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Act Green 2024

Act Green is a sector-wide research initiative focused on examining the role of cultural organisations and their audiences in addressing the climate crisis. The second year of Act Green took place in 2023. This blog will summarise last year’s research findings, with a specific emphasis on museum visitors and their expectations of cultural organisations.

We are thrilled to announce the continuation of Act Green this year. The survey will commence on Monday, April 29, and will run throughout May. Participation is free for cultural organisations, and you can sign up here.

Act Green 2023: Summary of findings

The findings from Act Green 2023 reveal that cultural audiences and visitors are deeply concerned about the climate emergency, with the majority making lifestyle changes to combat it. However, they feel that organisations are either not doing enough or failing to communicate their efforts effectively. Audiences are eager to contribute to the sustainability goals of these organisations but require information and infrastructure to do so. They believe cultural organisations should lead in raising awareness and facilitating discussions on the climate crisis without coming across as preachy. Cultural organisations are recognised for their unique influence on society at various levels.

Respondent and organisation profile

A total of 17,479 cultural audience members responded to the survey, which was distributed by 86 participating organisations, including museums, galleries, theatres, cinemas, and libraries. The respondents are frequent attendees of cultural events, with 51% visiting cultural venues every few months. A significant portion of respondents have either regularly given donations or supported cultural organisations in the past. This blog will specifically focus on the responses from the 15% of participants who primarily attend museums, exhibitions, and heritage organisations.

Museum visitors and the climate emergency

Ninety percent of museum visitors are concerned about the impact of climate change, compared to 76% of the general population. This concern spans all age groups, though there is a slight variation, with 94% of those under 35 expressing worry compared to 90% of those over 55. Additionally, 94% of museum visitors have made lifestyle changes to address climate change.

The role of cultural organisations

Eighty-one percent of museum visitors believe that cultural organisations have a responsibility to influence society towards making radical changes to combat the climate crisis. However, only 19% feel that these organisations place significant importance on tackling climate change. When asked about the organisation that sent them the survey, 24% of respondents admitted they did not know how much emphasis was placed on climate action.

Organisations and sustainability initiatives

Museum visitors have high expectations regarding the sustainability initiatives of cultural organisations. Key areas of concern include:

  • 95% expect the museums they visit to be reducing and recycling waste.
  • 95% expect the museums they visit to ensure they are as energy efficient as possible.
  • 93% expect them to ensure materials are reused after an event or exhibition.
  • 92% think the museums they visit should avoid disposable packaging and single-use plastic.
  • 92% think they should minimise food waste.
  • 89% expect the museums they visit to provide designated recycling bins.

Getting audiences involved

Fifty-eight percent of museum visitors want to actively support cultural organisations in becoming more sustainable. Twenty-four percent are willing to make changes if it is easy and convenient. Specifically, 93% would reduce their use of disposable packaging at venues, 72% would choose more sustainable food options, and 17% are quite likely to volunteer as ‘green volunteers.’

The full Act Green 2023 report is available for download here. To see how your visitors compare, participate in this year’s survey. Act Green 2024 is currently live and closes on Monday 27 May. Participation is FREE for cultural organisations, and you can sign up here.

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