Blog: Round-up of emissions and carbon reporting 2019

19th December 2019

This year, we at Creative Carbon Scotland have once again been supporting 121 Creative Scotland Regularly Funded Organisations (RFOs) to fulfil the environmental requirements of their funding. With the recently declared Climate Emergency and net zero emissions targets, our work has never been so topical.

New this year!

2019 has been the first year we have worked with organisations receiving funding from the City of Edinburgh Council’s Culture Fund to support them in their first year of creating carbon management plans, which are now required by their funding. It’s been great to welcome these organisations on board and help them think through the specific challenges they face.

Last year, all of the RFOs were asked to develop a three-year plan to manage and, ideally, reduce their carbon emissions and this year we used an online survey to ask them to give us an update on how their plans were progressing. We also collected the annual emissions data (from utilities, water, waste and travel) for last year (2018-19), which all RFOs have been required to record and report since 2016.

Having access to emissions data at the same time as information about carbon management plans meant we could give more detailed and specific feedback, looking at each organisation’s plan to reduce their emissions in the context of their current carbon footprint. Each individual feedback report charted a breakdown of the organisation’s emissions, gave a qualitative evaluation of how their carbon management plan addresses their footprint and evaluated plans on how realistic, relevant, and ambitious they were.

One hundred and fifteen organisations have provided all the information we asked for with only a very small number of organisations still finishing their environmental work for this year. Some organisations have seen less progress than they had hoped for, but a large majority of organisations are on track or exceeding targets in the carbon management plans they put in place in 2018. Most are reducing emissions and almost all have positive stories to tell about more qualitative and structural progress within organisations. All the reporting organisations see their carbon management plans as active documents informing their practices and many of these organisations have been actively contributing to the Green Arts community across Scotland for years, as we have learned during our interactions with Green Champions and colleagues over the past few months.

“The carbon management plan has taken a serious and worrying issue and turned it into a message of hope, empowering staff to feel that our actions can make a significant difference.” RFO, 2019

Interesting facts and figures about emissions reported

Now we’ve been gathering data since 2015, we’re able to build an increasingly clear picture of what emissions look like for Creative Scotland RFOs over the past four years. We classify organisations by type and use the data to help us provide them with appropriate resources and support.

Lots of factors have changed over the years:

  • There are more RFOs collecting and reporting emissions data
  • Organisations are better at collecting data (there are more data and they’re more accurate)
  • More of our electricity is coming from renewable sources so electricity is less carbon intensive, meaning less kgCO2e per kWh of electricity
  • There have been some impressive efforts by larger organisations to reduce gas and electricity use

Despite more organisations reporting that all adds up to a general downward trend in emissions for the whole group in all areas apart from travel. Reducing emissions from flights in particular remains a challenge for everyone in the arts community as we strive to lower our emissions while maintaining the world class nature of what Scotland creates and the global recognition we receive.

colour bar chart

Every organisation has different priorities and does different work – even from year to year, so we don’t spend time comparing them with each other or creating competition. We’re (actually) all learning together, after all. However, it might be interesting to see the average carbon footprint for 2018-19 for each organisation type.

Organisation Type Average carbon footprint 2018-19 Number of reporting organisations
Theatres 286 tonnes CO2e 14
Arts Centres 65 tonnes CO2e 29
Tenants 43 tonnes CO2e 67

Who’s doing what?

Here are some actions that a number of organisations are taking as part of their Carbon Management Plans

  • Rolling out LED replacements for more efficient lighting
  • Replacing boilers with more efficient models
  • Fitting secondary glazing on windows where double glazing isn’t an option
  • Investment in electric vehicles
  • Not flying for work within the UK (some organisations take this wider to not flying within Europe) and encouraging visitors to do the same

We are also very happy to see a spread of innovative projects engaging with audiences, artists and staff around climate change themes, and dealing with the specific areas some organisations work in.

Paragon Ensemble are about to start on their project ‘Whoosh!’ creating new music inspired by renewable energy, while specifically measuring and minimising the carbon emissions from the project itself.

Scottish Sculpture Workshop are starting their project to examine the sustainability of supply chains for the materials their artists use.

Organisations based at Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) are part of an active and successful Green Team, supporting each other to make lower carbon choices and understand their environmental impact

It has been a busy time for both Creative Carbon Scotland and all the RFOs getting all of this information , collecting, analysing and feeding back on all of the data but we continue to learn and get better at making great art sustainably.  Creative projects like this show us that carbon reduction can be an opportunity rather than a barrier.

Green Arts Conference 2019

We ran a popular session at the Green Arts Conference, which has been documented as a resource and includes video highlights from the speakers, Fiona Maclennan and Caro Overy: Carbon Management in the Cultural Sector: Going to Plan?

Carbon management for all!

For support on your own carbon management, whether you work for an RFO or not, please have a look at our carbon management pages, which describe the process of effective carbon management at any level, and provide a number of useful tools and resources.

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About Creative Carbon Scotland

We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

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A project initiated by Edinburgh’s Festivals with key partners the Federation of Scottish Theatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network

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