Report and webinar: Act Green 2023
A report by Indigo following their national sector survey, Act Green. This sector wide research took place throughout July 2023, with 86 organisations gathering 17,500 responses. It explores the role of cultural organisations and their audiences in tackling the climate crisis. Sponsored by Supercool.
"The results of this year’s Act Green clearly show what audiences and visitors perceive the role of cultural organisations to be in tackling the climate emergency. They have high expectations for what organisations should be doing to reduce their own carbon emissions, and how they should be facilitating conversations and inspiring action in their communities.
"There is a challenge for organisations to effectively communicate what they’re doing and engage audiences to help them reach their sustainability goals through provision of information and infrastructure.
Indigo CEO Katy Raines
17,500 survey responses told us that:
Audiences are worried about the climate crisis
- 87% of cultural audiences are worried about the climate crisis and 93% have made changes to their lifestyle to help tackle it.
Audiences think that cultural organisation are not doing enough
- Audiences and visitors think organisations are not doing enough or feel that they are not communicating what they are doing effectively. 77% of think cultural organisations have a responsibility to influence society to make radical change in response to the climate emergency.
Younger audiences more likely to think cultural organisations have a responsibility
- Younger respondents are even more likely to think organisations have a responsibility to influence society to address the climate emergency.
Audiences have high expectations
- Audience members have high expectations of cultural organisations. 93% expect organisations to ensure their buildings are as energy efficient as possible, while 94% expect organisations to be reducing and recycling waste.
Audiences want guidance
- 3 in 4 audiences want information from organisations about how they can act more sustainably. 66% want more information about how to travel sustainably.
Audiences need information on how to help
- Audiences and visitors want to play their part to help organisations fulfil their sustainability goals but need information and infrastructure to help them do that.
Respondent and organisation profile
- 17,479 cultural audience members responded to the survey sent out by 86 participating organisations
- Over half of those participating organisations were theatres or arts centres. 12 museums and galleries, and 25 other organisations including cinemas, libraries and touring companies took part.
- A large proportion of responses came from those aged over 55. 8% of responses were from under 35s, 16% of them have children under 16 and 14% identified as disabled.
- Respondents are frequent attenders who go to a wide range of types of cultural events. 51% say they attend cultural events and venues every few months. A significant proportion of respondents either gave regularly or had donated in the past and support of a cultural organisation.
Cultural audiences and the climate emergency
- 88% of cultural audiences are worried about the impact of climate change, compared to 76% of the general population.
- Concern is high across all age groups, though there is slight variation by age – 92% of under 35s are worried compared to 87% of over 55s are worried.
- 93% of respondents have made changes to their lifestyle to tackle climate change.
The role of cultural organisations
- 77% of cultural audiences think cultural organisations have a responsibility to influence society to make radical change to address the climate emergency – including 85% of under 35s.
- Only 17% think cultural organisations place great importance on playing an active role in tackling climate change.
- When asked to say how much importance the organisation who sent them the survey places on playing an active role in tackling climate change, 25% said they don’t know.
"Cultural organisations are trusted influencers in communities, they are well placed to increase awareness of the urgency and devastation of climate change and engage communities in ways they can make a difference. Crucial work." - Respondent
"Conversation is key but also helping others in finding ways to be sustainable is also important." - Respondent
Organisations and sustainability initiatives
What sustainability initiatives do audience members expect from cultural organisations and which do they think are the most important? Respondents had high expectations in many areas – in particular:
- 94% expect organisations to be reducing and recycling waste.
- 93% expect organisations to ensure they are as energy efficient as possible.
- 91% expect them to ensure materials are reused after an event or exhibition.
- 90% think organisations should avoid disposable packaging and single-use plastic.
- 89% think they should minimise food waste.
- 88% expect organisations to provide designated recycling bins.
"It’s important to embed good climate-friendly practice in every aspect of the working life of a cultural organisation." - Respondent
"Cultural organisations play a vital role in addressing climate change. They should influence public opinion through creative expressions, educate about climate issues, lead by example with sustainable practices, and foster collaborations across sectors." - Respondent
Getting audiences involved
- 51% of audiences and visitors say they want to actively play their part in support a cultural organisations efforts to become more sustainable
- A further 29% would make changes if it is easy and doesn’t inconvenience them.
- When asked what they would do to support organisations, 91% would reduce their use of disposable packaging at the venue, 67% would choose more sustainable food options and 15% said they were quite likely to donate their time as a ‘green volunteer’.
"I can be active if I can see the organisation doing the same" - Respondent
"Organisations need to show they are genuine for change" - Respondent
On 11 September 2023, Indigo presented the results of Act Green at a Supercool Session, attended by nearly 200 people from across the sector. The speakers were:
- Kate Mroczkowski - Strategy Director, Supercool
- Katy Raines - CEO, Indigo Ltd
- Flo Carr - Associate Director, Indigo Ltd
- Catrin John - Arts Consultant and MSc student in sustainability and behaviour change