We’re proud to be committed to sustainability and reducing the environmental impacts of Manchester Day.


We love our city and our planet. That’s why as well as delivering a fantastic event for thousands of people to enjoy, we want to leave the best impact possible. Being green and kind to our planet is a huge part of delivering a sustainable event. We do a lot to behind the scenes in the event planning and ask our wonderful audience to join us in reducing the negative impacts of a great day out.

For 2022, we have identified four key environmental issues and corresponding objectives:  

  • Energy – reduce fossil fuel use on the event to a minimum
  • Waste – we aim to minimise production of waste across all Manchester Day activities and in particular at the WOW workshop during build and derig and at hub areas during the event. We will engage all artists and teams at the start of the process to ensure reuse and recycling is considered as early as possible
  • Food & Drink – we aim to strengthen engagement with food and drink traders to ensure sustainable food options are available and waste is kept to a minimum
  • Communications – we aim to communicate Manchester Day’s sustainable activities, both to those working behind the scenes, the participants and to the audience coming on the day. The approach will be to communicate how the event is doing its bit, in order to encourage individual action.

Measurable targets for each of the above have been set and include:

  • 100% of power in event hubs will be from renewable sources
  • 85% (minimum) of waste from the workshops will be diverted to reuse/recycling (increase 80% in 2019)
  • 100% of our food traders will demonstrate sustainable practices e.g. Fair Trade, locally sourced, seasonal, vegetarian, vegan, organic, animal welfare standards or sustainably sourced seafood
  • 0% Single Use Plastics allowed in our food and drink hubs, which means no single-use plastic drinks bottles, bags, straws, stirrers , sachets, cutlery, food containers/trays
  • Reusable cups will be used at all bars
  • We will be sharing our learning with 5 community events taking place later in the year to share good practice
  • We will once again monitor the carbon footprint of the event

You can see a copy of our sustainability policy here.

Previous successes

In 2019 , we shared some tips for what the audience could do to make Manchester Day as green as possible in their choices around Food and Drink, transport and telling people and Manchester Day’s sustainable aims and actions to hopefully inspire other change. We’re very aware that with an audience of around 70,000 that could have a huge impact – looking at transport alone, our audience travels a 10 mile round trip on average so that’s 700,000 miles.

We’re always keen to talk about how Manchester Day is trying to be as green as possible, it might just spark an idea for someone else looking to change something in their home or working life. The Manchester Day team often speak at events to share ideas. Read on for a few examples.

  • Almost everything in the parade is people-powered – pushed, pulled, wheeled, and walked – different to many parades which rely on vehicles
  • Many of the structures are also reused and repurposed through the years, and artists are asked to think carefully about how the floats are created to ensure they can be deconstructed and recycled as much as possible.
  • This often involves finding creative ways to use otherwise redundant materials like the roll ends from a cardboard factory that will find new life as a flock of birds on the big day this year
  • Hat making in the Creation Station in 2019 used environmentally friendly materials… off cuts of cardboard, paper and paper tape – after the fun of making and wearing these fabulous creations, these could be recycled in a paper recycling bin
  • Raising awareness of the climate change emergency: many groups have previously chosen to focus their creations on key issues, such as the Manchester Secondary PRU who created the world on a turtle in 2017, with the message: if we don’t look after world, it’ll become a disappearing act of its own.
  • The lead image in 2018 parade was a stranded polar bear reflecting the consequences of climate change
  • Monitoring of energy and water use and waste at the production workshop venue and on the event day have been undertaken since 2017, which showed a 10% increase in recycling rates from 2017 to 2019 (to 80%). We also have a good understanding of power use to set targets for the 2022 event.
  • We have regularly monitored audience travel data. We were pleased to have maintained a similar level of audience using public transport at 73% in 2019, but would love this to be more
  • We have now kept track of production fuel used in 2017 and 2019 to be able to set future targets.
  • We introduced ‘We love our city and our planet’ to key communications in 2019, including a dedicated piece in the MEN supplement on how we aimed to lessen our impact and what we were asking the audience to do

How are we doing at being green?

We were awarded the Creative Green certification 4* in for Manchester Day 2019, which was an increase from 3* in 2017 so we were thrilled. The Creative Green certification is in recognition of our environmental commitment and action and work to engage with event partners and community participants. We were also a finalist for the ‘Promotion of Environmental Sustainability Award’ at the Manchester Culture Awards 2018 and 2021.

Is it just about being green?

No, for us we aim to develop an event that’s wholly sustainable. Being sustainable for us means delivering an event that benefits local communities and the local economy, whilst minimising the negative impact on the environment.

What that means in practice:

  • Social impact: Working closely with communities is at the heart of what we do and we continually strive to ensure Manchester Day can have the best possible effects on local communities. Around 60 community groups work with professional artists to create Manchester Day.
  • Economic impact: Being careful with our resources in order to achieve this is fundamental to all that we do, where we strive to use local suppliers as much as possible and maximise the impact for the local economy.
  • Environmental impact: Whilst we have a number of areas of good practice already, we are continuously reviewing all aspects of our environmental performance in order to continue to improve.

Let us know if you have any thoughts or ideas on what we’re doing or could do, contact us here.