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Implementing more sustainable and eco-friendly business practices

At last the art world is catching up and sounding the alarm on the industries impact and contribution on climate change

Thiago Rocha Pitta, The Green Shelter, 2017

This week, in a first for the auction industry, Christie's has pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2030. The auction house aims to do this by focusing on shipping, publishing, buildings and travel. It has committed to a 50% reduction in carbon emissions and the provision of recyclable packing, (limited) printed material and reusable crates.

Instead of focusing on carbon neutrality by purchasing carbon offsets, the house is in fact looking to achieve a net-zero carbon which is much more difficult to achieve as the emissions will need to be reduced through changed behavior.

Christie’s Principle Emissions in tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. Courtesy of Christie’s.

Furthermore, the auction house has joined the recently created Gallery Climate Coalition. Another major market player that has joined the Gallery Climate Coalition recently is the gallery Hauser & Wirth. In addition, Hauser & Wirth announced this week that it is looking to hire a full time Head of Environmental Sustainability to half the galleries carbon emissions by 2030. The gallery is introducing a new way of looking at costs by allocating a "carbon budget" for every fair and show. Moreover, areas carbon savings are likely to be made are air travel, freight and renewable energy for the galleries.

Laurent Mercier, Managing Partner at Marauni Mercier provided earlier this year a helpful step by step plan on how galleries could look to offset their carbon emissions. The areas he suggests to focus on are as follows:

1) Reduce your greenhouse gas emissions (reduce your business travel by plane and review your commute, ship more freight via sea instead of by air and buy green electricity from renewable sources only.)

2) Calculate the remaining carbon footprint

3) Take responsibility by financially offsetting those emissions by investing in planet-saving initiatives

In order for it to work the goals must be specific and the organizations will need to be held accountable and transparent about progress and report regularly. Climate change has started to play an increasingly more important role in investment decisions, as well as that the millennial collectors in particular are very positive of these initiatives when it comes to making decision who to work with going forward.

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