Changemakers Network

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Changemakers Network

Thursday 22 September

On Thursday 22 September the Changemakers Network meeting brought together members from climate-focused creative organisations to discuss opportunities around sustainability and the race to net zero, as well as strategies around reducing carbon emissions.

Following a welcome, the acting-chair Rich Turner, Global Director of Communications at Argonon, updated us on the current state of play for the Creative Industries.

Building on the previous meeting in June, Rich spoke about the consolidation of campaigns across the Creative Industries, highlighting the fact that there are often no cross-sector forums within which to share best practices. Conversations with members shows that a clear path forward lies in amplification initiatives through the power of shared resources, research and expertise, with a real emphasis on supporting the mutual mission of reaching often left-out communities.

Furthermore, Creative UK is exploring how we work with our partners to mobilise creativity as an agent for change on the climate, using the voice and the power of our sector to promote greener society. Recently we have seen significant activity and investment into storytelling, innovation and material culture which speaks to the climate crisis. At Creative UK, we’re looking to support this activity through supercharging the power of our industry to drive systemic change. We’re also working to provide a platform for thought leadership, inspiring collective action, as well as responding to a call for greater access to innovation, funding, incentives, and support.

Moving into the topic of discussion for this meeting, Rich introduced the four key policy areas:

  • What existing toolkits and resources support the creative industries to move towards more sustainable business practices?

 

  • Where are there synergies in support across the creative industries, and where are there gaps? Where are these differences in terms of business models and supply chains?

 

  • Across the Creative Industries, where is business support for sustainability most effective?

 

  • How can we demystify sustainability for SMEs and freelancers? Where can we offer more support to help microbusinesses?

 

Firstly, Rich described existing guidance for suppliers and toolkits for production managers, which are crucial for calculating the impact of production houses and editing houses.

Opening discussion up to the group, members noted the Theatre Greenbook as an impactful resource, a three-part document which looks at more sustainable practices in the performing arts industry. Another participant emphasised the importance of cross-pollination between organisations and industries. They also pointed towards Julie’s Bicycle, a resource that demystifies climate language and offers a framework to follow, making it easier for organisations to thrive.

Other voices from production, fashion and textiles, and the music industry offered their perspectives, drawing in on how operational workflows can be made sustainable. Toolkits such as Creative Carbon Scotland were mentioned, suggesting something similar for use across the UK as a way to bring organisations together.

Moving onto the second discussion point, Rich noted that whilst financial support is generally thin. The Mayor’s Office has recently pledged a £1.2 million fund to support creative businesses in London, specifically aimed at micro businesses. One member highlighted the ten commissions UNBOXED is supporting. They emphasised the importance of legacy, noting that the organisations involved in the commissions will be continuing their work on different platforms and will share their learning with other organisations.

Alongside Albert, the Sustainable Productions Certification, Rich highlighted Ad Green as another key sustainable framework for the Creative Industries. In terms of gaps, one participant noted how a lack of understanding surrounding sustainability is cause for concern in the arts. “We have the knowledge, the knowledge is all there across the world,” they said, “but it isn’t filtering down to smaller organisations – it isn’t understood.”

Touching on the third point, it was recognised that challenges exist for organisations striving for both sustainability and profitability, but that it is not about choosing one or the other but working simultaneously on both. The point was raised that an easily accessible roadmap to sustainability, such as mapping out steps that organisations can achieve systematically, would in turn support sustainable progress.

A member highlighted the movement towards getting culture into the Sustainability Development Goals. They noted how this has ensured that culture as a sector has its own goals and support in achieving them, as well as a framework for supporting smaller cultural organisations in adapting their programmes to become more sustainable.

Finally, the panel discussed the fourth policy point. Evy Cauldwell French, Senior Development & Partnerships Manager at Creative UK, brought forward research by PEC (Creative Industries Policies and Evidence Centre) around business support and the guidelines and resources available. Creative UK are exploring possibilities around building a space on our website that facilitates access to sustainability guides and toolkits, creating a central resource that anyone can access.

 

Join the Network

The Changemaker Network is a forum for the sharing, co-ordination and amplification of campaigns and advocacy initiatives, including promoting a greener society and economy.

Our next meeting will be taking place on Thursday 15 December (reserve your spot) and Thursday 23 March.

If you would like to receive future invitations, please fill in your details here, or contact Evy Cauldwell-French (evy@wearecreative.uk)