Sustainability in Action
Sustainability in Action reconvened for a second edition in Los Angeles in 2023. It brought together institutional voices, climate activists, artists, members of art sustainability networks and professionals from other galleries and across the wider art world—all active participants in the effort to promote deeper education and identify opportunities that will galvanize progress. A series of panels focussed on action—sharing experience, research and knowledge in the search for effective ways to address climate change and reduce the environmental impacts of the art industry. Developed by our Global Head of Environmental Sustainability, Cliodhna Murphy, the conference provided a place for in-person conversation and debate.
Invited speakers covered three major topics as catalysts for discussion of new ways to work and plan collaboratively:
• Today’s Future: What Does a Sustainable Art World Look Like?
• Operating Systems and Behavioral Shifts
• Environmental Justice, Collectives and Art’s Changing Shape
Learn more about Sustainability in Action 2023 here.
In 2022 our edition of Sustainability in Action in Somerset brought together artists, museum professionals, collectors and gallerists. It followed four key themes, exploring the artists and commissioners who are working towards environmental best practice; collectors who are actively supporting climate conscious approaches; galleries that are taking immediate action; and organizations that are implementing changes within the supply chain.
Some of the key learnings were:
• Carbon mapping and understanding the metrics are essential, you can’t manage what you can’t measure
• Clients are increasingly open to alternative and slower transportation of artworks in the post-sale process, and this initiative must be led by galleries. To navigate the challenges of sea freight it is incumbent on sellers to offer this choice of shipping to clients, work with insurers and get internal teams’ engagement
Watch our 2022 edition here.
Gallery Climate Coalition (GCC)
We support the development of a meaningful and industry-specific response to the climate crisis and have been patrons of the GCC since 2020. We have qualified as a 2022 Active Member by demonstrating that our organization has implemented environmental sustainability best practice in line with GCC guidance. Active Membership is not a certification of sustainability nor a claim that we are doing things perfectly or have all the answers—none of us are at this point. We align with the GCC's targets and reduction strategies as our sector needs collective, shared standards of sustainable practice. The GCC has been instrumental in evolving the resources, tools and research driven reports that have aided the development of Hauser & Wirth’s approach to environmental sustainability.
Our Global Head of Environmental Sustainability, Cliodhna Murphy, is a member of the London GCC regional group and a volunteer for their activities.
As participants in the Galleries Commit Climate Action 8x8 Campaign, Hauser & Wirth have committed to acting on 8 key areas of climate impact in 2023. Our Climate Action Plan can be viewed here.
See here for a workshop on setting a climate action plan.
Artist-led sustainability platform Artists Commit has developed the concept of a Climate Impact Report for specific exhibitions to enable our team to cut emissions and reduce waste from these projects. Our first Climate Impact report was carried out and published via Artists Commit for the Gustav Metzger exhibition we hosted at Hauser & Wirth Somerset in 2021. The gallery team worked to produce an environmentally-responsible exhibition and achieve a low carbon footprint by matching the environmental impact of the exhibition with the sustainability interests at the heart of Metzger’s practice. Read the report here.
Iwan Wirth, President, Hauser & Wirth: ‘We commend initiatives such as the Gallery Climate Coalition and Galleries Commit which are helping to galvanize the art world to take positive action. As we take this journey and learn from it, we will also share knowledge with our wider art community and, in doing so, create opportunities for greater change. Each day we are taking steps to find new, increasingly innovative, and more sustainable ways of conducting our business. The scale of the challenges facing all of us will require both immediate action and long-term commitment. The state of our planet has long been of critical concern to our artists, including Mika Rottenberg, George Condo and Rashid Johnson, who inspired our land conservation partnership with Art to Acres.’
You can listen to Iwan Wirth discuss the gallery’s efforts with Dr. Haley Mellin and CNBC’s Tania Bryer. Learn more →
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