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Social & Environmental Sustainability

At the Sydney Opera House, we believe that creativity can help build a better world. This includes embedding social & environmental sustainability into all aspects of our delivery of Vivid LIVE, guided by our 10 Principles for Sustainable Event Management

From changing up our day-to-day building operations to reduce the festival’s carbon footprint (Vivid LIVE has been a carbon neutral festival since 2015), to creating an accessible and inclusive site and experiences, we’re sharing how we’re taking action to build the world we want to see as part of our commitment to the UN Global Goals. 

Together, let’s inspire change and build a better future. Read more to see how you can play a role.

Waste not, want not

Feeding people is hard work but wasting food is even harder (for the environment and equitability). We’re working with OzHarvest to donate any surplus edible food and make sure that these items don’t go to waste. 

Waste Warriors – the heroes we didn’t know we needed

In 2023, around 95% of the waste generated during Vivid LIVE was diverted from landfill (as a comparison, this is up from 70% in 2019!). 

Not sure which recycling receptacle your waste should go in? Just ask our friendly Waste Warriors! We’re working hard with our collaborators at Quayclean to beat that record by deploying a dedicated waste management team called Waste Warriors. You’ll spot them roaming throughout the festival sorting through waste to ensure everything goes to its rightful place.

Thanks to the Waste Warriors, we’re maximising our recycling rate and diverting recyclables from landfill. Help us to beat our 2023 rate! 

Yes to re-use, no to single-use

You can stay hydrated by refilling your water bottle at a number of hydration stations located across the Opera House site. 

Enjoy the ride

Raring to get to your show? Consider leaving the car at home and taking public transport to reduce your footprint - the Opera House is only a 10 minute walk from Circular Quay station.

Greening with our artists

Artist flights and accommodation is also carbon neutral and more than ever before, we’re providing “green” riders too. We’re supplying artists with reusable water bottles and setting up water stations in dressing rooms as an alternative to single-use plastic bottled water. 

Greening beyond the Sails

We work with carbon offset companies to support various carbon projects including tree-planting in Australia to help us be a carbon-neutral organisation. 

Find out more about how we are greening the Opera House through our Environmental Action Plan.

People on the staircase of the Sydney opera house.

Accessible and inclusive experiences

The Opera House is committed to creating a safe and welcoming environment for all artists and audiences at Vivid LIVE in line with our ambition to be everyone’s House. 

Some of the many ways we are doing this is by providing all-gender bathrooms and a Changing Places facility; collaborating with Gig Buddies who provide adults with intellectual disability the social opportunities by pairing them with volunteers to attend gigs; welcoming patrons who are blind or vision impaired to experience the Lighting of the Sails through Audio Description; and regularly training our public facing staff in delivering excellent customer service.

Newly this year, to enhance the experience of blind or vision impaired patrons attending the Audio Description, patrons will experience the first ever tactile scale model of the Sydney Opera House. The model has been proudly gifted by Arup in celebration of the momentous collaboration between Jørn Utzon and Ove Arup.

Find further information about accessibility at the Opera House.