How to Get Ready for 2011

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

get started?

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?