Climate change is the biggest global challenge of our times. If, at all levels of society and organisation, we can work together to reduce carbon emissions while also planning how to adapt to change, we can prevent climate change from making our planet uninhabitable.
Experience from manufacturing and other business sectors has shown that the best way to reduce emissions is to plan ahead. The principle is the same for arts organisations. Creating a carbon management plan (CMP) starts with examining the sources of the emissions from your past activities and finding lower carbon ways to achieve your objectives.
Before you start, make sure you have at least a basic awareness of your organisation’s carbon footprint. Have a look at our page on Understanding your carbon emissions to help you. The measurement and collection of data is the first step in planning how to reduce your emissions.
Many organisations will experience the double win of reducing energy bills and related emissions by identifying energy-saving techniques or better ways to travel.
Making your CMP
For carbon management planning, it’s best if you can focus on the emissions that show up as most significant in your emissions reporting. Consider energy, travel, and waste as a starting point. You may want to consult some of our resources on actions you could consider committing to:
Like so many aspects of sustainability, a CMP will look a little different for everyone, but is based on some underlying principles. The image below should guide your thinking as you build your understanding of your carbon footprint through emissions reporting and as you make and implement your CMP.
When plans don’t go to plan…
It isn’t always possible to focus on the more significant parts of your footprint if you don’t have access to data or if you don’t have control over the space you use. Some emissions are also an unavoidable part of making and sharing good work.
With this in mind, and recognising that the positive impact of the arts can often come through influencing others, CMPs can include emissions that aren’t part of your direct carbon footprint, but that you can influence and at least provisionally measure. For example, as well as looking at staff and artist travel, you could focus on reducing participant and audience travel, as long as you’re able to gather data.
Like all plans, the outcomes of changes may not always be what we expect, with results in some cases exceeding expectations and in others disappointing, but in all cases our understanding grows.
You can use any format that fits your organisation, as long as it includes specific, measurable, realistic commitments. We recommend using our carbon management planning summary Tool to present key commitments on a year by year basis. This is the standard format used by Creative Scotland RFOs.
Review your plan regularly to ensure your projects are on target, monitor the outcomes, and adapt it if it could work better for your organisation.
Tools and resources
We offer a range of tools and resources to help you understand and reduce your carbon footprint:
We also offer training workshops and one to one advice for organisations starting to measure their emissions, as well as online resources to inspire you about actions you could take in our Green Arts Portal, and an opportunity to connect with others and share best practice through the Green Arts Initiative.