Sexy Peat - Highland Print Studio / Cape Farewell (photo: Kacper Kowalski)

This page is here to give you some background to the Environment connecting theme and to outline how you might implement the Environment outcomes in your work and organisation.

You can also find out more about our work towards a Climate Emergency and Sustainability Plan, and recent climate-related activities we've supported, in the following pages.

A Climate Emergency and Sustainability Plan for Creative Scotland

We have commissioned a collaborative project team, led by Creative Carbon Scotland and including experts in carbon emissions reduction, public bodies and sustainability policy, adaptation, capacity building and cultural practice, to help lead the work we do to address the climate emergency.

Recent activity

An overview of some recent climate change related activities we've supported.

What do we mean by the environment?

We are committed to operating in an environmentally sustainable manner and will work to ensure that individuals and organisations that we support do the same. In 2012 we developed and published our Environment Policy, to guide all of our work.

On one relatively simple level, this involves reducing our impacts on the environment, including our carbon emissions (a legal requirement), resource use and waste streams; many of these are measurable, depending on circumstances. On a more complex level, it can involve influencing others, be they audiences, suppliers, other cultural organisations, networks and creative practitioners, or local communities and businesses.


Reducing Direct Environmental Impacts

Like most activities, the arts, screen and creative industries have an impact on the environment, but we recognise that the environmental challenges facing arts, screen and creative industries are diverse and complex, reflecting the wide spectrum of activities undertaken.

There are now legal requirements concerning carbon emissions: the Climate Change (Scotland) Act (2009) requires all public bodies, including Creative Scotland, to work to deliver the aims of the Act and help reduce Scotland’s carbon emissions. We are therefore required to report our emissions annually.

We aim to see the arts, screen and creative industries show leadership in reducing their environmental impacts and carbon footprint and have sustainable behaviours embedded in their organisations and their work, with the additional cost reductions that this can often bring.

Other environmental impacts besides carbon emissions are also important. Some aspects of resource use and waste streams can be measured in terms of their equivalent carbon emissions, others can nonetheless be monitored and reduced.

Influencing Others

The arts, screen and creative industries influence the wider public through their communication of ideas, emotions and values. Indeed, this influence is seen by many as the unique and distinctive contribution that these sectors make to addressing the troubling environmental changes taking place, and the risks we face.

We are keen, then, to see how the arts, screen and creative industries use their influence, through the work they produce and present, through the way in which they operate and through their communication with their audiences, networks, and partners.

What does this mean in practice?

Measuring and reporting carbon emissions and other environmental impacts is the essential first step to reducing them. With support from Creative Scotland, Creative Carbon Scotland has developed a framework to facilitate reporting, to provide a standard across the sector, useful to organisations in reducing their carbon emissions and compliant with other organisations seeking information such as local authorities, British and International Standards.

Carbon reduction

  • Do you or your organisation measure your carbon emissions?
  • Have you been able to identify areas where you might be able to make reductions?
  • Have you managed to compare your carbon emissions with similar organisations or people undertaking similar work as you?  Has it helped you to understand where savings could be made, including financial savings?


These questions can help with environmental planning:

  • Do you understand your environmental impact, for example by measuring and reporting on your energy and resource usage, waste, and travel?
  • Do you have an environmental policy or action plan?
  • Is environmental thinking reflected across all your policies and plans?
  • Is there someone in your organisation who is responsible for environmental sustainability?
  • Is your commitment to the environment embedded throughout your organisation, your policies, your Business plan, and Operational plan?

People & Governance

  • Do you have staff or Board members with responsibility for environmental issues?
  • Are there clear lines of environmental governance within the organisation, with appropriate address to environmental risk?
  • Is there a ‘Green Champion’ and/or a team actively addressing environmental issues?


  • Do you plan to produce or programme work which engages creatively and aesthetically with environmental issues?
  • Do you have an imaginative and aesthetic approach to the environment in your programming?
  • How might you encourage environmental sustainability through the way you engage audiences, present or distribute your work?
  • How might you share best practice with other arts and community organisations?

Wider Influence

  • Can you seek to influence others with whom you engage: audiences, suppliers, venues, other cultural organisations and networks, creative practitioners, local communities and businesses, sponsors?

Useful resources

Creative Scotland Environment Policy and Action Plan 2018-21.

Creative Carbon Scotland

Creative Carbon Scotland provides free training and support for organisations receiving regular funding from Creative Scotland. Useful tools which help benchmark against similar organisations are available free via Creative Carbon Scotland’s Green Arts Portal (GAP). The GAP also provides ideas and resources to help arts, screen and creative industry organisations reduce carbon emissions.

See our feature on how Creative Carbon Scotland are helping organisations measure and manage their carbon emissions.

Julie’s Bicycle

Julie’s Bicycle provides a number of practical guides for different sectors in the arts and creative industries.