The basic concept of sustainability has been an inherent part of SPACE since we started in 1968 by repurposing unused industrial buildings as artist studios. In addition, SPACE has always operated frugally and carefully with respect to both human and material resources, and -often borne out of need- so have our artists, who were reusing and recycling materials before this was a common concept. By its very nature, art itself is regenerative, encourages resourceful solutions, and forms an essential part of creating sustainable communities.
As an arts charity SPACE has a genuine concern for the environment, and we recognise that climate change is one of the defining global challenges of our time. We therefore firmly believe that embracing green best practices is our social and moral responsibility. We strive to continually assess and reduce our overall environmental impact and are committed to making environmental responsibility an integral part of our operations and activities, while maintaining long-term affordability for artists.
Our starting point is always ensuring compliance with relevant legislation and regulations and we will seek to achieve best practice where we can. Ultimately, SPACE wishes to develop a strategy to move towards net zero carbon by 2050. This means developing clear pathways towards net zero carbon and underpinning those plans with a framework of measurement and progress reports. Our approach supports the sustainability strategies of the Mayor of London’s London Environment Strategy (with a vision for London including zero waste to landfill by 2026, 65% waste recycled by 2030 and zero carbon by 2050), and the Arts Council England’s expectations for NPOs.
As part of our impact assessment, we identified three main categories of SPACE resources and activities for which we set out aspirations and goals of improvement with respect to sustainability and environmental impact, both for ourselves and with regards to our partners and third parties we work with:
- our buildings
- our programming activities
- our staff & offices
We recognise that by far our biggest environmental impact is made through the buildings we own or lease and manage. Therefore our most effective and largest reduction in carbon-footprint can be realised through implementing a SPACE portfolio strategy based on sound environmental and sustainability principles.
- We aim to improve the environmental performance of our existing buildings, with all buildings to have an EPC of C or higher by 2025, and an EPC of B or higher by 2030, unless exempt.
- We aspire for any new developments to achieve a BREEAM accreditation of ‘excellent’ , and/or have an EPC of B or higher.
- We require a sustainable construction plan for any new SPACE development or refurbishment project.
- We aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with a Carbon Management Plan.
- We acknowledge our often ageing buildings make energy and water consumption a major challenge, but we aim to improve energy efficiency, make efficient and environmentally responsible use of water, apply proper principles of good waste-management, and promote practices to reduce our impact on local and indoor air quality in and around all our buildings.
- We aspire to install and maintain photo voltaic systems, green or bio-solar roofs on our freehold buildings, and consider renewable energy sources such as air source heat pumps.
- We aim to only use suppliers of renewably sourced or carbon neutral energy.
- We aim to raise awareness and promote individual good practice to our studio holders in order to reduce their use of resources, and minimise their environmental impact.
- We aim to encourage our studio holders to walk, cycle or use public transport to get to their studios, while remaining accessible to those with access needs.
- We aim to monitor and collect relevant data on the key areas of environmental impact per building, including through Julie’s Bicycle, qualified EPC assessors, and regular meter readings, and review and report on our environmental performance annually to ensure continual improvement.
- We aim to work with partners, developers, and local authorities who share our ethos and commitments to sustainability and the environment.
OUR PROGRAMMING ACTIVITIES
We recognise that our activities have environmental implications, and have a role to play when aiming to operate as a sustainable organisation. We believe art can play a fundamental role in shaping the conversation, making viewers think about the consequences of our behaviour, and pointing out ways to move forward searching for solutions.
- We aim to address environmental issues and explore questions around sustainability as part of our content and programming, and offer a platform for discussion in partnership with artists, communities and cultural organisations.
- We recognise tackling sustainability challenges is a shared endeavour and we will connect with our partners and external networks to exchange ideas, learning and support.
- We aim to minimise the adverse environmental impact of our programming by, among others, promoting life-cycle thinking and responsible procurement of goods and services, re-using key items in exhibitions and workshops, and recycling or reusing packing and art materials where possible.
- Our key visitors and workshop participants are part of the local communities surrounding our buildings and main exhibition site, keeping travel low-impact, but we will continue to monitor the impact of travel and encourage our wider audience to walk, cycle or use public transport to get to our site, while remaining accessible to those with access needs.
OUR OFFICES & STAFF
Working in a sustainable way is embedded within our core organisational behaviours. We see managing our people well, including supporting staff to maintain a good work-life balance and promoting activities focused on the health and wellbeing of staff and volunteers, as part of being a sustainable organisation. Whilst SPACE accepts the main responsibility for implementation of this policy, individuals have a very important role in co-operating with those responsible for safeguarding the environment.
- We will continue to promote sound environmental management policies and practices throughout SPACE.
- We will continue to implement sustainable resource management practices, based on reduce, reuse and recycle principles.
- We strive towards continual improvement in reducing the adverse environmental impact caused through the provision of our operations.
- The goods and services we buy have sustainability implications and we will use our procurement process to explore with suppliers, where relevant, whether there are options to help us reduce environmental impact.
- We aim to ensure efficient, environmentally responsible use of resources, particularly energy and water.
- We aim to minimise the adverse environmental impacts of the decommissioning and disposal of SPACE assets.
- We adhere to principles of blended working and allow staff to work from home where responsibilities so allow. As a largely London-based organisation, most staff also already use public transport, cycle or walk to work. We will continue to promote the use of public transport by staff, support cycling initiatives and limit journeys by our maintenance vehicles, which now include an electric van, to essential operational trips.
- We strive to raise the awareness and provide appropriate environmental education of staff and be open in the communication, both internally and externally, about good practice and SPACE’s environmental impact, activities and performance.
- We aim to roll out online carbon literacy training as mandatory Evaluation of Environmental Policy.
- We encourage and facilitate feedback and suggestions on ensuring good practice.
- We will undertake an annual review of our environmental management procedures and activities to ensure suitability, adequacy and effectiveness. This will be reported to the Environmental Sub Committee lead by one of our Trustees.
Review and approval
This Sustainability & Environmental Policy will be reviewed at least every four years by our Board of Trustees.
Download the SPACE Sustainability and Environmental Policy 2022.
Last reviewed and approved by the Board of Trustees on 4 May 2022.