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Art What!: Christie’s Announces Global Sustainability Initiative

Screenshot 2021-03-06 at 2.53.47 PM

Japanese Garden 3, 2019 Sold for $4,928,500 to Benefit Global Wildlife Conservation Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale, New York, 15 May 2019 © Jonas Wood

LONDON – Christie’s confirmed its commitment to more sustainable operations, pledging to be net zero by 2030. The company is committing to a 50% reduction in its carbon emissions, achieving 90% diversion from landfill for its waste and providing all clients with packaging and printed material that is 100% recyclable.

Christie’s is setting its carbon reduction goals aligned to the needs of climate science, and has committed to the Science Based Target initiative* (SBTi) to help achieve the 1.5°C warming trajectory required to avoid dangerous climate change. Christie’s is the first auction house to apply for this accreditation which promotes best practice and independently assesses and approves companies’ targets in line with strict criteria.

Tom Woolston, Global Head of Operations and leading Christie’s Sustainability program, said: “From now on, the lens of sustainability must inform all of our activities. We understand that making good on these commitments will require a shift in culture and recognise that there is much to be done to adapt across the business.”

In order to achieve the targets, Christie’s is addressing four key areas which make the most significant contribution to our emissions. The company will optimise logistics to better utilise lower carbon modes of transport and be more selective in touring property for exhibitions, leveraging the use of digital tools to bridge the gap; do less travel and find new ways to communicate with each other and their clients and partners; use renewable energy in the London headquarters; and commit to a 75% reduction in print materials during 2020, exceeding the commitment announced in 2019 Christie’s took the opportunity last year to reflect on their business operation and drove innovation and efficiencies around new live sale format and digital innovation. This accelerated digital transformation has moved the business forward and enhanced digital capabilities will continue to underpin a more sustainable culture. By improving and expanding the digital client experience, the environmental impact of enjoying art and luxury goods can be dramatically reduced.

Working with leading sustainability consultants Avieco, Christie’s has completed a review of all operational activities and measured its current global emissions (available online). The company is committing to annual reporting of future emissions and its progress towards targets, the first of which will be published later this year, to ensure transparency.

Christie’s will also take a collaborative approach with suppliers and other stakeholders to work to reduce the collective environmental footprint up and down the supply chain. “We know the broader art industry shares the desire to combat climate change, and we promise to use our leadership position to drive positive change, actively looking to form collaborations with stakeholders across the art world and beyond,” adds Mr. Woolston.

Christie’s has also joined the Gallery Climate Coalition (GCC) a non-profit organisation founded by a voluntary group of London-based gallerists and professionals. Their aim is to help the art world reduce its impact on the climate and to develop a meaningful and industry-specific response to the growing climate crisis. The company will also continue to support climate-focused philanthropic activities. Recent collaborations have included ‘The David Gilmour Collection’ (June 2019), where proceeds were designated to ClientEarth and the sale of Jonah Wood’s ‘Japanese Garden 3’ (May 2019) which benefitted Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) and Rainforest Trust. In November 2020, as part of our Middle Eastern art sales, Christie’s presented Matters of Material, a curated auction exploring how artists make use of materials to explore issues including sustainability.

“As a market leader, Christie’s has a special responsibility in terms of protecting our environment and building a more sustainable business for now and for the future. We are committing to defined targets and transparent communication of our progress, while supporting collaboration across the industry,” says Guillaume Cerutti, CEO, Christie’s.

More information on Christie’s sustainability efforts available here

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