First environmental report on Arts Council National Portfolio Organisations

Arts Council England and Julie's Bicycle have published the first environmental report to cover ACE's National Portfolio Organisations.

Sustaining Great Art and Culture 2018/19, published on 14 January 2020, includes data and initiatives from 184 new organisations that have never reported on their environmental data before.

The report highlights initiatives that many organisations are undertaking to rise to this challenge including Bristol Colston Hall's pledge to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2030 and the London Theatre Consortium developing a roadmap for a 60% reduction in carbon emissions by 2025.

Many organisations are also producing work on environmental themes, raising awareness with audiences and showcasing the unique role of the cultural sector in addressing the issue.

Key findings include:

  • Organisations are making sustainable energy choices – 54% have installed energy efficient lighting and controls and 32% of purchased electricity is on a green tariff contract.
  • A new, creative ecology is emerging – 47% are trialing sustainable production or exhibition methods and 30% are with banks that invest in social and environmental projects.
  • Sustainability is powering creative expression – 50% developed new creative or artistic opportunities as a result of environmental initiatives and 49% have produced, programmed or curated work on environmental themes.
  • Business communication is changing – 70% actively promote virtual communications technology as an alternative to travelling.

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England, said: "The success of this programme goes far beyond data collection and carbon reduction. Organisations are embedding climate action into the core of their operations – developing creative solutions, forging new partnerships and sparking valuable conversations on sustainability with audiences."

Alison Tickell, CEO of Julie's Bicyucle, said: "Sustainable practice is reframing cultural leadership, offering regenerative solutions and giving back more than we take."

The report publication coincides with the announcement of a flagship event for 2020, organised by Julie’s Bicycle in partnership with the Arts Council.

We Make Tomorrow takes place on Wednesday 26 February at the Royal Geographic Society in London and will bring together high-profile speakers from the creative community with leading climate specialists to ask: "What will the world be like in 2030 and what can the creative and cultural community do now to push us closer to the future we want?".

Bournemouth Arts by the Sea / Image: Seb Schofield


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