The world is facing a series of linked environmental crises. In October 2022, the UN warned that the world’s governments are not yet on track to keep global heating below 1.5 degrees, and the window for action is rapidly closing. We are already seeing the impacts of existing warming with devastating droughts, storms and floods across the world. Related crises include collapsing biodiversity, dangerous levels of air pollution, and plastic contamination in our rivers and oceans. 

Without urgent action from across society, these problems will rapidly escalate. The art world has an important role to play. Arts organizations – particularly in the Global North – have a disproportionately large impact on the environment, mainly due to a great deal of international travel, arts shipping, and high use of energy and materials. 

We need to act urgently to reduce these impacts in line with what science is telling us. As artists, we also have an opportunity to use our public platform and cultural influence to set a positive example, encouraging and supporting others to take action and helping shift the public debate. 

At Gagliano Studios, our values and mission are to create in-studio artworks using sustainable compostable materials, and to educate and promote contemporary art created without the use of plastics. To inspire audiences to engage with local culture; to provide a particular platform for marginalized voices and artists. To be true to these values for this mission, we all need to take urgent environmental action, because art, culture, and society across the world is directly threatened by the climate crisis. 

Those from marginalized communities and cultures are most at risk, while also holding many of the most effective solutions to the climate crisis. As an organization, I know that our main direct environmental impacts include, materials related to the creation of artworks, flights to art fairs, air freight of artworks for exhibitions, and energy use in our buildings. We have committed to tackling these impacts by: 2025,or sooner.

By Implementing the necessary changes, I pledge to:

  • Join the Gallery Climate Coalition, and pledging to at least halve our carbon emissions by 2030, from a 2019 baseline. 
  • Regularly calculating the carbon footprint of our operations, to track progress towards this target. 
  • Setting specific targets for the major parts of our footprint, including: Reducing staff flights to 50% of pre-COVID levels by 2025, and 25% by 2030.  Ensuring the majority of our international shipping is carried out by sea, rail or road rather than air by 2028. Reducing our building energy use by 30%, installing solar panels and replacing all fossil gas heating systems with electric heat pumps or other appropriate technology before 2030. Ensuring all of our packing materials are reusable or curbside recyclable by 2026, as a step towards zero-waste operations by 2030. 
  • Using only low or zero emissions vehicles for local deliveries by 2025.

The actions we are taking to meet these targets include:  

  • Speaking to our shippers about alternatives to air freight. Planning our exhibitions and events with care to minimize the need for air freight. 
  • Reviewing our staff travel policies and practices, and planning our attendance at international events to reduce the need for air travel. 
  • Carrying out an energy audit of our buildings to find opportunities for energy reduction and renewable generation. 
  • Working with other GCC members on projects to help develop more sustainable packaging, transport and energy saving solutions for the whole sector. 
  • Speaking to our suppliers and service providers about their carbon footprint, and looking for opportunities to encourage them to take action, or to switch to alternative suppliers who will.
  • Maintaining a Green Team with representatives from different parts of the organization, that meets to track progress on all of these targets and actions at least once a month. Sustainable Studio Practice, To have artwork labeled with the ingredients of how it was created in order to review materials and to help calculate the sustainability of each work. 
  • Following guidance from the Gallery Climate Coalition, monies will be spent on measures to accelerate our emissions reductions, and support frontline climate solutions around the world that are making a difference right now. 

We will report on how we spent this money at the end of each financial year. We aim to take action in line with the principles of climate justice, recognizing the connections between the climate crisis and other global injustices. 

We want our environmental actions to support – rather than undermine or ignore – the needs of people on the frontlines of marginalization and injustice. 

We have set these targets and are taking actions in the knowledge that we aren’t yet doing everything right.

We still have a great deal to do and much to learn. 

We welcome feedback from our colleagues, fellow artists, and galleries on this environmental statement, our targets, and on our plans for action. 

 —Michelle Gagliano.

GCC Active Member Verification mark-11_Logo medium 2023

Michelle Gagliano is now an active member of the GCC Gallery Climate Coalition.