Green Arts Conference 2019

Thanks to David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg, sustainability has now become a common household term. However, for most businesses sustainability is still on the back burner given issues such as Brexit taking priority. We were pleasantly surprised after spending a day with organisations from the arts and culture sector that sustainability is at the forefront of their minds!

Recently, BG team members Oliver and McKenna attended the Creative Carbon Scotland Green Arts Conference in Edinburgh. The conference attracted members of the arts community from all parts of Scotland and the world! We decided to attend as sustainability advisors to be able to inform organisations about potential resource savings that can be made within the arts and culture industries using examples from past Beyond Green projects. 

Photo of a woman at a podium in front of a powerpoint reading 'Green Arts Conference - In the Event of a Climate Emergency...'
Green Arts conference 2019 – opening speech by Catriona patterson

During the conference, there were sessions such as ‘Carbon Management’ and ‘Climate Change Adaptation’ that highlighted the issues that arts and culture organisations are dealing with/will be impacted by in the future. An example of how climate change is already impacting the arts community came from many of the theatre organisations who explained how the ‘Beast from the East’ negatively impacted their businesses. When the storm came through in 2018, most public transport and roads were shut down due to the cold and icy conditions. Multiple theatres explained that because of the transportation shutdowns and bad road conditions, many performances had to be canceled. Normally, a performance cancellation is due to the performers themselves having to reschedule the date, but because the weather had caused the cancellation, many theatres ended up giving ticket holders a refund. This sudden refund that theatres had to give out caused theatres to lose out on thousands of pounds. 

There was then a discussion between theatres about future performances having to issue ticket insurances in order to mitigate the potential loss of revenue from weather-related events. This short example was just one of many different instances in which arts and culture organisations are already being impacted by the effects of climate change in Scotland. 

It was interesting to hear from the various arts and culture organisations that sustainability is becoming increasingly important and that some organisations even outlined how their funders have begun to ask for sustainability indicators. The day ended with an informative insight into the Scottish Government’s commitment towards sustainability for the future. 

Overall, it was an interesting day to attend and we were delighted to meet some of the arts and culture organisations who are taking steps towards a low carbon future! Our stall proved quite popular as we support businesses in many of the ways those at the conference required. We have also been asked to be represented on the Creative Carbon Scotland suppliers list where we will be signposted as resource efficiency advisors, amongst other topics.

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