How can CIOs and CTOs help their organisations embrace sustainability efforts?


Sustainability has long been a CIO priority for recently appointed CTO of HealthUnlocked, Joe McFadden. And speaking at the 2019 CIO Summit, McFadden detailed the work he did in his previous role as CTO the Royal Opera House, helping to deliver change and refresh the organisation's sustainability plan.

The Covent Garden institution is the recipient of Arts Council funding, which comes with a number of environmental pre-requisites. McFadden explained that, as a result, it wasn't difficult to develop a sustainability plan as it was already being driven, in part, by external policy requirements.

"The executive team at the Opera House felt that it was really important for an organisation leading in the cultural sector to be able to talk confidently and to be able to show that we're committed to sustainability," he said.

As CTO and the sustainability lead at ROH, McFadden explained the company developed a three-part strategy that revolved around "people, places and production". It was committed to raising awareness both internally and externally, wanting to tell stories about sustainability while acknowledging the fact "the organisation is a large public building in the centre of London that has an energy footprint and has waste implications" - and taking the opportunity to revaluate its international supply chain and the changes that could be made to make it more efficient.

Sustainability mission

In September of 2018, the Royal Opera House completed a major 'Open Up' building refurbishment project which McFadden says the organisation used as an opportunity to overhaul a lot of its legacy infrastructure and replace it with more efficient and sustainable alternatives.

For example, by installing LED lights in the theatre, the company is expecting to see a 20% reduction in its energy costs over a single performance season.