An Upstart Eco-Conscious Gallery Coalition Has Opened a Branch in Berlin With Ten New Members to Fight Climate Change

Membership in the group has exploded from 14 original founders to 361 members in just six months.

A climate change demonstration in front of the Reichstag in Berlin. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

The burgeoning Gallery Climate Coalition (GCC), which was founded in London last October to encourage the art industry to become carbon neutral, is expanding with a new chapter in Berlin.

The group will led by 10 German-based members, including galleries Sprüth Magers, Haverkampf, and Esther Schipper. Gallery Weekend Berlin and two prominent art logistics companies, Artseco and Hasenkamp, are also joining the GCC.

The group “is about being less competitive and more collaborative,” says art dealer Jennifer Chert, co-owner of Berlin gallery ChertLüdde, another founding member of the group.

The GCC is committed to getting in line with the Paris Agreement, and getting its members to cut their carbon footprints by 50 percent over the next 10 years. It offers a carbon calculator and expert resources to help them achieve that goal.

The GCC Berlin offshoot will have a dedicated section on the GCC website, where members can seek to consolidate shipments with others, offer used exhibition materials for reuse, and gather and source other pertinent information.

The founding members of the Gallery Climate Coalition. Courtesy GCC.

The founding members of the Gallery Climate Coalition. Courtesy GCC.

The expansion of the network comes as the art world tries to pivot in the face of unprecedented climate change. Industry leaders such as Hauser & Wirth and Christie’s have recently announced their own pledges to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Meanwhile, membership in the GCC on the whole has exploded, growing from 14 original founders to 361 members in the past six months.

“We have been overwhelmed by the interest and enthusiasm across the sector internationally,” says Heath Lowndes, managing director at GCC and exhibitions coordinator at Thomas Dane Gallery in London. (Other founding members include art dealer Kate MacGarry and Frieze.)

“We are excited to launch the GCC Berlin, hopefully just one of the first of numerous dedicated international sub-groups to form,” Lowndes added.

Members are encouraged to do an annual carbon audit using a calculator created by environmental scientist Danny Chivers. The calculator takes into account travel, shipping, and energy emissions.

But member galleries do not have to make their findings public. (Thus far, Thomas Dane, MacGarry, and Frieze have shared their audits.)

Asked why not, MacGarry said the goal was not to force members to do anything.

“We didn’t want to put up any barriers, but support the galleries, or artists, that want to implement change,” she said. “Galleries can opt for their data to be analysed anonymously for progress reports in the future.”

“We hope the sharing of information will become more widespread as the coalition grows,” she added.

Helen Turner, curator of the E-Werk power station and exhibition space outside Berlin, which will host the Sun & Sea opera that won the Golden Lion at the 2019 Venice Biennale, will be the Berlin group’s in-house energy expert.

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