It is an undeniable fact that the world is facing a series of connected environmental crises. When working with technology, one can be removed from the impact our actions have on the environment. However, it is crucial that all companies acknowledge and commit to making improvements. Servers require electricity, and often, this energy is not from the most sustainable sources.
Without urgent action from across society, these problems will rapidly escalate. Specifically, in October 2022, the UN warned that the world’s governments are not yet on track to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees celsius, and the window for action is rapidly closing. In March 2023, the UN Chief mentioned it is imperative to “delivery the sustainable future that our climate needs, and our children and grandchildren deserve”. We are already seeing the impact of existing climate change through devastating droughts, storms, and floods across the world. Related crises include collapsing biodiversity, dangerous levels of air pollution, and plastic contamination in our rivers and oceans.
The art world has an important role to play. Arts organisations – particularly in the Global North – can have a disproportionately large impact on the environment, mainly through international travel, shipping, and the high use of energy and materials. Arcual is committed to playing our part in helping reduce these impacts in line with what science is telling us. In this Environmental Responsibility Statement, we will set out how we intend to use our public platform and cultural influence as a company, to set a positive example about best energy practices, encouraging and supporting others in the art ecosystem to take action and help shift the public debate.
First of all, sustainability comes in many guises. Besides the environmental concerns, there are important societal changes that need to take place. At Arcual, we provide artists, collectors, and galleries with customisable, empowering digital tools and integrations which can help ensure verified transactions, digital authenticity, royalty sharing, and secure international payments for physical artworks, aligning with our mission to create a more equal art ecosystem.
Moreover, to fulfil a mission of sustainable progress, we need to take urgent environmental action. Art, and the artists who create works of art, are threatened across the world by the climate crisis; those from marginalised communities and cultures are most at risk, whilst also holding many of the most effective solutions to the climate crisis. The increased use of technology can be a solution as well as a hindrance to our environmental goals.
As an organisation, we know that our main direct environmental impacts include flights to art fairs and events. We have committed to tackling these impacts by:
The categorised actions we are taking to meet these targets include:
In order to take full responsibility for our emissions, at the end of each financial year, we also plan to set aside a specific amount per tonne of CO2e to a Strategic Climate Fund, rather than purchasing carbon offsets. (Details of Arcual’s exact quantity will be published later this year, once we have reviewed the 2023 baseline). Following guidance from the Gallery Climate Coalition, this money will be spent on measures to accelerate our emissions reductions and support frontline climate solutions around the world that are making an immediate difference. We will report on how we have spent this money at the end of each financial year. We aim to take action in line with the principles of climate justice, recognising the connections between the climate crisis and other global injustices. We want our environmental actions to support - rather than undermine or ignore - the needs of people on the frontlines of marginalisation and injustice.
We have set these targets and are taking action knowing that we aren’t yet doing everything right. We still have a great deal to do and much to learn. We welcome feedback from our artists, galleries, audiences and stakeholders on these targets and our plans for action.