Fight against climate change helps arts prosper

Arts organisations are leading the way in sustaining the environment, according to a new report or Arts Council England, and benefitting financially as a result.

The cultural sector has cut CO2 emissions by 35% since 2012-13, with direct energy consumption is down by 23%.

And, says the report, Sustaining Great Art and Culture: Environmental Report 2017/18 by the climate change charity Julie’s Bicycle, arts organisations are financially better off as a result, saving £16.5m

“Environmental action isn’t just responsible, it makes economic sense” said ACE chairman Sir Nicholas Serota. “Many arts and cultural organisations report that they generate financial benefits as a direct result of environmental initiatives. In the last six years, participating organisations saved £16.5 million in energy costs.

“These figures only scratch the surface. Organisations can demonstrate significant benefits by embedding environmental sustainability into their business practice.”

The alliance between the charity and ACE to trace arts organisations’ environmental performance began in 2012, and theatres, galleries, museums, music venues, festivals and other cultural organisations have all improved their environmental practice, led by institutions  including Contact Theatre, The Poetry Society, the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art and Glyndebourne Opera House, many of which are also presenting artistic and creative work that raises environmental awareness among their audiences.

“This report shows how a deceptively simple policy - Arts Council England’s environmental reporting requirements - can prompt big shifts” said Alison Tickell, CEO of Julie’s Bicycle. “Hundreds of creative organisations are demonstrating how a sustainable cultural ecology can work. Environmental literacy is inspiring deeper connections between climate and social justice, investment and innovation, clean energy and new materials, empathy and biodiversity, the past, present and why we must shape the future.”


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