Green Policy

Harpa wants to set an example and places great emphasis on social responsibility and works systematically to increase sustainability in all areas of its operations.

Harpa has an important role to play in society by operating a concert hall and conference centre where the purpose is to create cultural, economic and social value for its owners, the Icelandic nation.

Harpa's sustainability focus and strategy take into account the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, as the regulatory standards and legal inspections increase every year, Harpa's emphasis in 2022 was on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives. A steering group in social responsibility worked on mapping the main points of contact, and Harpa's first Annual and Sustainability Report was published in connection with the 2023 Annual General Meeting.

Harpa's sustainability journey began in 2015 with clear environmental goals aimed at working systematically to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and for carbon neutrality in operations by 2030.

Harpa endeavours to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and thus play an active role in the fight against climate change. Harpa published a Climate and Environmental Policy in 2021 and sets itself the goal of being a role model in environmental and climate issues by systematically reducing greenhouse gas emissions from its operations and their impact. A year later, Harpa's climate action plan 2022-2024 was published, whick contains timed targets to systematically reduce the company's emissions.

In November 2015, the Director of Harpa signed the declaration of the City of Reykjavik and the Festa Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility on climate issues, which was presented at the UN Climate Conference in Paris in December of the same year. According to the Government's Climate Policy, all government agencies are required to meet all five Green Steps by the end of 2021.

Harpa has finished all 5 steps of the Green Steps Program, a project led by the Environment Agency of Iceland. By participating in the Green Steps Program, Harpa was given the opportunity to implement strong environmental work in a systematic way under the guidance of experts from the Environment Agency. The chairperson of Harpa's Environment Committee and Green Steps is responsible for reviewing Harpa's environmental work and submitting green accounts annually.

Harpa's environmental and climate policy is reviewed annually by Harpa's steering committee on environmental issues, where the main goals and sub-objectives are updated with regard to developments in greenhouse gas emissions between years. Harpa's sub-goals are being worked on by a steering group and are linked to the UN's Global Goals.

Renewable energy

  • Nearly all energy consumed in Icelandic households and businesses comes from clean renewable hydroelectric or geothermal energy sources.
  • Harpa is connected to the Icelandic power grid, which has one of the highest uptimes in the world.    
  • Ventilation in the halls is set according to usage in each case to ensure that no energy is wasted.
  • Smaller spaces have sensors to maximise energy utilisation at any given time.
  • The façade is made of glass, resulting in a substantial reduction in lighting costs.
  • Heat from the halls is recycled by re-channelling it towards the front of the building to heat the open public spaces.
  • In 2021, the installation of LED lighting was completed in all of Harpa's halls and public spaces.
  • Winter 2022, 13 charging stations were installed in Harpa's Car Park in the lower basement, which are open to everyone with an ON charging key.


  • All waste in Harpa is sorted, and all recyclable waste is sent off for recycling. 
  • It is divided into 23 categories and systematic work is done to ensure that waste is placed in the correct categories.  
  • Visitors are systematically encouraged to sort their waste and leave nothing behind.
  • Efforts are made to ensure that all published material is in electronic rather than printed form.     
  • All disposable food packaging is recyclable.
  • Harpa declines all mass mail.
  • Harpa conducts an annual analysis of the waste it generates and sets goals for how much waste should be reduced from year to year.

Unique water quality

  • The water used in Harpa comes from potable water reserves located in the vicinity of Reykjavík. The water is of the highest quality, and no treatment is required before it is distributed to consumers.
  • Hot water from Harpa is recycled for snow melting and ponds outside the building.

Maintenance and cleaning

  • All detergents used in Harpa carry the Swan label, a well-known Ecolabel used in the Nordic countries.
  • Harpa only buys environmentally-certified toilet paper and hand towels.
  • To counteract paper waste, paper towels have been replaced by hand driers in the public toilets in the building.
  • General waste bins have been systematically reduced and plastic bags and black bin liners are no longer used in the house.

Processing of food and drink 

  • Harpa’s catering service only deals with suppliers that conduct environmentally responsible business and use fresh Icelandic raw materials whenever possible.
  • Harpa's caterers prioritise the use of multi-use tableware.
  • All surplus food is donated to charity.


  • Harpa uses environmentally certified suppliers as much as possible.
  • Harpa requires suppliers to regularly inform us of the environmentally certified and / or eco-friendly products and services they offer at any given time.
  • We emphasise minimising packaging and ensuring that deliveries to Harpa are in cardboard packaging and recycled if possible.

Compensating for Carbon emission

  • Harpa carbon offsets the flights of all its employees and guests.
  • Harpa has established an Environment and Climate Policy. The full policy can be read below.    
  • Since 2020, Harpa has participated in two projects related to carbon offsetting its operations; The Iceland Carbon Fund (ICF)  and The Icelandic Wetland Fund.

Targets for the year 2030

  • The proportion of recyclable waste will be 75%.
  • The proportion of sustainable transportation to and from work will be 30%.
  • Offsetting of all greenhouse gas emissions that cannot be prevented.

The Green Steps Program

The Green Steps Program is for government agencies that want to reduce  negative environmental impacts and strengthen the environmental awareness of employees.

Harpa continues to reduce the negative environmental impact of its operations and has already completed all of the five Green Steps.

Swan-certified conference hall

Harpa is proud to have received the Nordic Swan Ecolabel for the conference centre in 2022. The Nordic Swan Ecolabel is one of the worlds´s toughest environmental certifications – and as such, a powerful tool for producers and brand owners. The entire lifecycle is considered, from raw materials, production, and use to recycling and disposal, and to obtain the Nordic Swan Ecolabel you must meet its requirements that ensure quality and durability.

5 Green Steps completed

Harpa has completed the 5th and final step in the Green Steps Program and received recognition from the the Environment Agency of Iceland in July 2022. The Green Steps Program is for government institutions that want to reduce the negative environmental impact of their operations and strengthen employees' environmental awareness. Each step contains between 20-40 actions that Harpa had to implement in its operations to be able to complete each step.

Harpa´s Green Policy