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Arts Council England releases environmental report, Sustaining Great Art


In 2012 the Arts Council introduced environmental reporting and policy requirements for its 704 major revenue funded organisations. The Arts Council partnered with Julie’s Bicycle, specialists in environmental sustainability for the arts, to support the organisations in meeting the requirements.

Sustaining Great Art summarises the results of the first year.

The findings are very encouraging: 90% of organisations engaged with the programme and nearly 400 provided enough data to identify energy and water savings; 62 cultural buildings went a step further providing sufficient data to point to £810,000 of savings from energy use combined.

The report highlights the scale of the issue – nearly half of the carbon footprint was generated by 28 of the major organisations which shows the scale of potential opportunities.

This move by Arts Council England has already raised interest worldwide; examples include the International Federation of Arts Councils and Cultural Agencies and also Creative Scotland who will be introducing similar environmental reporting as of 2014.

Nearly 90% of funded organisations agreed that Arts Council environmental reporting has made or can make a positive difference to the arts sector as a whole’. This obvious support from the sector, as well as the year 1 findings, clearly shows the value for organisations getting to grips with environmental sustainability.

Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said: “Effective change will take the combined efforts of many organisations – change needs the momentum of organisational machinery. But that momentum is driven by individual voices and choices. It looks like a daunting challenge, but we should be optimistic that we can make a difference: history shows us that when humans work together they can move mountains.”

Alison Tickell, CEO, Julie’s Bicycle, said: “There has been widespread endorsement of the Arts Council’s move to build sustainability into the fabric of the cultural sector, as the business benefits, carbon literacy, positive branding and ethical case for action have all gained hold.”

• The Sustaining great art report is available to download here:

• To read more about the Arts Council’s position with regard to environmental sustainability visit our webpage here:

Notes to editors

• Julie’s Bicycle is a not for profit organisation making sustainability intrinsic to the business, art and ethics of the creative industries. To find out more about Julie’s Bicycle visit their website here:

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2010 and 2015, we will invest £1.9 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1.1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.


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