Transportation is the biggest source of fine art’s CO2 emissions, which prevents this industry from transitioning to sustainability and green practices. Yet, with many eco-friendly initiatives in place, art delivery service firms across the globe are pressured to adopt CO2 reduction strategies and plans.
What can an art shipping company do to minimize its impact on the environment? We have found many ways to do so and want to share them here.
Why Care for the Carbon Footprint? Case of Eliasson’s Ice Watch
Fine art, though at times ephemeral and immeasurable in the traditional terms of resource consumption, can still be harmful to the environment. One infamous case is the Ice Watch installation by Olafur Eliasson, which required the transportation of 30 icebergs directly from the North Pole to the threshold of Tate Modern.
The installation was a success, without a doubt, but the ultimate carbon footprint of that project was 55 tons of CO2 required for art delivery service for the team and materials. Such wasteful art thus raises issues around the boundaries of impact on climate change and global warming artists should afford.
The Rise of the Gallery Climate Coalition (GCC)
Eliasson’s installation case and similar wasteful fine art shipping cases gave rise to the sustainability movement in this industry. The GCC was formed to unite 700 leading art houses and galleries in a concerted effort to curb CO2 emissions and regulate the industry’s carbon footprint. The GCC’s ambitious goal is a 30% CO2 emission reduction by 2030. Thus, all participating galleries and art institutions have implemented a variety of sustainability practices:
- Reconsidering partnerships with large corporations and fossil fuel companies (e.g., BP and the National Portrait Gallery).
- Arranging local air fairs instead of international-level events to reduce the negative impact of visitors’ travel.
- Introducing CO2 audits (e.g., Tate in London, MOCA in LA, and Guggenheim Bilbao).
- Calling fine art buyers to shift from air shipping to sea freight.
Our Art Delivery Service: Carbon Reduction Measures
As one of the leading industry participants in NYC, Fine Art Shippers also uses sustainable practices in the arrangement of the art delivery service to clients. We have developed a comprehensive CO2 reduction policy that we follow in local and cross-state fine art moving cases. Our methods for reducing carbon footprint include:
- Using natural, eco-friendly plywood in the process of packing the shipments.
- Producing reusable, multi-use crates and boxes suitable for repurposing.
- Partnering with local recycling businesses for recycling of the packing materials.
- Careful planning of art shuttle logistics to avoid excessive CO2 emissions from vehicle travel.
We’re on the lookout for other options for becoming eco-friendlier and educating staff on the principles of sustainable operations to contribute to a global battle against global warming.