Since Queen’s joined The Gallery Climate Coalition back in January, our team has been working away to complete our Carbon Audit and build our carbon reduction plan, so we can reduce our carbon footprint by 50% over the next ten years (in line with the Paris agreement), as well as promoting near zero-waste and eco-friendly shipping practices.
After conducting our Carbon Audit, we were able to establish that 95% of our carbon emissions are generated from both our international and domestic shipments and the packaging required to ship these works safely and securely. Our storage facility, remained one of the most efficient areas within our business, generating only 1.99% of our total emissions and as a direct result of our team taking the time out to plan the audit, we are currently investigating more eco-friendly packaging options.
In the meantime, we are pleased to confirm that not only do we use 100% recycled card when packing works but our crates are ISPM15 certified by the Forestry Commission and our warehouse is set up to recycle as much of our own, and our clients, packaging as possible. Our digital activities are already optimised to be as eco-friendly as possible. We regularly optimise marketing lists and store emails and files on the cloud, for example. We also actively promote greener practices within our office, banning the use of single-use plastics within the office and going completely paper-free.
However, and here’s where we may surprise you, we won’t be offsetting shipments.
Given the buzz surrounding offsetting within the industry, we were keen to explore whether this was actually the right way forward or whether there were more sustainable and effective actions that we could take as a shipper to reduce our Carbon Emissions. Our verdict was no and we don’t believe off-setting is the answer to eco-friendly shipping.
Although it’s clear that offset programs are positive initiatives, crucially, we do not believe that offsetting can be relied upon to remove sufficient carbon from the atmosphere in any reasonable timeframe. There are also issues around additionality and social and environmental harms (moving people away from their homes to make way for tree planting, for example).
With this in mind, we will be looking to reduce our emissions rates by committing to the below:
Reviewing our packaging
Completion of a comprehensive packaging review, moving to sustainable packaging options where appropriate and feasible with a view to moving to 100% recyclable packaging by 2025.
Monitoring our Carbon Emissions
Recording the carbon emissions from all movements within the UK and abroad and clearly communicating emissions to clients via their quotes and invoices, making it easier for our clients to track their carbon footprint and make more eco-conscious decisions moving forward.
Promoting more environmentally friendly shipping options
Recommending more eco-friendly shipping options to all clients where possible. We will, for example, be recommending sea freight over air-freight when a client’s deadline/insurance policy allows. And where appropriate, we will offer consolidated shipments to reduce reliance on dedicated transport.
Fostering a greener carbon reduction culture within our offices
Switching to green energy suppliers for our Head Quarters and Storage facility.
Going paper-free, unless hard copies are required for external parties.
Banning the use of single-use plastics within the office, switching to LED lighting and turning off all non-essential electrics when not in use.
Funding systemic change with Client Earth
Recognising the limitations of offsetting, we will be funding systemic change to fight climate change and lobby for climate-friendly policies and practices by donating £50 per tonne of carbon produced to Client Earth, as recommended by a recent LSE paper and our friends at The Gallery Climate Coalition.
We understand that we still have a long way to go to reach our targets in line with the Paris agreement but as one of the main carbon contributing bodies in the industry, we are committed to reaching this target and are confident that we have a clear plan in place to not only track our progress through yearly carbon audits but also to proactively work to be a more eco-friendly shipping and logistics company.
If you would like to ask us any questions on the above or you or your gallery would like to explore greener shipping options, we would be happy to advise.