Climate Action 8x8

The world is facing a climate emergency that requires immediate and collective action.

 

The findings of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are clear: we must cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2030 to guard against the impacts of climate destruction. 

 

As participants in the Climate Action 8x8 campaign, we are joining Galleries Commit (NYC), Art to Zero (NYC), and Gallery Climate Coalition, Los Angeles (CA) to take direct action in 8 key areas of climate impact. 

 

Together, we will advance the shift towards sustainability, resilience, and a just and thriving planet.

 

How to Participate:

  1. Sign on to add your name to the list of participating organizations. Sign on here!

  2. Submit your 8-action plan by March 31, 2023. Submit your plan here.

  3. Implement actions by September 30, 2023.

  4. Share updates about completed actions by December 31, 2023. We encourage you to do this via your own website, newsletter, or other channels as well.

  5. Tag #Climate8x8 when sharing information about your climate actions on social media.

 

Action Plans:

We’ve provided eight ideas for action in eight distinct areas of activity. These suggestions range from simple starter steps to ambitious and comprehensive shifts in thinking, behavior, and infrastructure. Choose an action that feels impactful but attainable, and also realistically implementable within 3-6 months. Don’t see an action that suits your needs? Feel free to devise your own. We ask only that you complete at least one action per category.

 

01. MEASURE

 

Eliminating greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions is imperative to keeping global temperature rise as close to 1.5 degrees celsius as possible. In line with Paris Accord targets, we call on the art sector to cut ghg emissions by 50% by 2030. Reducing emissions requires first measuring the impact of our routine activities.

 

8 Action Ideas:

  • Learn about emissions by attending our Understanding Emissions Workshop on February 3, 2023 at 9:30am/12:30pm

  • Calculate your organization’s total annual emissions for 2023 or for a prior year, like 2019 or 2022, to set a benchmark

  • Calculate emissions from energy use in your building in 2023 (hint: all you need is your utility bills)

  • Calculate emissions from exhibitions, fairs, or on another project-specific basis in 2023

  • Calculate emissions from all flights your organization pays for in 2023

  • Calculate emissions from shipping/freight in 2023

  • Establish carbon reduction targets once you have a benchmark calculation

  • Make a Strategic Climate Fund contribution

 

Resources:

 

02. ENERGY

 

Energy use in buildings accounts for a major part of the art sector’s ghg emissions. Even small changes in our workplace behaviors can result in significant energy savings, and larger changes to buildings will have a dramatic impact, especially over time. The single, most effective change you can make is to switch to a more sustainable energy supply. Depending on where you live, this may be easier than you think!

8 Action Ideas:

  • Attend our Understanding Building Energy Workshop on April 7, 2023 at 9:30 am PST

  • Implement simple, low-cost steps to reduce energy consumption

  • Install smart power strips and outlet monitors to track energy use in your office and building

  • Switch to LED lighting

  • Switch to a reputable green energy supplier, or research your options for switching to renewable energy in your city

  • Make infrastructure improvements, like switching to a heat pump system, installing solar panels, or planting a green roof

  • Connect with local community members and develop a community-owned microgrid powered by renewable energy

  • Research your city’s plans to electrify existing buildings. If your city doesn’t have such a plan, ask your local leaders to make one!

 

Resources:

 

California Resources:

 

03. SHIPPING

 

Shipping, especially air freight of artworks, constitutes a major source of ghg emissions from galleries and museums. Simple changes to your shipping practices can lower your climate impact considerably. Advocating for system-wide changes to transportation routes, shipping methods, and packing materials will help bring down ghg emissions for studios, museums, galleries, and art fairs alike.

 

8 Action Ideas:

  • Ask your shipping companies to provide standardized emissions information on all quotes

  • Provide partners and/or clients with emission information on shipments arranged by your organization

  • Ask your insurance provider to offer sea freight coverage, or switch to an insurance provider who covers sea freight shipments

  • Track and share emissions from shipping with your team – this could be annually, monthly, per exhibition, or per art fair

  • Implement carbon budgets – maximum emissions limits for an art fair, exhibition, or something like monthly shipments for internal purposes like viewings and photography

  • Establish an organization-wide policy that prioritizes sea, train, or road freight over air freight

  • Establish an advanced planning calendar for art fairs and exhibitions that allows time to plan for low-emissions shipping methods

  • Take steps to reduce emissions from individual shipments: consolidate shipments into fewer crates, reduce excessive or unnecessary packaging materials to reduce the volume and weight of shipments, use zero or low-emissions vehicles for all local deliveries

 

Resources:

  • Many shippers already provide emissions calculations, including Dietl, Arta, and Queens

  • GCC Shipping Campaign

  • Sea freight vs air freight case study: Gary Hume Sculpture Transport

 

04. TRAVEL

Travel – in particular long-haul and business-class travel – is often a major producer of ghg emissions for arts organizations. Revising travel policies and considering how staff members commute to work can have big, climate-friendly impacts.

8 Action Ideas:

  • Create a travel policy that favors low-emissions transportation options like electric cars, trains, or public transit over emissions-intensive options like flights, especially business and first-class flights

  • Implement carbon budgets – maximum emissions limits for flights per art fair, per exhibition, or annually

  • Commit to fewer flights per staff member each year, and reassess the number of staff members scheduled to travel for long-distance art fairs and exhibitions

  • Communicate with artists and clients about the gallery’s goals to reduce travel

  • Prioritize booking green accommodations, like Certified Green Key hotels

  • Offer a regular, work-from-home option for employees to reduce emissions from commuting

  • Provide staff with resources that promote low-emissions commuting options, like bike racks or an EV charger near your building, or public transit passes. Offer incentives to staff members who commute by low or zero-emissions means

  • Prioritize virtual participation in meetings, conferences, and speaking events over travel

 

Resources:

California Resources:

 

05. WASTE

 

Reducing waste to landfill protects ecosystems and reduces ghg emissions. A little attention, planning, and creative thinking goes a long way!

