A Climate Emergency and Sustainability Plan for Creative Scotland

Vibrant sunrise at Quiraing on the Isle of Skye, Scotland.

We need an urgent step change in our ambition and commitment to address our climate emergency.

The actions we take in the coming months and years are crucial in shaping how we become a cultural public body leading the achievement of Scotland’s ‘net-zero by 2045’ target, and defining how we support our sector in a world forever altered by climate change.

We have therefore 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 this work.

Over the coming months, this project team will work with members of the Creative Scotland Board, staff, sector and key stakeholders in order to develop a comprehensive, evidence-based Climate Emergency and Sustainability Plan.

The Plan will encompass both mitigation (how we reduce our emissions) and adaptation (how we adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change). It will explore not only how Creative Scotland can address these challenges, beyond what we currently do, but also define our organisation’s role in supporting the Arts, Screen and Creative Industries to achieve their own climate ambitions.

Furthermore, the Plan will specifically seek to explore the intersections and opportunities for inclusive and equitable participation in the arts through the lens of climate justice – acknowledging that those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change are often also those who face barriers in cultural participation.

The final Plan will be adopted by Creative Scotland in early 2022, published and widely communicated.

Ensuring everyone has a voice

Active participation from people working across Scotland’s arts, screen and creative industries is essential for the successful creation and delivery of the final Plan.

A series of workshops are taking place between during summer/autumn 2021. These will discuss possible actions and strategic opportunities around a specific theme (linked to art form, administrative or specialist areas). These workshops will extend beyond the Creative Scotland staff and board to include key stakeholders (for example, sector representative bodies and other strategic partners).

The project will also:

  • gather research, data and analysis to explore how Creative Scotland’s purpose and work will be impacted by our climate emergency
  • recruit an Embedded Artist to explore the transformative potential of culture in addressing the climate emergency, specifically through the lens of climate justice (and the intersection of sustainability and equalities, diversity and inclusion)
  • align the final Plan with Creative Scotland’s strategic priorities

Context to the project

Why are we doing this?

We are facing a climate emergency. In Scotland, this is leading to warmer summers and winters, increased rainfall, reduced snowfall, sea level rise and more frequent extreme weather events.

Climate change is caused by the greenhouse gases generated in the creation of the things we buy, and the fuels we use to travel, and heat and light our homes and places of work. But it is also an inherently cultural challenge – a product of our social values with broad impacts on our way of life.

Creative Scotland has a statutory duty under the Climate Change Act (Scotland) 2009, to address climate change through mitigation, adaptation and acting sustainably and to report on its progress annually.

In April 2019, the Scottish Government declared a climate emergency; since then, 20 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities have made similar declarations.

In November 2019, the Scottish Government’s commitment to emissions reductions were increased considerably through the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019, which set targets to reduce Scotland’s emissions to net-zero by 2045 at the latest, with interim targets for reductions of at least 56% by 2020, 75% by 2030, and 90% by 2040.

Achieving net zero and the interim targets will be immensely challenging for the arts, screen and creative industries, especially in Glasgow and Edinburgh, where both cities have committed themselves to achieving net zero by 2030.

We have, until now, demonstrated our commitment to environmental sustainability, through the delivery of our Environment Action Plan and the ‘Environment’ Connecting Theme. Our work does not exist in isolation, and in distributing cultural funding and supporting wide inclusive participation in the arts, screen and creative industries, we recognise that our commitment to addressing climate change must extend to how we work with cultural individuals, projects and organisations.

Our actions to date have included requiring all Regularly Funded Organisations to report their carbon emissions and development carbon management plans and supporting Creative Carbon Scotland’s work in building capacity across the sector on elements of climate action.

This project will build on that work and seek to develop a Climate Emergency and Sustainability Plan which takes a step up in our contribution, and the contribution of Scotland’s arts, screen and creative industries, to addressing the challenge we face.

Creative Scotland contacts

Kenneth Fowler
Director of Communications and External Relations

Scott Donaldson
Head of Film Education

Creative Carbon Scotland contact

Caro Overy Carbon Management Planning Officer