old van.
  • We are developing a set of guidelines to support staff to make informed decisions about their travel priorities and choose lower carbon travel where possible, and work towards targets set by the University of Manchester to reduce the impacts of staff air travel by a minimum of 50%, using 2018-19 as the baseline year
  • We promote active travel options for visitors to the Museum


  • Our cafe menu is mostly plant-based and labelled with climate footprints to help customers make informed choices about the impacts of their meals
  • Cafe ingredients are locally sourced, organic and fair trade wherever possible 
  • The same extends to catering for events and hospitality within our museum spaces. Whilst organisers can choose their menus, we actively encourage plant-based menus for delegates to enjoy, with climate footprint labelling on event menus to make informed choices 
  • Visitors are encouraged to bring use their own reusable hot drink cups and water bottles – free drinking water refill stations are available throughout the museum
  • Our picnic area provides a space for you to bring and consume your own food 
  • We are implementing food waste recycling throughout all staff kitchens and the cafe which will be in operation from early 2023. Food waste will be sent to an Anaerobic Digestion processing at facilities in Warwickshire operated by Biogen.