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The SS Great Britain Trust is the charity that cares for Brunel’s SS Great Britain, her historic dockyard, and the related collection. The Trust’s mission is to preserve the ship and her dock for all time for the public benefit of all.

To realise our mission, we need to carry out vital conservation work to preserve the ship and keep our site open and accessible to the public, which has an environmental impact. As a result of this, the Trust is taking ongoing action to address and continuously review our environmental impact, making positive changes and collecting data to monitor our progress.

There is always more to be done to protect the environment, which is why the Trust is focused on continuously learning and improving.

Our commitment

Achieving and promoting sustainability is central to the mission of the SS Great Britain Trust and its activity. We are committed to conducting our business and operations to reflect best environmental practice, to improving environmental performance and to reducing the organisation’s impacts on the environment.

Environmental impact

The Trust’s ambition to reduce its impact on the environment led to the establishment of a Sustainability Working Group, comprised of members of staff from all areas of our organisation.

In reviewing the operations of our site, the Sustainability Working Group identified five main environmental impact areas: energy consumption, water usage, material waste produced as a result of the day-to-day operations on site, carbon emissions resulting from staff and visitor travel to site and energy consumption and waste resulting from procuring goods.

In response to the impacts identified above, the group established an ongoing action plan to address and continuously review the Trust’s environmental impact, collecting data to monitor our progress.

Becoming a more sustainable organisation

Positive action to date has included:

  • Taking positive and proactive steps to define best sustainability practice and setting ambitious, but realistic, targets for ourselves. Hiring a Ship’s Conservation Engineer who is responsible for optimising the conservation of the SS Great Britain in the long term, in the most efficient and environmentally responsible manner.
  • Reducing the carbon footprint of the SS Great Britain, and the Trust’s operations at large, including installing solar panels wherever possible.
  • Supporting local producers and services wherever possible, with some café produce made on board!
  • Using plant-based ‘Vegware’ products, including food containers, disposable cups and cutlery in our cafes.
  • Providing a designated water refill site for visitors and the sale of glass water bottles instead of plastic.
  • Promoting the use of ‘keep cups’ for hot drinks, with them offered for sale in our shop and a staff discount on hot drinks purchased with a reusable, rather than disposable, cup.
  • Offering staff travel incentives to reduce emissions, including discounted public transport and a cycle to work scheme, with free bike maintenance sessions.
  • Giving ad-hoc incentives to remind staff to ensure technology, computer monitors, and other electronics are turned off when not being used.

Please note this list is not exhaustive but provides examples of positive action to date. Should you have any questions regarding our achievements so far, please get in touch.

Help us to become more sustainable

As a visitor to the SS Great Britain Trust, you can help us improve our environmental impact in the following ways:

  • Leave the car at home. Try to cycle, walk or use public transport to reach us where possible.
  • Use our free water refill points instead of buying plastic bottles elsewhere.
  • When using facilities, we would be grateful if you would use water wisely and please don't leave taps running.
  • Use a ‘keep cup’ for your hot drinks. If you forget your cup, we use compostable vegware take away cups and have branded reusable cups for sale.
  • If you have a meal in one of our cafes, try to ‘eat in’ where possible. If you would prefer to take your food away, we have compostable vegware containers and utensils.
  • Take rubbish home. As a charity, we pay for our waste disposal. Any reduction in waste means a direct saving for us, meaning we have more money left for vital conservation work.


The SS Great Britain Trust is aware that there is more to be done to protect the environment, which is why our sustainability group is continually looking at how we can improve and reduce our impact on the environment.

Should you have any questions regarding our achievements so far, please get in touch.