"The art industry can act collectively without waiting for the respective governments"

26 October 2021

Kataoka, Mami_square.jpg

Mami Kataoka, President of CIMAM, Director, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, talks about sustainability in the art world. Excerpt interview, originally published by El País, September 6, 2021.

What should be the role of artists in addressing the climate emergency?

Commitment to sustainability in the art world has been the subject of debate in recent years, but radical changes have been forced and accelerated due to the pandemic. Seizing this opportunity, we must engage with the entire art industry, including art institutions, galleries, and artists, to pursue a new ecology. CIMAM has just published the Environmental Sustainability in Museum Practice Toolkit for institutions, and I believe that the debate on defining ecological works will naturally emerge.

Do you think governments are making a real effort towards the climate crisis? What should they do?

It all depends on each government's policy, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic and behavioral restrictions such as lock-in, greenhouse gases have decreased dramatically. At the same time, we see much more rapid climate changes in recent years, and governments have to work together globally to catch up with those changes. And the art industry can act collectively without waiting for the respective governments.

CIMAM Toolkit on Environmental Sustainability in the Museum Practice

This toolkit produced thanks to the contributions of CIMAM Board members 2020–22, aims to help contemporary art museum professionals start implementing the necessary changes to become carbon neutral. It comprises the following sections:

(1) Examples of Immediate Actions

(2) Sustainability Action Plans

(3) Carbon Footprint Calculators and Certificates

(4) Sustainability Consultants

(5) Inspiring Projects, Platforms, and Resources

(6) Reading List

This Toolkit will be updated periodically with new strategies, ideas, and resources as they emerge in the museum sector to help institutions move towards sustainability and thus achieve climate-neutral impact.

The Toolkit is also available in PDF.