Sustainability policy

  1. Policy Statement
    1. A healthy society has creativity woven into its fabric and we believe in the transformative potential the arts and artists can have on an area. Across London, the presence of artists and creatives makes neighbourhoods more attractive places to live, work and play, and brings joy, beauty and heart into our communities.
    1. As many as a quarter of London’s studios could close within the next five years and when a studio is lost a whole creative ecosystem goes with it. Creative Land Trust (CLT) exists to support these creative ecosystems by providing long-term, affordable workspaces for artists and creatives.
    1. We recognise that a healthy society and economy is only possible if we have a healthy environment and this can only be achieved if we operate within the limits of our planet’s resources. We are facing a global climate and ecological emergency as a result of breaching many of these limits, and around the world basic standards of living are not being met and there are profound inequalities within and between communities.
    1. CLT is committed to tackling the crisis facing London’s artists for the long term and taking action on the current environmental crisis.
    1. Our Impacts
      We have assessed our material impacts to be:
      • carbon emissions (particularly Scope 1 & 2 emissions from energy purchased, as defined by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol)
      • ethical finance
      • equality & diversity.

We have structured this policy around three main areas of our work:

      • our own activities
      • our buildings
      • our partners that we choose to work with

and for each of these areas we set out our environmental, social and economic aspirations and commitments.

    1. Our Commitments
      1. We will comply with environmental legislation as a minimum and ensure our buildings are selected and managed in an environmentally responsible manner, working with studio providers who demonstrate a commitment to environmental, social and economic sustainability.
      1. We will communicate what sustainability means to us and the targets we are working towards.
      1. We will work collaboratively with our partners to generate environmental, social and economic benefits to the areas where we operate in a holistic, integrated way, not as an add on.
      1. We will ensure that sustainability and affordability is embedded in every decision we make with our stakeholders, including funders, investors, developers, local authorities and artists, and we will use our position to influence positively wherever the opportunity arises.
      1. This policy and the attached action plan will be reviewed annually and updated as appropriate.

Signed & dated

  1. Policy Context
    1. This policy and the attached action plan will be reviewed annually and updated as appropriate.

The Arts Council Strategy 2020 – 2030, Let’s Create, has set out ‘Cultural Communities’ as one of three outcomes to deliver over the next decade, whereby villages, towns and cities thrive through a collaborative approach to culture. CLT will create a space for and connect artists, communities, investors, funders, developers and local authorities to discuss and agree common ground and mutual benefits. Let’s Create shares with CLT the core principles of Inclusivity, Dynamism and Environmental Responsibility.

    1. Several studies demonstrate the relative importance of the creative sector to London’s economy. The sector generates more than £52bn each year (The Creative Supply Chains Study, 2019) and almost one in three of the UK’s creative economy jobs are based in the capital (London’s Creative Industries, 2017). However as many as a quarter of London’s studios could close within the next five years and only 17% of artist studio buildings in London are owned under freehold (Creating Artists’ Workspace, 2014). CLT was established to provide a lasting solution – a social enterprise that will own the buildings in which studios are housed, so they can be used by artists and creatives in perpetuity.
    1. The World Cities Forum Culture and Climate Change Handbook recognises that climate change is the defining global challenge of our time. The Major of London’s Compatible Climate Action Plan sets out a roadmap for London to become a zero carbon city by 2050, with the London Plan setting a reduction target of 60% from 1990 levels by 2032. This is in line with the UK government’s zero-carbon target for the whole of the UK by 2050 (The Climate Change Act, 2008). There is an ambition in the cultural sector to achieve this quicker with calls for net zero carbon by 2025 (Culture Declares Emergency) and most London local authorities have declared a climate emergency (at the time of writing 26 / 32 boroughs). CLT fully supports this aim, with a net zero carbon target from our own operations by 2025.
    1. The role of the cultural industry is unique in that it can take action through its own activities and also respond creatively to express what is happening and help society to imagine a better future. This is evidenced by the Arts Council Sustaining Great Art and Culture environmental report, which shows a 35% reduction in the sector’s carbon emissions to date together with a multitude of creative responses to the climate crisis. CLT will report on its carbon emissions and environmental data annually to feed into this process and require our studio providers to do the same. We prioritise working with studio providers who support socially and environmentally engaged artists.
  1. Our Activities
    1. CLT is a social enterprise with charitable status and our team is directed by a Board of Trustees with arts, studio provision, property and finance expertise.
    1. Responsibility for sustainability starts with us and presents an opportunity to show strong corporate governance. All our staff and trustees will undertake carbon literacy training.
    1. CLT will report on its environmental, social, and economic measures and evaluate impacts to create an evidence base that helps maximise benefits across all areas.
    1. Sustainability will be a shared responsibility amongst the Board with specific working groups set up as required. We will manage our own resources efficiently and make the most of our strengths and connections.
    1. Environmental
      1. Our administrative workspace will be run in an environmentally responsible manner and procurement of goods and services will meet minimum environmental requirements and certifications, including supporting the circular economy where possible.
      2. We will operate a paperless office and any marketing material we produce will be printed on recycled or FSC sourced paper that is recyclable and use chemical-free inks.
      3. Our administrative workspace will be powered by renewable energy from a provider who invests in 100% renewable energy and adds to the renewable energy infrastructure. We will devise a way to account for the energy used by employees working at home and encourage our staff to procure renewable energy at home where possible.
      4. We will hold meetings virtually where practical, keeping business travel to a minimum and encourage low-carbon forms of travel.
      5. We aim to reduce the waste we produce and increase recycling rates in our office. Single use plastic is not permitted for staff use on CLT premises.
      6. We will measure the carbon footprint of our activities, establishing a baseline in our first year and report annually on our Scope 1 & 2 carbon emissions (energy purchased and controlled by us) and Scope 3 emissions (waste produced, recycling rates, water consumption and business travel) using the Creative Green Tools.
      7. We have set a target of achieving net zero carbon by 2025 for our Scope 1 & 2 emissions.
      8. We will assess whether to set a Scope 3 reduction target if our Scope 3 emissions account for more than 40% of our total emissions.
      9. Our first priority is reducing our carbon emissions as much as possible, with any residual unavoidable emissions offset through best-practice carbon offsetting schemes.

