Downing College is committed to working sustainably, complying fully with environmental legislation and officially approved codes of practice. When choosing Downing College for your next event you can meet your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) objectives by using our environmentally-sustainable conference facilities, with locally-sourced food, minimal paper usage and a commitment to reduced waste and efficiency.


The Howard Theatre, an environmentally-sustainable building with ground source heating and cooling, solar panels fitted to the Welsh slate roof and rainwater harvesting for flushing toilets and maintaining the landscaping. The Howard Building, recently extensively refurbished with a major emphasis on energy efficiency and re-use of existing materials, including installing double-glazed and draught-proof windows with K glass to provide energy efficiency and sound-proofing; insulating the roof space; replacing all lights with LEDs; and installing more energy-efficient boilers.


In April 2018 we introduced Vegware products throughout the college which are plant-based catering disposables made from renewable, lower carbon or recycled materials. 

Introduced more vegan and vegetarian options for breakfast, lunch and dinner service in the Buttery and Butterfield Cafe. 

Locally-sourced food using fresh, seasonal ingredients, reducing food miles. The College also has its own herb garden, where edible flowers, courgettes and wild strawberries are sourced.

Fairtrade tea and coffee and commitment to reduce food waste.


Paperless sales and marketing materials and billing.

Paper-free events (SMART board).

Print suppliers locally sourced to minimise carbon emissions of deliveries.

Meeting waste materials sorted and recycled with dedicated bins.


Two electric car charging points on-site for delegate use.

Free on-site parking of bicycles and discounted bike hire from Station Cycles in Cambridge.

Facilities to live-stream events to reduce delegate travel.


Tables in meeting rooms covered in multi-use baize cloths.

Natural lighting in conference areas, reducing carbon emissions from electric lighting.

LCD screen in Grace Howard Room set to eco-mode using 20% less energy.

Air-conditioning and lighting individually controlled.

Charitable Donations

Annual corporate membership of Cambridgeshire Wildlife Trust (CWT). 

Occasional free meeting space offered to CWT, as our nominated charity for Green Events.