ENVIRONMENT RESPONSIBILITY STATEMENT
The world is facing a series of interrelated environmental crises. In October 2022, the UN warned that the world’s governments are not yet on track to keep global heating below 1.5 degrees, and the window for action is rapidly closing. We are already seeing the impacts of existing warming with 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. Without urgent action throughout society, these problems will rapidly escalate.
The art world has an important role to play. Arts organisations – particularly in the Global North – have a disproportionately large impact on the environment, mainly due to extensive international travel, arts shipping and their heavy use of energy and materials. We need to act urgently to reduce this impact in line with scientific advice. As arts organisations, we also have an opportunity to use our public platform and cultural influence to set a positive example by encouraging and supporting others to take action and helping to shift the public debate.
The values and mission of STAGE Bregenz enable us to not only reduce the impact on the climate by promoting contemporary international art and design within a regional context, but also drive fundamental social change by putting the creative community back at the heart of the process.
In order to be true to these values, we need to take urgent environmental action, because art and culture across the world are directly threatened by the climate crisis. And marginalised communities and cultures are most at risk. As it is being developed in an economically strong region, STAGE Bregenz is also able to serve as a platform for effective solutions to the climate crisis that will inspire other industries and regions.
We have committed ourselves to tackling these impacts by:
- joining the Gallery Climate Coalition and pledging to reduce our energy use between 2024 (1st edition) and 2028 by at least 50%,
- regularly calculating the carbon footprint of our operations, including the footprint of our exhibitors and visitors, in order to track progress towards this target and
- setting specific targets for the main parts of our footprint, including: prohibiting flights by staff and not remunerating flights by invited curators, collectors and the press and ensuring that most of our international shipping takes place by sea, rail or road rather than by air from 2024.
The actions that we are taking to meet these targets include: carefully planning our events to minimise the need for air freight and speaking to our galleries and curators about alternatives, reviewing our staff travel policies and practices and planning our attendance at international events (air travel will be neither considered nor compensated), working closely with the Festspielhaus Bregenz to find ways of reducing energy use and generating renewable power, working with other members of the Gallery Climate Coalition on the development of more sustainable packaging, transport and energy solutions for the whole sector, focussing on exhibitors, art lovers, collectors and institutions from the region, offering visitors low cost public transport within the region, speaking to our suppliers and service providers about their carbon footprint, looking for opportunities to encourage them to take action or switching to alternative, low carbon suppliers and maintaining a Green Team with representatives of different parts of the organisation that meets to track progress on all of these targets and activities at least once a month.
Rather than purchasing carbon offsets we are taking full responsibility for our emissions by setting aside € (tbd) per tonne of our CO2 emissions in a Strategic Climate Fund. In line with guidance from the Gallery Climate Coalition, this money will be spent on measures for accelerating our emissions reductions and supporting frontline climate solutions around the world that are making a difference today. We will report on how we spend this money at the end of each financial year.
We aim to take action in line with the principles of climate justice and recognise 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 inequality.
We have set these targets and are taking action in the knowledge that we’re not yet doing everything right. We still have a great deal to do and much to learn. We welcome feedback from our galleries, artists, curators, audiences and stakeholders on this environmental statement, our targets and our plans for action.
As a new fair, STAGE Bregenz is in the process of becoming an active member of the Gallery Climate Coalition. We will also actively support the development of the Guidelines for Art Fairs that are being developed by the Gallery Climate Coalition during the course of 2023.