On Friday (21 April), the eve of Earth Day, the Gallery Climate Coalition (GCC)—an international non-profit that advocates for reducing the art sector’s carbon footprint—is holding a formal launch event for its New York chapter at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. That institution’s associate director of sustainability, Whitney McGuire, is a member of the nine-person founding committee for the new chapter, which joins existing GCC branches in London, Los Angeles, Berlin, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Taiwan.
The other members of the organisation’s New York chapter include dealers Ales Ortuzar (of Ortuzar Projects), Matthew Wood (of Mendes Wood DM) and Chiara Repetto (of Kaufmann Repetto), advisor Lisa Schiff, Swiss Institute director Stefanie Hessler, former Frieze fair director Loring Randolph (who now directs the Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Collection), artist Haley Mellin (who also directs the environmental non-profit Art to Acres) and Laura Lupton, who co-founded the collectives Galleries Commit and Artists Commit. The coalition, which launched in 2020, now has more than 800 members in 40 countries.
Referencing the cross-section of art sector workers represented on the New York founding committee, GCC co-founder and trustee (and former global director of the Frieze fairs) Victoria Siddall said, “It is this spirit of collaboration that will enable us to bring about real change, while allowing our industry to thrive and our actions will have a ripple effect that reaches far beyond the art world.”
The launch of GCC’s New York chapter comes with a call for local artists, galleries, non-profits and institutions to join the coalition, whose foremost goal is to reduce the art sector’s carbon emissions by 50% by 2030.
In recent events and initiatives, the coalition has been increasingly attentive to discouraging greenwashing and empty pledges. “It’s no good members just lingering on a list, we have to see that action is taking place, otherwise it just looks like greenwashing which is bad for them and bad for us,” GCC director Heath Lowndes told The Art Newspaper columnist (and coalition founding member) Louisa Buck earlier this year.
The coalition launched its “Active Membership” programme last year in part to ensure that pledges are followed by actions. In order to receive an Active Membership badge, participants must have completed an emissions report or carbon audit within the past two years, maintained a team devoted to green initiatives and published an environmental responsibility statement. Coalition members’ Active Membership statuses will be re-evaluated annually.