3.6 Social

      1. CLT is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to treating all its employees and job applicants equally.
      2. As set out in our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy, CLT will avoid unlawful discrimination in all aspects of employment including recruitment and selection, promotion, transfer, opportunities and training, pay and benefits, other terms of employment, discipline, selection of redundancy and dismissal.
      3. We have achieved 40% BAME and 50% female representation on our Board and aim to continue to achieve this as a minimum.
      4. We have Artist Trustees and Ambassadors on the Board to ensure we are truly representative of the sector we are serving.

3.7 Economic

      1. As shown in Creative United’s Making Space study (2016), sector sustainability is linked with funding and finance for property ownership.
      2. Our work is currently supported by the Mayor of London, Arts Council England, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Outset Community Art Fund.
      3. By securing a blend of funding, bringing together donors, investors and grant-givers, we will be able to charge affordable rents that won’t price tenants out of the neighbourhoods to which they contribute.
      4. CLT is committed to upholding the Mayor of London’s Good Work Standards, including being an accredited London Living Wage employer.
      5. We bank with an ethical banking provider and our staff pensions and reserves will be invested in a manner that considers climate-related risks.

4. Our Buildings

4.1 Our goal is to provide 1,000 affordable studio spaces across London by 2025. Our buildings will be selected and managed in an environmentally responsible manner and everything we do will ensure long-term affordability for artists is maintained.

