COP26 Highlights: How To Make Sure Art Goes Green (Recording + Highlights)

This week on ArtEvolve we were joined by Kate Rosser-Frost, Head of Communications at DACS, and Annika Erikson, CEO and founder of Articheck. We discussed the COP26 climate change summit and making ‘build back better’ more than just a slogan.


COP26 Art World Highlights


We Don’t Have Time’s Innovation and Digitalization broadcast, part of their Exponential Climate Action Summit series. (Their last summit attracted over 10 million viewers so this was a great opportunity to shine a light on the art world at a crucial time). Articheck CEO Annika Erikson spoke about how technology can help our cultural institutions transition to more sustainable practices and the role of culture in educating society on holding governments accountable for COP26 commitments. Watch Annika’s 5-minute presentation here.


Annika has also written an article for the UN Climate Champions, highlighting pilot projects from several art organisations already using technology to enact sustainable solutions. You can read it here: Opinion: As the trusted educators of society, museums and galleries are key to keeping 1.5C alive


Culture: The Missing Link, chaired by Alison Tickell, founder and CEO of Julie’s Bicycle, in the COP green zone explored the vital role that arts and culture must play in climate transformation. Featuring artists, activists and environmental experts, the discussion looked at creative and cultural responses to the climate crisis and art’s unique capacity to raise awareness and create action. Catch up here.


The culture sector mobilizes – as we’ve seen from other global political summits, the arts and culture sector make their voice heard in all kinds of ways. Check out this picture round-up of murals, street and protest art as captured by photographer Katherine Anne Rose. We especially like Scottish artist Robert Montgomery’s solar-powered light installation Grace of the Sun, which urges people to switch to renewables and is powered by clean energy.


Why is the art world important in driving systems change?


Although there are other industries with a much larger environmental footprint, the role of arts and culture in driving sustainable practices should not be understated. It is society that must hold everyone accountable for the agreements made at COP26 and the arts help society think. Museums and galleries are trusted educators and, therefore, a key, not just to spreading the sustainable message, but also to sharing progress, challenges, and success stories.

To do this effectively, and maintain the public’s trust, our cultural institutions must themselves transition to sustainable practices too.


What can art organizations do now to make a difference?


Articheck and DACS have published a joint briefing that outlines six actions the cultural sector can take to help make our institutions more sustainable. We are also calling on governments to support these actions and help drive systems change.


  • Invest in cross-institutional working and remote collaboration – using technology to lower costs and carbon footprints, e.g. with Virtual Courier organizations can oversee the transit of artwork remotely and reduce staff travel.
  • Use alternative shipping methods – shipping by sea freight instead of air reduces carbon emissions by 95-6%. (We tackled this topic in our recent webinar ‘Making Art Fair Shipping Sustainable‘.)
  • Embed sustainability into teams – technology and training can alleviate fear of change. Creating sustainability roles, either full or part time, brings expertise and confidence that many organizations need to make changes.
  • Invest in buildings management – relaxing temperature and humidity ranges can save 24-35% on energy costs. (Find out why adjusting the energy dial is easier than you may think.)
  • Support digitization – invest in solutions, share knowledge and contribute to wider conversations around transitioning to sustainable processes.
  • Encourage shareability – Widening who has access to cultural heritage through online exhibitions, digital collections and increased, online public engagement.

Click here to read the briefing in full and please feel free to share!


Thank you to our guest, Kate Rosser-Frost of DACS, for joining us!