Environment and Sustainability Policy

1. Statement of Intent

This is the Environment and Sustainability Policy of Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art Limited, 55 New Bird Street, Liverpool, L1 0BW.

Through the application of this policy, Liverpool Biennial is committing to:

  • Implement changes that will reduce our carbon footprint by 50% on a 2018 baseline by 2030
  • Prioritisereuse of waste materials in the production of artworks and recycling waste materials where possible in the decommissioning process
  • Undertake more research into understanding the impact and imbedded carbon of common building materials such as MDF, emulsion paint, and carpet and reducing use of these and other materials
  • Ensuring recyclable/reusable supplies are used in workspaces and no waste goes to landfill
  • Ensuring production for a minimum of 3 projects per edition is undertaken in Liverpool
  • Commissioning a minimum of 1 work per edition which addresses issues of climate change
  • To encourage and support artists, staff and visitors to use lower-impact environmentally friendly forms of transport as part of their work with, and visits to, Liverpool Biennial
  • To effectively measure our carbon footprint using new data methodologies and reduce the impact of Liverpool Biennial 2023 by a minimum of 20% on a Liverpool Biennial 2018 baseline

2. Our Impact

Liverpool Biennial has multiple areas of environmental impact.

The largest impacts are generated by artist and staff travel by air, transporting artworks by airfreight and fossil fuel energy consumption. In 2018 our carbon footprint was 137.78 tonnes of CO2e, of which 49.3% was artist and staff air travel, 40% air freight, and 30.6% fossil fuel energy consumption for our office and temporary exhibition spaces.

Another considerable environmental impact we have is from the use and waste of materials for the fabrication of artworks and the building of exhibitions.

We know that audience travel has a significant carbon footprint and are working to capture data and develop tools to calculate its impact through a more in-depth carbon audit.

Through the artists we work with and the audiences we reach we can advocate for wider societal change. By working with our networks and partners locally, nationally, and internationally, we contribute to research and then develop best practice on how to work more sustainably.

3. Our Commitment

As a cultural organisation working locally, nationally and internationally, we recognise our role in also leading in working sustainably, championing action and raising awareness of climate change to all. We will seek to reduce our carbon output within the following scopes:

  • Scope 1: Direct carbon output through our direct operations such as office utilities and equipment
  • Scope 2: Carbon outputs which we have not directly produced but have caused such as artwork production and shipping, and staff and artist travel
  • Scope 3: Carbon outputs that we have opportunity to influence such as audience travel

We are continually working and developing our ambition of being a leading organisation in sustainability practice. Working with Liverpool partners within the Shift Liverpool network, we bring together knowledge, resources and create new initiatives to benefit the cultural sector and beyond to meet Liverpool City Region's 2040 zero-carbon target. We have partnered with Liverpool John Moores University to complete a full carbon audit of the organisation to understand our output and reduce our carbon footprint further. From this partnership, we will develop a tool kit that tracks a cultural organisation's emissions that we would look to share with other organisations. As part of our campaigning and advocacy, we will commission at least one work per biennial that directly addresses issues of climate emergency/environmental sustainability.

Building on the success of delivering Liverpool Biennial 2021 online for audiences during the pandemic we will continue to offer much of the biennial exhibition experience digitally while also prioritising venues and locations with accessible public transport links, encouraging audiences to use public transport or other more environmentally friendly alternatives when planning their visit.

Travel and shipping have historically been one of the organisation's most significant carbon outputs. We have implemented immediate changes to staff travel; meetings are held remotely where possible, and if not, public transport is prioritised using methods other than air travel. We have implemented a hybrid working policy beyond the pandemic, allowing staff to continue to work from home and reduce impact.

We have committed to the eradication of oversized and excessively heavy shipments for future biennials. Works needing larger than standard crate sizes or weighing a considerable amount must be made in the UK. For those standard shipments, we will consolidate all shipping where possible. Any new commission will be made from renewable and recycled/recyclable materials in discussion with and through support of the artist. This also includes the staging of exhibitions.

Every staff member understands their responsibility for delivering environmental and carbon sustainability. Each staff member has a minimum of one environment & sustainability focussed aim within their appraisals. Liverpool Biennial has embedded its commitments across the organisation to deliver on its targets, and each staff member recognises their role in revision in all activities affecting the environment.