The world is facing a series of linked
environmental crises. In October 2022, the UN warned that the world's
governments are not yet on track to keep global heating 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 rapidly escalate.
The art world has an important role. Arts organizations – 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 arts organizations, we also have an opportunity to use our public platform and cultural inﬂuence to set a positive example, encouraging and supporting others to take action and helping shift the public debate.
Art into Acres' values and mission are to promote contemporary art and inspire audiences to engage with local culture; to provide a particular platform for marginalized voices and artists. To be true to these values, we need to take urgent environmental action, because all species, art and culture across the world are directly threatened by the climate crisis, and those from marginalized communities and cultures are most at risk, while also holding many of the most effective solutions to the climate crisis.
As an organization, we know that our main direct environmental impacts include inaction, not speaking up, ﬂights, air freight, and energy use. 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 an initial 2019 baseline and regularly calculating the carbon footprint of our operations, to track progress towards this target. Through setting speciﬁc targets, we are reducing the major parts of our footprint, including:
- Reducing staff ﬂights to 50% of pre-COVID levels by 2023, and 25% by 2025.
- Ensuring the majority of international shipping is carried out by sea, rail or light air shipment with a passenger, under 100 lbs.
- Shifting building to solar and replacing all fossil gas heating systems with electric heat pumps or other appropriate technology before 2023.
- Ensuring all of our packing materials are reusable or curbside recyclable as of 2023, as a step towards zero-waste operations by 2025.
- Using only low or zero emissions vehicles for organization-made local deliveries by 2023.
The actions we are taking to meet these targets include:
- Doing most due diligence on conservation projects remotely.
- Turning off zoom video and using a darker website and dark mode on work screens.
- Eliminating printer paper, printed catalogues, and printed records.
- Reviewing travel policies and practices and reducing attendance at international events.
- Carrying out an energy audit of buildings, cars and other modes to ﬁnd opportunities for energy reduction and renewable generation.
- Working with other GCC members on projects to help develop more sustainable packaging, transport and energy saving solutions for the whole sector.
- Supporting and being a part of the capacity building of the sector by providing pro bono carbon emissions audits for exhibitions.
- Maintaining participation as founding member of MOCA Environmental Council, Gallery Climate Coalition New York, Artists Commit and Art + Climate Action.
To take full responsibility for our emissions, we are also setting aside $100 per ton 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 will report on how we spent this money at the end of each ﬁnancial year.
We aim to take action in line with the principles of climate justice, recognizing 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 marginalization 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 intersectional publics on this environmental statement, targets, and plans for action.
Basis for this statement provided by the Gallery Climate Coalition, UK.