Compton Verney is a nationally-accredited art gallery set within a Capability Brown landscaped 120-acre park. It was fully opened to the public in 2004. It is described as an educational charity where art and nature meet for the benefit of all and as an exemplar for environmental sustainability. It hosts a full and lively programme of events, educational visits and private functions, with around 100,000 visitors annually. The gallery houses six permanent collections and between three and seven temporary exhibitions each year. The park lies within the district of Stratford-Upon-Avon in Warwickshire. In July 2019, Stratford District Council declared a climate emergency and councillors pledged to take local action with an aim of carbon neutrality in Stratford-on-Avon district by 2030.
The park plays host to activities which bring visitors closer to nature, such as Forest School, and bird, butterfly and tree walks. Workshops including Pigment Making and Woodcraft build hand skills as an alternative to consumption of mass-produced products with heavier carbon footprints; activities such as Thai Chi on the lawn also have a low environmental cost and nurture connection with landscape.
From its inception, Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park has been pro-active in working to keep its footprint light, for instance incorporating a lake source heat pump in the 1990’s restoration work. In 2015, a reed bed for the treatment of sewage was installed within the park. Care for the environment has been present in resource management decisions. Examples are: choosing a waste partner with a zero to landfill policy; choosing a low carbon energy supply; the current shift to electric garden machinery; and the plan to manage the park organically by 2020. Steps have been taken to reduce energy consumption, for instance by fitting LED lighting in the galleries. As an NPO, we monitor our use of resources (see Appendix One). The recent installation of electric car charging points and planned installation of bicycle racks is helping to lower the impact of visitor travel.
Compton Verney teams with partner organisations to improve sustainability – it is a member of Sustainability of Arts in West Midlands, working together with organisations including the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Midlands Arts Centre.
Compton Verney’s curation, both inside and out, continues to reflect the landscape. Past exhibitions have included Whistler and Nature, The Lost Words, Creating the Countryside and Gainsborough’s Landscapes. Self-sufficiency and taming of the landscape have been explored, for instance in The Fifties Allotment, Stanley Spencer and the English Garden, and Capability Brown and the Landscapes of Middle England. Sustainability has been addressed on a practical level, for instance in The Clearing – an experiment in simple, off-grid living within the park.
As a young organisation, we wish to reveal and share our environmental journey with our governors, staff, members and visitors, and to build on it by embedding best practice through the development of a sustainability framework. This will cover the four broad areas described below.
Motivation, Aims and Objectives
· Respond to the climate emergency recognised by the UK Parliament, Stratford District Council and others and enhance our reputation by sharing a strong environmental narrative
· Provide opportunities for our visitors, young and old, to engage with, learn about and enjoy wildlife and landscape
· Manage costs in order to strengthen financial resilience and re-invest into our work as a not-for-profit charity
· Enhance reputation by sharing a strong environmental narrative, as awareness of the climate change and biodiversity crisis intensifies
· Meet or exceed all of the requirements of relevant environmental legislation and best practice
· Consider our impact by collecting data to demonstrate this
· Quantifying and monitoring benchmarking whilst responding and reducing accordingly
We would like to consider a project to extend our biodiversity surveying work to include more flora and fauna.
Regular Tasks and Reviews
1. Review the Environmental Policy (this document)
2. Review the Environmental Action Plan
3. Convene a Green Committee to meet at least quarterly in order to review and appraise environmental performance and evolve future plans
4. Audit and review to ensure compliance to the policy and to any applicable laws and legislation
5. Ensure all plant and infrastructure is regularly maintained and serviced allowing it to perform at its most efficient