Helping cultural organisations contribute to Scotland's sustainability

In this guest piece, Creative Carbon Scotland takes a look at upcoming requirements for funded organisations to make plans to reduce their carbon emissions, with a range of support available to support this vital area of work.

From April 2018 onwards Creative Scotland will require all Regularly Funded Organisations, as part of their funding agreements, to develop plans to reduce the carbon emissions related to at least one aspect of their activities. Organisations supported through Open Project Funding and Targeted Funding are also encouraged to do the same. These plans can be modest or ambitious but above all should be realistic, achievable and measurable.

Through demonstrating best practice and inspiring audiences, the cultural sector can make a huge difference in encouraging sustainable behaviour.- Kenneth Fowler, Director of Communications

There are already lots of examples of organistations taking action to manage their carbon emissions; whether it’s the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo saving 25,000 litres of water through installing waterless urinals,  the Edinburgh Festival Fringe swap shop or Film City Glasgow offering cheaper coffee for customers using reusable cups, the Dundee Rep saving energy through installing LED lighting, or Eco-Drama touring in their van running on 100% recycled vegetable oil.

Eco Drama Magic Van

"The commitment to environmental sustainability demonstrated by the cultural sector in Scotland has already been extensive, impactful and hugely positive," says Kenneth Fowler, Director of Communications at Creative Scotland. "Following on from carbon reporting, environmental planning is the natural next step.

"Through demonstrating best practice and inspiring audiences, we can make a huge difference in encouraging sustainable behaviour. We are very pleased to support Creative Carbon Scotland in helping creative organisations make this important contribution to Scotland’s sustainability."

How to plan

Organisations will be offered a full programme of support for this new area of work by Creative Carbon Scotland. Support for creating and implementing Carbon Management Planning will consist of:

  • A Carbon Management Tool - A new recording and planning tool which will allow you to integrate your existing recording and new planning work to help you identify and assess reduction projects
  • Carbon Management Training - Training in workshops and webinars in early 2018 for individuals responsible for programming and Green Champions
  • Carbon Management Support – One to one support available by phone, email and face to face meetings on request. We will also be offering webinars on carbon management in November 2017 to early adopters to pilot and improve our support.

Carbon Management will also be a key topic at the Green Arts Conference in Glasgow this November, with presentations of the tool and specific sessions to develop understanding of how to start planning.

Green Arts Conference - tickets available

The support provided by Creative Carbon Scotland will be focused on Regularly Funded Organisations as they will be required to develop Carbon Management Plans by September 2018, but will be open to all. Organisations applying for Open Project Funding and Targeted Funding are encouraged to include Carbon Management Plans on a voluntary basis within their applications from April 2018.

Why plan?

When Creative Scotland introduced mandatory annual environmental reporting as part of the funding conditions for Regularly Funded Organisations the response was overwhelmingly positive. Individuals and organisations have successfully taken on the task of recording data on their carbon emissions, finding ways to integrate the task and making it part of their normal operations with over 99% of organisations having reported in 2015/16.

This has been a learning process for us all and has taken time, effort and patience. During this time, Creative Carbon Scotland has been meeting with Green Champions from organisations, running training workshops and answering queries on everything from the carbon footprint of a website to finding the best way for musicians to travel by ferry. Up to now the emphasis has been on recording data to develop knowledge and without targets for reduction, but as has been the case in other sectors, carbon reporting has led automatically to people identifying ways of reducing their carbon emissions. Workshop participants have reported that the process of recording emissions has instilled a growing confidence in their ‘Carbon Literacy’ and an appreciation of the benefits of managing resources to save carbon.

The data collected and reported by the Regularly Funded Organisations is now providing a clearer picture of where the largest carbon impacts are for those working in the creative sector in Scotland. From the reporting so far it’s been identified that 93% of emissions from theatres are from utilities and 84% of a Tenant’s emissions come from travel. The experience gained and the systems developed for collecting the data have put us more in control and many Green Champions are already experimenting with ways to reduce their footprint.

This new phase will build on the information collected but will involve more learning and development of different systems. Experience from manufacturing and other business sectors has shown that the best way to reduce emissions is to plan ahead, to examine the sources of the emissions from past activities and make changes to find better, lower carbon ways to achieve our objectives. Like all plans, the outcomes of changes may not be what we expect with results in some cases exceeding expectations and in others disappointing but in all cases our understanding grows.

Book tickets for the Green Arts Conference: Spotlight on Sustainability.

Book a place on Creative Carbon Scotland's early adopter carbon management webinars in November 2017.

This article was published on 29 Sep 2017