By adopting an environmentally friendly policy artists have a unique role and can raise awareness, inspire action and promote sustainability in their work and practice. In this blog post, I will explore some of the ways that artists can adopt an environmentally friendly policy and contribute to the global efforts to combat climate change.
Why is adopting an Environmentally Friendly Policy important for artists?
An environmentally friendly policy is a set of principles and practices that aim to reduce the environmental impact of an activity or organisation. For artists, an environmentally friendly policy can help them:
- Align their values and vision with their actions and outcomes
- Enhance their reputation and credibility among audiences, funders and peers
- Save money and resources by improving efficiency and reducing waste
- Innovate and experiment with new forms and methods of expression
- Collaborate and network with other like-minded artists and organisations
- Support the wellbeing of themselves, their communities and the planet
How can artists develop an environmentally friendly policy?
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to developing a environmentally friendly policy for artists, as each artist has different goals, challenges and opportunities. However, some general steps that can help are:
- Assess the current environmental impact of your work and practice, using tools such as carbon calculators or environmental audits
- Identify the areas where you can make improvements or changes, such as energy use, materials, transport, waste management or communication
- Set realistic and measurable targets and actions for each area, based on best practices and available resources
- Monitor and evaluate your progress and impact regularly, using indicators such as carbon footprint, energy consumption or audience feedback
- Communicate and celebrate your achievements and challenges, sharing your learning and insights with others
What are some examples of environmentally friendly policies for artists?
Many artists around the world have already adopted environmentally friendly policies for their work and practice, demonstrating creativity, leadership and commitment. Here are some examples:
- Edward Burtynsky, a Canadian photographer who documents the human impact on nature, has implemented a carbon offset program for his travels and exhibitions, as well as using renewable energy sources and recycled materials for his studio and prints
- Arts Council England, the national development agency for arts and culture in England, has introduced an environmental reporting and action requirement for its funded organisations since 2012, in partnership with the climate change charity Julie’s Bicycle
- The Bristol Whales, a public art installation by Cod Steaks that featured two life-size whales made from recycled plastic bottles in Bristol Harbour in 2015, as part of the city’s Green Capital programme
- Grass Men, a performance art project by Ashley Peevor that involves wearing costumes made from living grass, exploring themes of nature, identity and transformation
How can you get involved or learn more?
If you are interested in developing an environmentally friendly policy for your work or practice, or want to learn more about the topic, there are many resources and opportunities available online. Here are some suggestions:
- Visit the Investment Principles Resource Hub by Arts Council England, which offers guidance, case studies and tools on environmental responsibility for arts and cultural organisations
- Check out the Creative Green Tools by Julie’s Bicycle, which provide free carbon calculators, certification schemes and online courses for creative professionals
- Read the Annual Report on Environmental Sustainability by Arts Council England and Julie’s Bicycle, which showcases the achievements and challenges of the funded organisations in reducing their environmental impact
- Explore the Artsy Editorial on 10 artists making urgent work about the environment
I hope this blog post has given you some inspiration and information on how to adopt a environmentally friendly policy for your work or practice as an artist. Remember that every action counts, no matter how small or big. Together, we can make a difference for ourselves, our communities and our planet.
Suppliers with green credentials
8th June 2023: Winsor & Newton announced that Winsor & Newton is now a Certified B Corporation, ™ Brand (B Corp). This means that, through their efforts to help artists make sustainable choices, they are counted among businesses that are leading a global movement for an inclusive, responsible, and regenerative planet. But what exactly does being B Corp Certified involve? Read on to learn more about B Corp and how our ongoing sustainability mission is benefitting artists and reducing our impact on the environment.