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Arts Council England to embed environmental sustainability into funding

  • Date: 24 February 2012
  • Area: National

Speaking at the Tipping Point conference in Newcastle, Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England has today announced that the Arts Council is the first arts funding body in the world to embed environmental sustainability into the funding agreements of its major programmes.

As a minimum requirement, National portfolio organisations and Major Partner museums will need to measure and improve their water and energy use. The Arts Council is committed to embedding environmental sustainability into all of its funding programmes over the next three years.

Alan Davey also announced the Arts Council's new partnership with leading arts environmental specialists Julie's Bicycle. This is an enabling partnership, designed to provide practical support and expertise for funded organisations and empower them to develop innovative approaches to sustainability.

Alan Davey said in his speech:

'Our commitment is motivated by both ethical concern and economic imperative.

'Investing to improve the environmental performance of arts organisations makes hard-headed financial sense. In a single year, Theatre Royal Plymouth saved £10,000 just be changing its water management system; the Sage Gateshead has saved 44 per cent on its electricity per concert by changing light bulbs and air conditioning filters; installing new LED lighting has saved Royal and Derngate Theatre 60 per cent on their utility costs.

'We are delighted to be working with Julie's Bicycle to offer the kind of expert, practical support organisations need to significantly reduce their environmental impact. This partnership will help organisations across the country make a fundamental change in their environmental approach, ensuring the arts in England are at the forefront of responding to the challenges of climate change.'

Download Alan Davey's full speech

Alison Tickell, Chief Executive, Julie's Bicycle, commented:

'Arts Council England has shown visionary thinking, well ahead of all other cultural policies internationally, by making the environment a critical consideration for arts practice and business. This will give the creative community the opportunity to do what the arts are so good at: reflecting and shaping public values, and, through the Arts Council funding requirements, at a scale commensurate with the issue.'

The Tipping Point conference, in partnership with Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability, is a major national gathering of artists and scientists exploring arts and culture and environmental issues.

Arts Council England has also published an Environmental sustainability report, which looks at our own environmental impact and the impact of changes made in technical performance, use of resources and organisational behaviours. The report shows that there has been a 31 per cent reduction in our electricity, gas and water bills since 2008/09, equivalent to a 40 per cent reduction in Co2 emissions.

Download the Environmental sustainability report

Visit our environmental sustainability section