#2 Footprint: decarbonise & limit harm

Your journey might focus on greening your footprint, as a way to model best practice, to transform practices across your sector such as touring or catering, or because your operation is on such a large-scale that you will make a significant contribution by cutting your emissions and limiting harm from ecocide.

An example is the National Theatre whose emergency declaration involved setting ambitious targets to move towards net carbon zero, having already cut its energy, waste and water carbon impacts by a quarter since 2016.

Artwork by Gavin Turk

Measure & reduce the footprint of your practice

  • Go beyond a focus on Carbon Footprint to include a wider ecological footprint, aiming to positively benefit people, place and planet.
  • For example, look at ways to improve air quality and reduce use of plastics. Or reduce use of materials that are obtained from deforestation or animal cruelty.
  • As well as energy consumption and waste, consider the impact of food and merchandise.
  • Encourage the re-use and sharing of materials and products.

Balance the needs of planet & cultural industries

  • Focus on ensuring that workers & communities have alternative means to thrive, as you reduce the footprint of your practice.
  • For example, reduce dependency on flight-based tourism and touring of arts productions, while enabling a just transition for cultural workers disrupted by pandemics.

Consider the impact of finance

  • Resist and work to end cultural sponsorship by harmful industries, particularly fossil fuels. Be aware of how ecocidal companies seek social licence to operate through support for culture and education.
  • How can you generate revenue from being more green? Support ecological enterprise within your cultural practice: develop, promote or sell products & services with green materials, designs and methods.

Think differently about the power of culture

  • Expand definitions of culture beyond notions of commodity, virtuosity or as a carrier of messages.
  • Include ideas of culture connecting people to place.
  • Consider the power of culture to overcome social attitudes that make it normal to harm nature and exploit people and animals.

Inspiration and Resources

Culture sector guidance

Degrowth and decarbonisation

Decarbonising Finance

  • Ethical sponsorship: Make a pledge to be Oil Sponsorship Free, or find resources on Culture Unstained
  • Pensions and Divestment: Shifting investment into low-carbon options could increase global GDP by roughly 5% by 2050, if we take into account the creation of new opportunities and the avoidance of the human and capital costs of climate change, from air pollution, coastal flooding, storm damage, drought and more.

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Pathways to action

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