 

8 Action Ideas:

  • Track your waste. (We recommend using the EPA’s WARM calculator to track individual waste streams)

  • Circulate a regular waste-tracking update to staff

  • Create material afterlife checklists for exhibitions and fairs

  • Participate in circular, material-reuse economies like Barder.art by posting unused material to share, offering used material that is in good condition, or attempting to source existing material before fabricating or purchasing new items

  • Implement a responsible purchasing policy that limits single-use plastics

  • Reduce packaging waste by purchasing packing material locally, prioritizing reusable and recyclable materials, opting for eco-crates, choosing reusable and recyclable packing materials, and opting for cloth or paper-based products rather than plastics

  • Set up TerraCycle, composting, or another waste reduction program

  • Research your city’s recycling and composting policies as well as private-sector recycling services to deal with materials like plastic film, and make sure staff is familiar with proper recycling procedures

 

Resources:

 

California Resources:

 

06. SUPPORT WORKERS

 

We understand that our collective future depends on foregrounding climate in our day-to-day decisions and cultivating a culture of care-taking in our immediate and global communities. Help ensure that your colleagues feel supported in prioritizing climate-based decision-making at work.

8 Action Ideas:

  • Pay transparent living wages to all workers

  • Slow down your operations and ensure you are operating within your team's capacity

  • Ask workers what support means to them, ask what actions they feel are most important to implement as the organization becomes a climate-conscious workplace

  • Communicate to staff that climate action is a priority and that you encourage consideration of climate impact at all levels of decision-making. Create a means for workers to share climate-related research and ideas

  • Grant staff time to participate in climate-focused training and workshops and ask them to share information with fellow workers

  • Provide staff with healthy, climate-responsible choices like vegan and vegetarian snacks and meals at work events, low-waste coffee and water options, and adequate personal time off

  • Implement meaningful DEI initiatives, training, and support for staff

  • Ensure staff access to adequate health care, including mental health support services, so that team members have the energy and personal resources necessary to focus on workplace changes

 

Resources:

 

07. CLIMATE JUSTICE

 

The climate crisis is inextricably linked to a long history of systemic racism and structural injustice. Constructive and responsive workplace cultures can promote understanding of both the root causes of climate change and the constituencies it most adversely affects.

 

8 Action Ideas:

  • Connect with local climate-justice organizations in your community to learn how to support them

  • Participate in mutual aid in your community

  • Organize a public program on a climate justice topic

  • Assess how your organization makes itself accessible to underserved communities, and make a plan to proactively reduce barriers to participation in exhibition tours and public programming

  • Prioritize local, small, and minority-owned businesses when purchasing goods and services for your space

  • Encourage your team members to pursue community and climate-justice work, and provide time for them to participate with PTO community days

  • Direct your Strategic Climate Fund contributions to climate justice initiatives

  • Manage your organization's finances with climate-friendly banks and offer staff members fossil-fuel divested 401K options

 

Resources:

California Resources:

 

08. COLLECTIVE ACTION

Community, collaboration, and collective movement building are critical to co-creating a truly sustainable art sector. Join us! 

 

(Hint: participating in this commitment is already one way to fulfill this action area)

 

8 (Additional) Action Ideas:

  • Attend monthly community meetings hosted by Galleries Commit and Art + Climate Action

  • Tell artists, clients, and audiences about your climate initiatives, and invite them to participate

  • Encourage other organizations to commit to taking climate action by signing on to this commitment

  • Participate in climate action networks through the Visual Arts PACT

  • Reach out to neighboring galleries about ways to support each other in taking climate action: for example, collaborate on installing solar panels (or other green infrastructure) on a shared building, organize a shared compost or other waste-reduction service with neighbors, or create a shared material inventory with other galleries, centralizing and pooling the use of things like pedestals and packing materials in order to reduce waste

  • Share a Climate Impact Report for an exhibition via Artists Commit

  • Share what climate actions you take and elaborate on what was successful, lessons learned, and advice or resources for others to do the same. One way to share this information is via the Galleries Commit Climate Action Database

  • Extend your actions beyond the art sector and participate in global climate movements

 

Resources:

 

SAMPLE PLAN

Our mid-sized gallery is just kicking off our official Climate Action initiative, and this year is focused on educating and supporting our team and building connections within the sector to ramp up our capacity for climate action.

Here are the actions we are committing to taking in 2023:

1. Measure

  • Learn about emissions by attending the Understanding Emissions Workshop

  • Calculate emissions from building energy use and travel in 2023.

 

2. Energy

  • Assess what simple, low cost steps to reduce energy consumption can be immediately implemented.

 

3. Shipping

  • Provide clients with emissions information on shipments organized by the gallery.

  • Ask our insurance provider if they cover or are making plans to cover sea freight shipments.

 

4. Travel

  • Create a travel policy so staff knows we favor low-carbon transportation options like electric cars, trains, or public transit over carbon-intensive options like flights.

 

5. Waste

  • Upload gallery pedestals to Barder.art and check Barder before sourcing new material.

  • Set up TerraCycle at the gallery.

 

6. Support Workers

  • Communicate to staff that climate action is a priority and ask them what they need to feel supported in taking climate action.

  • Grant staff time to participate in climate-focused training and workshops, and ask them to share information learned there with fellow staff.

 

7. Climate Justice:

  • Provide time for staff to participate in the community by granting one PTO community day to all full-time staff each quarter.

 

8. Collective Action

  • Participate in Climate Action 8x8! <3

  • Attend monthly community meetings.

  • Reach out to other galleries to see if there are ways to collaborate or support each other to take climate action.

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