February 23, 2021
Meredith Blechman

Sustainability Initiatives in the Art Industry

Sustainability continues to be on top of our mind and a priority for Arta. At the end of last year, we announced our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and promoting sustainability. We released a white paper, produced our first shipping emissions audit, and made a donation to old-growth forest conservation. This is only the beginning.

We are excited to see a positive shift underway within the arts sector, an industry that formerly was slow to act in making sustainability a priority. And while nearly 90% of our clients told us in a recent survey that reducing their carbon footprint or committing to more environmentally-friendly operations was a priority for their business in 2021, so many don’t know where to start. Here’s a list of some resources we recommend for those of you looking to learn more and take action.

1. Gallery Climate Coalition

Launched in 2020, the Gallery Climate Coalition (GCC) is a UK-based non-profit organization that most notably offers a free-to-use carbon calculator tool, which has been tailored to the needs of the commercial arts sector. The tool is designed to help estimate the total carbon footprint of your business based on metrics common to most art galleries in today’s international art world.  This is the first step in understanding your impact on the environment: it allows you to more easily identify the biggest areas in need of improvement and clarify where reductions can be made. The GCC also offers a range of online resources such as actionable guidelines, carbon audit reports, case studies, and a series of videos.

2. Galleries Commit

A New York-based initiative that launched in 2020, Galleries Commit is a worker-led collective made up of a group of galleries, artists, and allies, who have all signed a commitment to a climate-conscious future. Galleries Commit has created a Climate Action Plan template as a framework for structuring a plan, and offers a ‘Climate Action Database’ platform sharing examples of plans from galleries, actions that others have already taken, and so many useful tools and resources to help support change. You can find survey data from galleries who publicly signed the pledge, notes from past roundtable discussions, and a ‘take action’ page with a few ways to get involved, including contributing to a conservation project in Peru, which is a great way to address your carbon footprint.

3. Art to Zero

A New York-based organization, Art to Zero builds the capacity of organizations across the visual arts to take action on climate and works directly with individual partners to help them transition to clean energy. Providing resources, strategic and implementation support, Art to Zero offers solutions pathways that follow emergent and hybrid models for the non-profit, commercial and institutional sectors. Their website launches next week and they will continually be updating this shared information hub with insights gained from their ongoing work.  

4. Julie’s Bicycle

Launched in 2007, Julie’s Bicycle is a London-based non-profit that works with the arts and creative industries to navigate climate change and broader environmental sustainability. Julie’s Bicycle hosts climate conversations and sustainability courses, as well as provides ‘Creative Green Tools,’ which are a free set of unique carbon calculator tools developed specifically for the creative industries. Many public institutions in the art industry have made great strides by working with Julie’s Bicycle.

5. Ki Culture

Ki Culture is an Amsterdam-based non-profit organization that has created a program called Ki Futures to help cultural groups of all sizes implement sustainability plans. At the core of their program are Ki Books, which are step-by-step how-to guides outlining actions you can take and cover various topics such as Waste and Materials, Social Sustainability, and Energy. These books are available to download for free here. The Ki Futures program also includes other resources such as sustainability consultants (Ki Coaches), PR kits, and a network of other professionals working towards the same goal.

Though this is not an exhaustive list, there are so many other great resources and exciting new sustainability initiatives. We encourage our clients, partners, and colleagues to join us in the conversation and share any steps you are taking so we can collectively work together towards a greener, more sustainable future. For questions about sustainability, please email hello@arta.io.

Meredith Blechman

Meredith is a marketer with 15+ years of experience across CPG, ad agency, consumer tech and SaaS. She spent the last 10 years building marketing teams and strategy at early to mid-stage tech startups. Now, she consult for climate-focused companies.

About Arta

We provide end-to-end logistics solutions for merchants and marketplaces worldwide.

We’re continuously evolving our e-commerce infrastructure for the global collectibles industry through automated transaction, fulfillment, and post-purchase technology. Arta's software provides instant shipping and handling quotes for any item type, regardless of size, material, or price point. Our API automates shipping and fulfillment for high-value items, providing a frictionless purchasing experience for our clients’ buyers.

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