The Gallery Climate Coalition is moving the art world towards a greener future.

By Madeline Brik.

Gallerists and artists are constantly moving art around the world through travel, packaging, and shipping, all of which contribute to the climate crisis. The Gallery Climate Coalition (GCC) is an organization that aims to reduce the carbon footprint in the art world.

Founded in London, the GCC is working to reach galleries and artists to join the movement towards greener practices in the commercial art sector. To do so, the GCC team created a carbon calculator that is a free resource for artists to navigate the best method for moving their art. “We worked with environmental advisors, Danny Chivers and Dr. Harris Kuemerle, to map out the different scenarios in which galleries and artist studios might build up their carbon footprint, putting a strong emphasis on international travel and shipping—a major part of emissions from today’s global art world,” said the coalition team via an email interview with Mission.

Danny Chivers and ArtLogic created the carbon calculator after conducting various case studies on galleries. They found that moving art in the air contributes the most to greenhouse gases with 435 grams of carbon dioxide per ton. The coalition aims to improve methods of transportation in the art industry by proposing greener forms of movement. The GCC research suggests that switching from plane to boat can reduce climate impact by almost 95%. With this resource, galleries and artists can quickly calculate their own potential carbon footprint for various methods of transport by inserting the route, return weight, and distance.

An industry-specific approach is crucial to helping companies to navigate the climate crisis, the GCC believes. “By breaking the issues down to what we, as individuals, are directly capable of changing, the challenge seems less daunting. If you scale that up to a whole industry then an even greater change suddenly feels possible,” states the coalition team. The industry approach creates more niche, accessible goals within the art community.

Since the GCC launched in October 2020, over 250 galleries, individuals, and artists have joined as members to move towards more sustainable practices. The GCC team intends to continue reaching more galleries and artists, stating, “We want to reach all corners of the art world.”

Beyond creating and showcasing art, the logistics behind the scenes are just as important. With the carbon calculator, galleries and artists can strategically move art around the world without damaging the environment. Through innovative, industry-specific resources, the Gallery Climate Coalition is helping to address the looming climate crisis.