    1. Environmental
      1. Our biggest environmental impacts are the buildings that we purchase and how they are redeveloped and managed. The built environment contributes 39% of the UK’s total carbon footprint – 28% of this is in operation and 11% is embodied carbon in construction (World Green Building Council, 2019). There is huge potential to reduce carbon by carefully selecting and improving the environmental performance of current building stock.
      1. Building Selection
        1. Each building will be considered on a case by case basis with the aspiration to achieve the most environmental improvements possible.
        2. We will take into account the Non-Domestic Energy Performance Certificate ratings when selecting a building and choose the building either with the higher rating or the most potential to improve energy efficiency through redevelopment.
        3. Our buildings will be car free zones, with no parking available onsite. Proximity to public transport links is a key requirement and walking and cycling will be encouraged.
        4. Accessible bike parking facilities will be made available and local bike-hire schemes will be promoted.
      1. Redevelopment
        1. We will measure the improvements made in energy efficiency (and carbon footprint where known) following redevelopment as our first environmental measure of the building.
        2. We will aim to create low-carbon buildings that will reduce running costs for our tenants and in turn reduce their carbon footprint.
        3. The redevelopment of buildings will be managed in line with our environmental improvement criteria (Appendix B) including prioritising energy efficiency, potential for renewable energy generation, water efficiency, harvesting grey water, flooding risk & adaptation potential, suitable waste-management capability, opportunities to make space for nature and the ability to improve indoor air quality.
        4. We will use environmentally preferable building materials and specifications and contractors who adhere to environmentally positive methods with ISO 14001 accreditation who have signed up to net zero carbon targets.
        5. We aspire to achieve BREEAM excellent standard for new builds.
      1. Operation
        1. We will adopt a green lease with our studio provider tenants and require that they use green leases with their artist tenants, to include provisions regarding improving environmental performance and sharing environmental data.
        2. Studio providers will have direct responsibility for their utility accounts and must only use suppliers of 100% renewable energy who also build renewable capacity themselves, such as Good Energy and Ecotricity.
        3. Our leases will require studio providers to measure and report on the carbon footprint of their activities in the building in the first year of operation to establish a baseline. Annual reports and incremental targets will be made in line with current scientific guidance, aiming to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2025 (or as agreed with the studio provider).
        4. The annual report will include the total energy purchased and consumed by the studio provider and their tenants (Scope 1 & 2 emissions) and the waste produced, recycling rate, water consumption, artist and business travel (Scope 3 emissions).
    1. Social
      1. Our buildings will be distinctive, inspiring and creative places with assessment carried out on how to enhance these qualities during the redevelopment phase. Any improvements will be made within our affordability parameters.
      2. This will include environmental features such as biophilic design – harnessing the potential for nature to inspire creativity and improve air quality.
      3. We will design internal fit outs to encourage collaboration between building users, such as communal spaces where tenants can socialise and share resources, equipment and skills, as well as opportunities to connect and interact with the local community and economy.
    1. Economic
      1. Our buildings will be places where artists can feel secure and supported for perpetuity. We do not want to merely postpone the crisis that is happening in the creative studio sector in London, we want to solve it for the long term.
      2. We will secure buildings on long-term leases with 99 years preferred (a minimum of 25 years will be considered) or outright purchase of the freehold.
      3. We will work with developers and local authorities to secure property through planning policies such as Section 106 agreement or a Community Infrastructure Levy.
      4. Affordability is key: we will follow clear guidance on what level of rent is affordable such as the Mayor of London’s Artists’ Workspace Data Note.
      5. We aspire for our buildings to generate long-term return on investment, as studios for artist and maker tenants have potential for high occupancy rates, providing consistent and reliable income for sometimes hard to let buildings.
      6. We will retrofit to the highest environmental standard consistent with our affordability parameters, to ultimately reduce the running costs for the tenants.
      7. Any work that we carry out on buildings will use local contractors wherever possible to create local employment opportunities.
  1. Our Partners
    1. We will work collaboratively with partners who share our commitment to environmental, social, and economic sustainability, to ensure that sustainability is at the heart of every decision we make together.
    1. Environmental
      1. Studio Providers
        1. We will select studio providers who have a track record of reducing their environmental impacts, who manage buildings in an environmentally responsible manner and have committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2025. We will use selection criteria based on the Arts Council’s Beyond Carbon questionnaire (Appendix C).
        2. In a competitive situation higher scores will be given to providers who have strong sustainability policies with a net zero carbon emission target by 2025 and can demonstrate how they will deliver these.
        3. We aim to develop a network of artists who understand the climate and ecological crisis, and we will measure the proportion of artists whose work reflects environmental themes, particularly climate change and climate justice.
        4. We will encourage resourcefulness in all aspects, with material and equipment sharing set up to support the circular economy.
      1. Local Authorities
        1. We will work with Local Authorities who have declared a climate and ecological emergency to help them achieve their targets.
      1. Developers
        1. We prefer to work with developers who have either signed the Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment (to achieve net zero operational emissions by 2030, reduce embodied carbon emissions by 40% and 100% by 2050), or who have their own comparable net zero targets in place.
        2. Where a developer has not yet set a target we will encourage them to do so.
    1. Social
      1. Studio Providers
        1. With our strong understanding of artists’ needs we will talk to property developers and local authorities to develop mutually beneficial relationships.
        2. We will use sector expertise to make sure our buildings are managed by excellent providers of affordable workspace.
        3. We have set targets for our artist studio providers to achieve tenant diversity of 40% BAME, 50% women and 15% from low socio-economic backgrounds from the outset, in line with Arts Council England’s strategic priority for inclusivity and diversity.
        4. We will prioritise working with studio providers who include socially engaged artists who want to integrate and connect with their local community. We will speak to local communities to understand their needs, so we can monitor the impact of artist engagement.
        5. We expect our studio providers to develop an active programme of appropriate engagement activities with their local community, such as time banks and community workshops, which could include working with schools, co-working for local businesses, open studios, and providing equipment hire / workshops.
        6. We will demonstrate the social impact that this is having by developing social impact measures with the studio provider.
      1. Local Authorities
        1. We will encourage local authorities who recognise the contribution of the arts to wellbeing, place-making and local economic development, and community resilience.
        2. CLT can help to find long-term alternative and secure creative uses for local authority surplus or hard to let building portfolios.
        3. We will work in accordance with Local Development Plans, Area Action Plans, Planning Policy, Local Strategies (such as Community Strategy, Economic Strategy, Arts & Cultural Strategy) and work with local government to achieve sustainable development objectives.
      1. Developers
        1. We will use our extensive knowledge of the sector to communicate the importance of culture for resilient communities and the social, economic and environmental benefits creative tenants can bring to developments.
        2. Through community engagement programmes our spaces will be places people can feel they are part of.
        3. We will work with developers who understand the value of the sector, and who plan for artists’ requirements at an early stage through mechanisms such as Section 106 and Community Infrastructure Levies.
    1. Economic
      1. We will use the Sustainable Workplace Accreditation Scheme and those already operated by local authorities to guide decision making on the economic sustainability of studio providers.
      2. Where there is opportunity to let space at commercial rates CLT will prioritise the selection of sustainable businesses to support innovation and green growth.
      3. We will encourage our tenants to connect with local businesses where possible to support the local economy.
      4. We will work with partners to measure studios’ contribution to the local economy of the through a local economic impact assessment.
      5. Our goal is to achieve demonstrable ESG (environmental, social and governance) returns on investment.

Appendix A – Action Plan & Performance Indicators