Scottish culture funding shake-up signalled under drive to meet 2045 climate crisis target

Arts organisations will have to demonstrate how they are tackling the climate crisis in order to secure funding under a drive to ensure Scotland has a “net zero” culture sector by 2045.

Monday, 25th April 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Monday, 25th April 2022, 8:09 am
Outdoor exhibitions have been staged on Portobello promenade as part of the Edinburgh Science Festival in recent years.
Outdoor exhibitions have been staged on Portobello promenade as part of the Edinburgh Science Festival in recent years.

National arts agency Creative Scotland has revealed plans to put in place new sustainability criteria which will have to be met to secure support.

Funded organisations will also have to provide regular reports on how they are cutting their carbon footprints and “addressing the climate emergency.”

The shake-up is expected to affect everything from festivals and events to arts centres, theatres, concert halls, feature films and TV dramas.

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Creative Scotland has pledged to target funding towards organisations and artists whose work is directly related to climate change in future.

A newly-published “climate emergency" blueprint has warned that the physical physical shape of Scotland’s cultural landscape may have to be completely “re-imagined” over the next two decades.

A three-strong climate change team will be recruited by Creative Scotland to lead efforts aimed at influencing change across the cultural sector.

Creative Scotland’s new climate emergency plan has been developed in collaboration with the Creative Carbon Scotland, which works to “embed” environmental sustainability within arts organisations.

The new blueprint states: “The cultural and creative sectors have an essential role to play in helping Scotland to prepare for the climate-changed future.

"As well as working on our internal plans, we’ll use our funding, policies, development role and influence to help the culture and creative sectors reduce their own emissions and adapt to climate change.

"We’ll work to help cultural organisations, artists and individual creative practitioners to reach and influence parts of society that others cannot.

"Incremental changes by separate organisations and individuals will not enable Scotland to reach net-zero in a climate-just manner and will fail to build a fair and equitable Scotland adapted to a changed and changing climate.”

Kenneth Fowler, Creative Scotland’s director of communications, said: “We are facing a climate emergency. In Scotland, this is leading to warmer summers and winters, increased rainfall, reduced snowfall, sea level rise and more frequent extreme weather events.

“Achieving net zero and the interim targets will be immensely challenging for the arts, screen and creative industries, especially in Glasgow and Edinburgh, where both cities have committed to achieving net zero by 2030.

“Our work does not exist in isolation, and in distributing cultural funding and supporting wide inclusive participation in the arts, screen and creative industries, we recognise that our commitment to addressing climate change must extend to how we work with cultural individuals, projects and organisations.”

Scottish culture secretary Angus Robertson said: “Creative Scotland’s transformational plan to support the arts, screen and creative industries will inspire other organisations to also implement the critical changes we need to achieve net zero by 2045.

“The arts, culture and heritage sectors have a powerful and important role to play in supporting fair and equitable changes in society as Scotland moves towards a zero-carbon, climate-ready future.”

Creative Carbon Scotland director Ben Twist said: “We salute Creative Scotland for commissioning this bold, comprehensive, evidence-based plan.

“Creative Scotland will not only achieve net zero itself, it will help Scotland's vital and vibrant cultural and creative sector lead the way in the transition to a just, inclusive and climate-ready Scotland.”