This photo is a view of the SLG's Fox Garden, it shows bushes and plants in the foreground, a person sitting on a chair in the mid-ground and the building of the gallery in the background.

Image: Fox Garden. Photo: Andy Stagg

The South London Gallery is committed to reducing our environmental impact. We aim to increase sustainability practices and policies in the gallery and to grow our community’s awareness of environmental concerns.

We regularly monitor and report on our activities. Our goal is to continue to improve our performance and understanding around sustainable development.

We know that there is more to do. We are examining our systems and programmes, to adapt, change and learn. We need to be more responsible, as an organisation and as individuals.

WHAT WE HAVE DONE

In 2012 the SLG commissioned an energy audit, which led to the development of our first environmental policy and detailed action plan. This is reviewed and edited every year. We use Julie’s Bicycle tools to measure energy and water usage, compare with benchmarks and set new targets each year.

  • We have a Sustainability Committee made-up of employees across all gallery departments which meets every two months to discuss our environmental action plans. We share changes that have been put in place as well as new research and ideas.
  • We use efficient heating methods across our sites. Most of the boilers are thermostat controlled and we installed double glazed windows in our artist residency flat. In 2020 we switched to green gas from Ecotricity and we moved to renewable electricity coming from wind and hydro farms. We have installed smart meters to help us better track and report on our energy usage.
  • All timber used for exhibition and building improvements is purchased from local, London-based suppliers who are environmentally aware businesses and committed to the sustainable sourcing of timber.
  • The Fox Garden and Orozco Garden are densely planted with year-round scented flowers which encourage local wildlife. The Clore Studio features a green roof for additional insulation, water retention, and promotes biodiversity.
  • The rain water which falls into the pools of the Orozco Garden is naturally drained and used to help water our plants, helping us to sustain the plant life while reducing our water consumption.
  • All SLG’s printed marketing materials are created on recycled stock and in 2019, we decreased our printed season leaflets by 50%. We no longer send printed invitations to openings and encourage our visitors to sign up to email newsletters to get information.
  • Our Residents’ Programme reuse unwanted material and furniture for their activities and projects and we collect collage material and accept recycled donated materials for education programmes.
  • We work closely with Southwark Council to measure recycling and compostable food wastage output and continue to strive to recycle more and waste less. In 2020 we started collecting biodegradable waste.
  • Nearly all of our staff travel by foot, bike or public transport to work and we use online video calls instead of travelling outside of London, where possible.
  • Cycle racks are situated at the front of the Main Gallery and Fire Station and we provide lockers at both buildings to accommodate visitors who cycle. We promote cycling, walking and public transport as the best ways to travel to the gallery.
  • In our shop, many of our products are locally sourced and produced in London and we are working with more local makers, who often travel on foot to hand deliver their products to the store. We recycle packaging for online orders and stock returns. We use no plastic bags in the shop, and offer customers easily recycled paper bags instead. We recently changed our payment systems to reduce printed Z-Read Reports & receipts.
  • Crane’s Kitchen café is owned by London-based catering company, Social Pantry. Social Pantry’s aim is to become the first zero-waste caterer. In 2018, they hired a sustainability consultant to help them reach this goal. The cafe adopts a fresh, local, and seasonal approach when crafting menus. Last year, they made the decision to phase out the use of avocados across their entire business and they no longer feature on our menus. They also work with charities such as FareShare, The Felix Project & City Harvest to redistribute and reuse any surplus food.

COMMITMENTS GOING FORWARD

  • We will clearly communicate our environmental commitment with suppliers and contractors, visitors and clients to encourage them to support systems and work with us to reduce our impact.
  • We aim to reuse, recycle or repurpose more of our event and exhibition materials.
  • We recognise the role that art can play in raising awareness of the climate crisis. Our aim is for our programme of events and exhibitions to reflect our environmental concerns.
  • In our bookshop, we are transitioning to zero-plastic gifts and to environmentally conscientious greeting card companies & stationery suppliers.
  • We aim to share successes and initiatives with peer networks of other galleries and arts organisations.