Arts Council England Environmental Report 2017/18

Julie’s Bicycle has been working in partnership with Arts Council England since 2012 to inspire environmental action across the arts and culture sector, with a focus on long-term funding partners, the National Portfolio Organisations. The Sustaining Great Art and Culture report celebrates the successes of arts and cultural organisations in acting on national and international climate targets. 

“Arts and culture are some of the most effective drivers of transformation. They change our minds, move our hearts and spur us into action. So it’s wonderful to see the collaboration between Julie’s Bicycle, the Arts Council and the creative sector succeeding in bringing together so many different cultural organizations to transform the public conversation on climate change, while tackling their own impact as well. Thank you for all your commitments so far and let’s keep blazing the trail, this work has never been more important.” – Christiana Figueres, Founding Partner, Global Optimism and Former Executive Secretary, UNFCCC 2010-2016

Over the past six years, theatres, galleries, museums, music venues, festivals and other cultural organisations across the country have taken great strides to improve their environmental practice. From Royal Court Theatre and The Poetry Society, toTurner Contemporary and Glyndebourne Opera House, these organisations are emerging as leaders and key collaborators in sustainability. They are also presenting artistic and creative work that raises environmental awareness among their audiences in innovative ways.

Key findings of the report include:

Organisations are consistently reducing carbon emissions: CO2 emissions have decreased by 35% across the National Portfolio since the programme began.

Organisations are more energy efficient: Direct energy consumption has been reduced by 23% since 2012/13.

Organisations are increasingly financially resilient: The ongoing drive to reduce energy consumption has led to financial savings of £16.5 million since the programme began.

Organisations are experiencing benefits beyond reductions: Environmental practice and carbon literacy are being linked to improvements in other organisational priorities, including team morale and strategic decision-making.

Organisations are contributing to a new creative ecology: The above trends drive demand for – and generate new skills and knowledge that support – clean technologies, sustainable goods and services, greener waste solutions and the emergent circular economy. A quarter of the Portfolio are now on a green energy tariff.

In response to the growing commitment demonstrated by the sector, Arts Council England and Julie’s Bicycle will now shift focus towards accelerating impact and stretching ambition. This includes two new strands of work: The Accelerator Programme, which offers organisations resources and expertise to develop innovative ideas into deliverable projects for greater impact, and a targeted carbon reduction scheme for organisations with large infrastructures, The Spotlight Programme.

Don’t forget to follow JB on Twitter and use the hashtag #COPtimism to join in the conversation.


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Image: Passage for Par, Rosemary Lee. Photo © Steve Tanner

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