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Our business

BALTIC is a major international contemporary art centre operating from a base in Gateshead, in the North East of England. It opened in 2002 following the redevelopment of the site by Gateshead Council. The main BALTIC building, a combination of a converted 1950s flour mill and a new build extension, has an overall floor area of approximately 10,000 square metres. The spaces within the building have a variety of uses including exhibition, learning, office and commercial spaces – including retail, catering and corporate events areas.

BALTIC’s main charitable objective and activity is the presentation, promotion and advancement of contemporary visual arts realised by a programme of contemporary art exhibitions. The artistic programme, involving artists and artworks from across the globe, is presented within four dedicated gallery spaces, ranging from 250 – 750 square metres. BALTIC has no collection of its own and therefore it has an ever changing programme of exhibitions, where artists challenge the gallery spaces, which potentially requires major reconfigurations of these spaces for each exhibition.

BALTIC acknowledges that its day to day operations undoubtedly have an impact on the environment, whether this is by its use of energy, the waste it produces or its carbon footprint as a result of its varied activities.

Alongside this acknowledgement is a commitment to reduce our impact wherever possible.

We are committed to:

• Understanding the impacts we have on the environment
• Measuring these impacts
• Striving to improve and reduce these impacts

BALTIC is committed to keep all of its operations under review to determine what actions and choices can be made, within financial, operational and technical boundaries, to reduce and minimise its environmental impact.

Our impact

We are committed to identifying and where possible reducing the negative environmental impacts of our activities, in particular those relating to:

• Our energy use, water use and waste
• Our visitor, business travel and staff commuting
• Our transportation of artworks and associated artist and technician travel
• Our contractors and service providers' transportation to and from site
• Our use of building materials for exhibition installs, use, waste and transportation
• Our buildings operation, maintenance and refurbishments, use, waste and transportation
• Our events and conference, use, waste and transportation
• Our office processes

Our commitment

We are committed to understanding, measuring, improving and communicating our environmental performance. This will be reviewed by our Board of Trustees on a quarterly basis to ensure we are achieving standards set. Our main commitment areas are:

  • Meet, and where appropriate, exceed the requirements of all relevant legislation
  • Managing and reducing water waste
  • Managing and reducing energy usage
  • To provide LED lighting throughout the galleries
  • Work with our with our regional colleagues and partners from NewcastleGateshead Cultural Venues on green initiatives
  • Formulation and implementation of a sustainable procurement plan
  • To continue recycling at source plastic, glass, cardboard, paper, metal and wood
  • To work with our catering partners Fresh Element to reduce food waste and to research suitable food recycling processes
  • To develop ways to reduce our carbon footprint through travel and transportation reduction

Our current projects

Julie's Bicycle Spotlight Programme

Arts Council England’s Environmental Programme 2018-2022, delivered by Julie’s Bicycle, is putting a spotlight on reducing the environmental impacts of National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs).

The Spotlight Programme is working closely with 30 large grant recipients in Art Council England's National Portfolio to achieve measurable reductions through development of good energy management practice in buildings and sharing best practice.

Amongst the 30 organisations involved with the Spotlight programme are BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, National Theatre, Serpentine Galleries, Sage Gateshead, Whitechapel Gallery, HOME Manchester – all building based NPOs of various size, age and complexity.

Environmental Impact Reduction Objectives (EIROs)

The Spotlight Programme follows the Science-Based Target Initiative approach for reducing greenhouse gas emissions so that the global temperature rise does not exceed 1.5o Celsius, in accordance with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report October 2018.

In addition to setting a carbon reduction target, participants are each setting an energy intensity target for improving energy efficiency.

In 2018/19 BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art’s carbon footprint from building energy use was 994.5 tonnes CO2e or 99.5 kg CO2e per m2. This is based on 4,158,055 kWh electricity and gas (or 416 kWh per m2), and their respective carbon intensities.

As a participant of the Spotlight Programme, BALTIC is setting the following Environmental Impact Reduction Objectives for its building electricity and gas consumption:

By 2021/22:
• Carbon reduction target: 5.2% relative reduction (92 kg CO2e per m2)
• Energy intensity target: 5.9% relative reduction (392 kWh per m2)

This is compared to a baseline of 2018/19 and relative to our floor area.

In achieving the target, BALTIC’s carbon footprint will be 923 tonnes CO2e in 2021/22, 71.5 tonnes CO2e lower compared to 2018/19.

This will put BALTIC on a pathway to play its part in a de-carbonisation of the UK economy necessary to prevent 1.5 °C being exceeded.