A heads up that environmental reporting for 2022/23, informed by a new reporting framework, is starting earlier this year. In this article, Green Arts Development Officer, Matthew Belsey, explains more about this and some other changes that have been made.
Since 2014, Creative Carbon Scotland has been working to provide a framework for carbon emissions reporting and to support Green Champions in arts organisations across Scotland. We have been adaptive throughout this time to meet the needs of the organisations we work with whilst working in line with best practices from corporate and public authority environmental reporting.
With this in mind, we have made some updates to our environmental reporting for 2022/23 (for completion in 2023), informed by our new environmental reporting framework. We are introducing some new areas of reporting and asking some additional questions to ensure the quality of the data we are receiving and to ensure we understand your needs and the needs of the wider sector.
We are also moving the reporting period a few months earlier.
Details of all the changes we are introducing this year can be found below. The new survey will also be accompanied by question-by-question guidance to give the reason why we have chosen to include each question and to help you answer any new questions.
We have previously run environmental reporting over the summer with a deadline in September. Though we are aware organisations are busy all year and all organisations run on different annual schedules, summer is a particularly busy time for many. Therefore, we have decided to move the reporting period earlier, eventually aiming to launch at the beginning of April in the coming years.
In this transition year, we will be launching the survey in mid-May with a deadline of 28 July.
Not only does this avoid the busy summer period, but it means you are reporting much nearer to the period you are reporting about (the previous financial year).
New and expanded areas of reporting
We are receiving an increasing number of questions from organisations about their digital emissions, and rightfully so; it is estimated that they could account for around 3% of global emissions, a proportion which is projected to rise to 15% by 2040. We have introduced a short section on digital emissions this year to understand where the sector is in their approach to monitoring and reducing digital emissions.
We will not be asking for specific emissions values (unless your organisation already measures them), but more about your organisation’s current understanding and any policies you have in place.
For more information about digital emissions, check out our interview with a digital sustainability specialist, Wholegrain Digital’s Digital Declutter handbook and Neuto’s website carbon monitor.
Supply chains and the materials being used are another area that we receive a lot of questions about. Therefore, we have decided to include a section about this to give you space to explain your organisation’s awareness, policies, and behaviour when it comes to sustainable procurement. Much like our approach to digital emissions, we will not be asking for specific emissions values (unless your organisation already measures them).
For more information about supply chain and procurement emissions, have a look at the Sustainable Scotland Network’s procurement resources.
Creative Carbon Scotland believes that there should be understanding of and responsibility for climate change at all levels of an organisation so that positive behaviours and attitudes can be fully integrated throughout. Therefore, we have introduced this short section to get a snapshot of how environmental decisions are made in your organisation.
For many years, organisations have told us how they are using their wider influence to advocate and inspire their audiences, other organisations, and policy makers through a wider range of actions including the content they programme, network participation, communication and advocacy. It is often harder (if not impossible) to assign emissions reduction amounts to these actions, but we believe they are an essential part of the role culture has to play in Scotland’s decarbonation. As stated in Creative Scotland’s Climate Emergency and Sustainability Plan:
Artists can facilitate difficult conversations and can elicit emotions, which are often squeezed out of more technical debates. Cultural organisations reach enormous and diverse audiences and can provide buildings and spaces for events, conversation and communal, collective thinking and learning.
This year, we have pulled out these actions from the carbon management planning to give them their own section for any influencing actions your organisation takes to highlight their importance, which is unique to the cultural sector.
Resilience (previously Adaptation)
In their Climate Emergency and Sustainability Plan, Creative Scotland specify that they require all regularly funded organisations (RFOs) to develop adaptation plans. Additionally, adapting to the inevitable changes to the climate is a significant part of the City of Edinburgh’s 2030 Climate Strategy. Therefore, this year, we have expanded the section on resilience (renamed from adaptation last year) to take a much more structured approach like the Carbon Management Plan section.
We hope this encourages your organisation to implement a fully developed plan for climate resilience this year if you haven’t already. The Cultural Adaptations toolkit is a great place to start if you need to develop an adaptation plan.
Climate justice is a term that describes how we must respond to the fact that the impacts of and responsibility for climate change are highly unequal. Those who are worst affected by climate change are the poorer and more disadvantaged and are generally those who have contributed least to the greenhouse gas emissions that cause it. This includes poorer nations, former colonies, or indigenous peoples internationally, while in Scotland specifically it includes working class people, disabled people, ethnic minorities, and others. Read our guide to climate justice for cultural organisations.
This year, to highlight the importance of viewing everything through a climate justice lens, we have introduced questions about the climate justice impacts and considerations of your organisation’s carbon management, influence, and adaptation actions.
Increasing data quality
We are using a new platform to host the reporting survey this year: Zoho Forms. This has enabled us to add specific logic, so you are only shown questions relevant to your organisation. For example, you will be asked if you are able to report audience travel emissions. If you say no, you will not be shown the question that gives space for you to write these emissions. Therefore, we will know that you have not got this data rather than you just missed out that question or forgot to fill it out.
Additionally, Zoho Forms allows better answer validation so you can be sure that you are inputting the correct data.
Another great feature of Zoho Forms is calculated fields. This has enabled us to programme the survey to calculate your organisation’s emissions as it goes, meaning you will be told your carbon footprint and how it breaks down into different categories while you are filling out the survey. In previous years, organisations have had to wait until they receive their feedback reports for this information.
Understanding the needs of the sector
If you can’t provide a specific emissions value, we want to provide support to help you understand these emissions in the future. Therefore, if you can’t provide the data, a new question asking why you are unable to provide this information will be shown. This will allow you to explain the barriers you are currently facing and how Creative Carbon Scotland can help you over the coming year.
Reporting organisations will receive more information via email. During the reporting period, please make good use of the full question-by-question guidance we have available. Green Arts Development Officer, Matthew Belsey, is running three support workshops in May and June, and is also very happy to provide one-to-one support as needed.
Summary of key dates for 2022/23 reporting
- Reporting survey launches – w/c 15 May 2023
- Online support workshops (further details to follow) – three dates between 29 May and 22 June 2023
- Survey deadline – 28 July 2023
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