Client Success Story: Tate
Greener Museums and Tate have worked together since 2008. Tate’s
success is a demonstration of the power of consistent action over
Tate began thinking seriously about sustainability, and climate
change in particular, after a carbon footprinting exercise
conducted by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The
gallery started in 2008 by working with Greener Museums to develop
a carbon footprint, sustainability strategy, sustainability
governance procedures, and a green champions network. Building on
that initial foundation, the gallery has made substantial progress,
having been awarded the Carbon Trust Standard and the Green500
Platinum Award. Tate is on track to achieve a 15% reduction in
absolute emissions by FY 2011/12. In 2009/10, Tate reduced
emissions from its energy use in buildings by over 7.5%, saving
£237,000 on utility bills alone.
Tate’s efforts and achievements go beyond its own operations. For
example, by working with art transport providers, Tate completed a
carbon footprint on all art movements (loans in and out) in one
year, and retendered its transportation contracts so that art
transport companies will now help it reduce and calculate emissions
on all consignments. Greener Museums assisted Tate by calculating
the life-cycle carbon footprint of a typical art crate. As a result
Tate has changed from using hardwood crates to using only
sustainably sourced European softwood timber.
The gallery is leading research and action to establish a revised
protocol for more sustainable gallery environmental conditions, and
from January 2010 it relaxed the bandwidth for stable temperature
and relative humidity controls in its collection displays at Tate
Britain and Tate Modern.
Tate Britain now has zero waste to landfill through improved
recycling and waste-to-energy provision. Waste contracts at all
sites are regularly reviewed to achieve continual improvements.
Multifunction printers are reducing paper, ink and energy use. And
residents of Tate’s beehives are busy producing honey for Tate’s
restaurants and shops!
“Rachel has helped to substantiate Tate’s broad sustainability
ambitions and turn our aims into action. Ensuring a close fit with
our core values and strategic direction, she has helped sharpen our
focus and has given rigour to our methods. Rachel has brought
valuable professional expertise from the sustainability sector into
the museum context. She engenders fresh thinking and applies new
solutions that are helping us achieve real change within Tate and
— Sir Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate
Looking Forward to 2011
As we turn the page on another year, it’s an excellent time to
think about our goals for the coming year. I urge you to review
this list and see how many of these questions you can check off as
a ‘yes.’ And if you can’t check off any, what are you doing about
it? Feel free to send me your answers, we are interested in using
the results for some upcoming research projects.
1. Does my organization have a sustainability strategy? If not,
what’s holding us back from developing one? Do we have a plan to
2. Does my organization have policies that help to deliver the
sustainability strategy? If no, why not? If yes, how well are these
policies communicated and understood by our staff?
3. Is there a director or senior manager with the responsibility
to deliver the sustainability strategy? If not, why not? What can I
do to encourage senior managers to take on this responsibility?
4. If I ask a colleague to tell me about our organizational
approach to sustainability, will they be able to answer me? If not,
why not? If some colleagues can tell me about it, but others can’t,
what is responsible for the uneven communication?
5. Did we do an environmental assessment this year? What was
included? Do we have a plan to do one every year?
6. Have we identified our significant causes of environmental
impact? Are our efforts at environmental improvement aligned with
the most significant sources of our impact?
7. Do our visitors know about what we are doing to go green? If
not, why not? Could we start with our members?
8. Have we looked into greening our procurement? If not, we can
start by examining procurement for office supplies, it’s often one
of the easiest routes.
9. Did we set sustainability performance targets? If not, let’s
pick an achievable target and get going!
10. How did we perform against our intentions?