A carbon footprint calculator and sustainability network for the visual arts sector

The Green Art website supporting environmental sustainability in the visual arts sector will be launched on 26 April. The new website provides a carbon and material footprint calculator to assist organisations and professionals to monitor and reduce their environmental impact. The project is led by a network of visual art organisations, including museums, residencies, associations and educational institutions. 

The Green Art website will be launched at the Sustainable Visual Arts Day, organised on Friday 26 April 2024 at the University of the Arts Helsinki. The event programme includes presentations and workshops on sustainability in the visual arts and is also streamed online.

The website contains a calculator for measuring the carbon footprint of an exhibition or artwork production as well as instructions and tips for sustainable practices. The website has a dedicated section for the Sustainable Visual Arts Network. The calculator is free to use and does not require registration. The website and the calculator are published in both Finnish and English.

“The prior interest in the website and the network shows a demand for reliable information and peer support. Arts organisations are very eager to act on environmental issues,” says Project Manager Saara Korpela. “There are many ways for visual arts organisations to influence and measure the impact of their activities. Hopefully measuring emissions will become as mundane as budget monitoring is today. The key is how the information provided by the calculator is used to reduce emissions. This requires both open and constructive debate and collaborative action. We need shared tools and a collaborative network – changing practices is only possible together,” Korpela continues. 

The Green Art Calculator is built based on the calculation principles of the GHG protocol commonly used in carbon footprint calculations. The calculator has been tailored for the typical emission sources of visual arts actors. Emissions are divided into five categories from largest to smallest: mobility and transport, energy consumption of facilities, purchases, materials and waste. A special feature of the calculator is emission factors for different materials used in exhibition production, such as wood, fibreboard, metals, plastics and paints. The calculator also includes material footprint data to the extent that is available from open databases. The material footprint complements the results of the carbon footprint calculation.

A screen of a laptop showcasing the green-themed website of the Green Art project.

Photo by Katri Kuisma.

The website is the result of the Sustainable Visual Arts Network, a network of visual arts practitioners. The network is a peer-to-peer network of organisations in the sector, which aims to strengthen the environmental knowledge of the visual arts sector and support the sector’s transition to ecologically sustainable practices. In 2024, the network will be led by IHME Helsinki and Frame Contemporary Art Finland and is open to all interested actors.

The website and the development project are part of the Green Art project led by Frame Contemporary Art Finland. The project has received support from the Ministry of Education and Culture for the renewal of culture and creative industries. The funding is part of the Next Generation EU programme. The website and the calculator have been developed by Positive Impact Finland Oy (now part of Sitowise Oy) together with Frame, involving project partners and visual arts actors. 

The project is made in cooperation with Frame Contemporary Art Finland, EMMA Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Helsinki Kunsthalle, HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme, IHME Helsinki, Mustarinda Association, Pro Artibus Foundation, Finnish National Gallery,The Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes, Finnish Museum Association, Artists’ Association of Finland, Finnish Artists’ Association Studio Foundation, the Academy of Fine Arts of the Uniarts Helsinki and the Arts Academy of Turku University of Applied Sciences.