Sustainability Policy – Center for Contemporary Opera


Climate change is an unignorable global crisis, and we must ask ourselves what role contemporary opera can play. At CCO we will address climate change both in our programming and in the way that we mount that programming. Our priority, therefore, is to develop a framework for doing both. How can we commission and present opera that addresses climate in a way that is neither tokenistic nor hypocritical? Does opera have a voice in the debate about climate change and its relation to globalization, technology and commerce? We believe absolutely that it does, and we feel passionately that opera can and must be a persuasive medium for conveying that message.

CCO has been presenting contemporary opera since 1982, and as such we are the world’s oldest organization dedicated solely to this mission. As we enter our fifth decade it is imperative that we reflect upon and transform our experience into an industry-leading approach to reducing our carbon footprint. It is vital that the story of climate change is added to the repertoire of rich narratives on which CCO focuses. As we have for nearly forty years, we will involve the most brilliant talent, emerging and established, to tell these stories.

Arts organizations must contribute to keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, in alignment with the 2015 Paris Agreement. CCO’s aim is to become a carbon-neutral opera company. This project has been awarded an Opera America Innovation Grant, with the goal of becoming a model for others in the industry.


  • Reducing the environmental impact of our overall operations
  • Developing a sustainable production and touring model
  • Putting environmental sustainability at the heart of the company’s decision-making and strategic planning
  • Inspiring other performing arts organizations and our community to take action against climate change


  • Complying with the most ambitious environmental legislation, government policies and industry standards
  • Reducing, reusing and recycling the resources consumed in our productions
  • Measuring and analyzing our environmental footprint to set specific carbon-reduction targets
  • Reviewing and reporting our progress annually
  • Sharing our experience with others within the wider cultural sector
  • Raising awareness of environmental issues through our programming
  • Encouraging our collaborators and colleagues to support our environmental practices


CCO’s environmental policy is supported by our General Director, Board and Advisors.

As we prepare to present live programming once again, we are re-designing our production model to reduce business travel and to embrace digital transformation in our operations. We are working to communicate our strategies effectively with all stakeholders to involve them in this transition. We are requesting our service providers and partners to source products responsibly. We are encouraging our community to use low-emission forms of transportation, as well as avoiding printed programs and tickets. Environmental impact shapes our programming from the earliest planning stages.


Once our live programming and full operations return, we will begin measuring and reporting our emissions using Julie’s Bicycle Creative Green Tools. Our Board and Advisors will review our Environmental Policy annually, updating strategic plans and targets.