Human-induced climate change is the largest, most pervasive threat to the natural environment and societies the world has ever experienced. In October 2022, the UN warned that the world’s governments are not yet on track to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees, and the window for action is rapidly closing. We are already seeing the impacts of existing warming with devastating droughts, storms and ﬂoods across the world. Related crises include collapsing biodiversity, dangerous levels of air pollution, and plastic contamination in our rivers and oceans. Without urgent action from across society, these problems will only continue to escalate at an increasingly rapid pace.
The arts have always played a vital role in times of social change. Right now, change is needed more than ever. Arts organisations – particularly in the Global North – have a disproportionately large impact on the environment, mainly due to a great deal of international travel, arts shipping, and high use of energy and materials. We need to act urgently to reduce these impacts in line with what the science is telling us. As an advisory service to art collectors around the globe, we have an opportunity to use our position to set a positive example and encourage our clients and colleagues to make more climate conscious choices.
As an organisation, we know that we impact the environment most through international air travel, air freight of artworks, and energy use in our buildings. We have committed to tackling these impacts by:
Joining the Gallery Climate Coalition and pledging to at least halve our carbon emissions by 2030 from a 2019 baseline.
Regularly calculating the carbon footprint of our operations, to track progress towards this target.
Setting speciﬁc targets for the major parts of our footprint, including:
– Reducing staff ﬂights to 50% of pre-COVID levels by 2025, and further by 2030.
– Ensuring any qualifying shipments are carried out by land and sea rather than by air and that shipping levels overall are reduced.
– Reducing our building energy use by 2025 and looking into carbon neutral energy technology before 2030.
– Ensuring all our packing materials are reusable or curb-side recyclable by 2026, as a step towards zero-waste operations by 2030.
– Using only low or zero emissions vehicles for local deliveries by 2025.
The actions we are taking to meet these targets include:
– Speaking to our shippers and insurers about viable alternatives to air freight.
– Planning with care to minimise the need for air freight.
– Reviewing our staff travel practices and planning our attendance at international events to reduce the need for air travel.
– Carrying out an energy audit of our buildings to ﬁnd opportunities for energy reduction and renewable generation.
– Speaking to our suppliers and service providers about their carbon footprint and looking for opportunities to encourage them to take action or switching to alternative suppliers who will.
– Maintaining a Green Ambassador who calls meetings of the organisation to track progress on all of these targets and actions on a regular basis.
To take full responsibility for our emissions, we are also setting aside £70 per tonne of CO2e we emit into a Strategic Climate Fund, rather than purchasing carbon offsets. Following guidance from the Gallery Climate Coalition, this money will be spent on measures to accelerate our emissions reductions and support frontline climate solutions around the world that are making a difference right now. We aim to take action in line with the principles of climate justice, recognising the connections between the climate crisis and other global injustices. We want our environmental actions to support – rather than undermine or ignore – the needs of people on the frontlines of marginalisation and injustice.
We have set these targets and are taking actions in the knowledge that we aren’t yet doing everything right. We still have a great deal to do and much to learn. We welcome feedback from our clients and colleagues on this environmental statement, our targets, and on our plans for action.
Green Ambassador: Isabel Millman