Sustainability and the Art Market

September 13, 2023

We explore the key findings around Sustainability and the art market, as discussed during the 2023 Art Business Conference.

Over the past year, substantial progress has been made in aligning the art market with sustainability goals. Let's take a closer look:

Gallery Climate Coalition (GCC):

The Gallery Climate Coalition (GCC) was established in 2020 and now has over 1000 members worldwide; it is actively working to make the art world more eco-friendly. Arcual is a recognised member of the GCC, emphasising our commitment to sustainability. Read our full Environmental Responsibility Statement here.

Carbon Accounting:

More art companies are now taking accountability for their carbon emissions. This trend signifies a growing awareness of the environmental impact of the art industry.

Sustainable Shipping:

A positive shift was seen in the art world's attitude towards shipping in 2022. Insurers are now more willing to transport art via sea, reducing the carbon footprint associated with air freight.

Sustainable Growth:

Despite a 20% increase in global art shipping in 2022, emissions decreased. This showcases the possibility of expanding business operations while minimising environmental impact by taking measures such as reducing air travel.

Sea Freight for Sustainability:

The establishment of a sea freight shipping route between London and New York, and London and Hong Kong, in collaboration between Crozier and Christie's in 2022, has been a notable success. Expanding such initiatives represents a promising path forward.

Supply Chain Focus:

Accenture emphasised the importance of understanding the art business's supply chain, as it contributes to more than 75% of carbon emissions. Collaboration and alignment with suppliers are crucial to achieving sustainability goals.

Collectors and Sea Freight:

Collectors are increasingly interested in environmentally friendly shipping options, with many realising the viability of sea freight, especially for non-urgent shipments.

A Cultural Shift:

Shippers are working to foster a culture that prioritises responsible decision-making over rapid delivery. The recognition that not everything needs to be delivered urgently can significantly reduce carbon emissions.

Tech and Sustainability:

The migration of art activities online during the pandemic raised questions about the environmental impact of technology. The Arcual blockchain is committed to being sustainable and energy-efficient. We don't use a proof-of-work consensus that results in a high carbon footprint, but a consensus mechanism - known as proof-of-authority - that remains energy-efficient and fast, even as the blockchain network scales up. Learn more about this and our use of Zero Knowledge Proof (ZKPs) technology here.

The Art Business Conference highlighted the significant progress made in the art world's sustainability journey over the past year. Simultaneously, the need for collective action, responsible decision-making, and innovative solutions to further reduce the environmental footprint of the art industry is ongoing. Arcual is committed to seeing sustainability practices become not just a trend, but a necessity in the art world, ensuring that green truly becomes the new black.

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