The year behind, and the years ahead

Illustration by Diana Ejaita for Ben Okri’s ’For Every Leaf a Hallelujah
Illustration by Diana Ejaita for Ben Okri’s ’For Every Leaf a Hallelujah

The magnitude of the climate crisis can be overwhelming for any SME, but particularly so if you are operating in the shipping and transportation industry where so much innovation will be required for a successful transition to a low carbon future. When looking at the problem, we have learned that if you bring a diverse set of voices to the decision table, you will be able to move faster with a clearer direction. Connecting with other organizations has helped Convelio to get started with important choices, by providing support and giving us the space to have constructive conversations. These relationships have accelerated our decision to act now. In September this year Convelio launched a dedicated sustainability function working on a comprehensive emissions report and a Climate Care program, with the main aim to reduce our impact on the environment.

The launch of this program would not have been possible without the companies and organizations who supported us, and kindly gave us their time to tackle the questions: how can you reduce the impact shipping has on the planet? What do transportation and logistics look like in a net zero future?

As 2021 draws to a close, we decided to reflect on the work of these organizations and their commitment to a low carbon economy, spotlighting some of the high impact projects, as well as shedding some light on what the future will be for the wider art, tech and logistics communities that we are a part of.

Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership

The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) is one of the leading organizations for the support and development of solutions for a sustainable economy.

Throughout the year they run a variety of different programs to spark conversation and ideas around sustainability. Their focus is on creating a platform where different organizations can come together and collaborate. From start-up founders to investors to major business, government, and finance institutions - all brought together to drive positive outcomes for people and the planet in pursuit of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In June 2021 Convelio joined a cohort of 16 other companies selected by CISL to Accelerate the Journey to Net Zero. We were each chosen based on the business model and our individual potential to help drive transformation in the UK economy. There were three other companies in the transport and logistics space, but the wider group covered a diverse range of areas including power storage and efficiency, power generation and maintenance, and resilient electric-grid performance, as well as those driving behavioral and societal change.

We came together twice a week for ten weeks to learn about each other's work, and hear from a series of speakers on a vast range of topics. The program started with the current net zero landscape and its challenges and opportunities, before moving onto the lean start-up methodology, marketing strategy, and sustainability disclosure. Areas of focus were how to create and capture value through sustainability, achieve supply chain sustainability and build a business model with sustainability integration.

The chart below presents the cohort and the diverse range of voices we had in each session. We remain very thankful for CISL for bringing us together and learning how many of the same problems arise from different sectors (for example measuring and accounting for a company's Scope 3 emissions). We look forward to hearing all the news of the members’ growth and development for the years to come.

Accelerator to zero cohort mapping

Smart Freight Center, GLEC and EcoTransit

Smart Freight Centre (SFC) is a global non-profit organization dedicated to sustainable freight. They were established in 2013 and have already made some substantial developments about how emissions from transportation are managed and measured.

To give an overview of the problem Smart Freight Center is trying to simplify, you can see here global emission broken down per sector below, and a deep dive on the transportation industry.

Smart Freight Center Source: Climate Watch, The World Resources Institute (2020) Source: Statistica, 2021

Transport contributes to 16.2% of global emissions, and emissions from trucks, shipping, and aviation all play a large part in the global calculation as shown on the right.

Smart Freight Center now is striving for an efficient and zero-emissions global logistics sector - contributing to Paris Climate Agreement targets and Sustainable Development Goals. They know that accurate measuring and innovation is key to reducing emissions, and believe that increased transparency and collaboration will mobilize companies to reduce the climate and pollution impact arising from global freight.

SFC founded the Global Logistics Emissions Council (GLEC), which brought together a number of key players to advance sustainable solutions for freight. They have put together the defining framework for the accurate measurement of transportation emissions.

They have also made this helpful key of companies who can support the transition to sustainable freight, a few of whom we have had conversations with but we are particularly grateful to EcoTransit who are working on ways to support businesses in carbon accounting using the GLEC methodology, and who have been very generous with their industry knowledge and support to Convelio so far.

Key Organizations

The Gallery Climate Coalition - GCC

The Gallery Climate Coalition (GCC) is a charity founded by a voluntary group of London-based gallerists and professionals working in the commercial arts sector as an attempt to develop a meaningful and industry-specific response to the growing climate crisis.

They were founded in 2020 and quickly became something hugely important for the arts: galleries joined, followed by artists, writers, auction houses, shipping companies, museums, institutions, investors - the GCC mobilized the arts community to come together and take action.

It now encompasses more than 550 organizations and individual members from both commercial and institutional fields. Its aim: to decarbonize the visual art sector and promote zero waste practices, in line with the Paris Agreement. The movement is growing, with GCC networks now forming in Berlin, Los Angeles, and soon, Italy.

To start, the group set about developing the tools, strategies, and research required to help instigate positive action. They launched a carbon calculator (built by the Artlogic team who have been pivotal in the development of the GCC), a free resource that has equipped many art world SME’s to measure their carbon emissions and see where reductions plans can be progressed, from business flights to exhibition installations and air freight.

In November this year, we were so pleased to be able to meet many of the coalition in person at their first conference at the Barbican center. There were some interesting conversations about decarbonizing the industry, the controversial topic of offsetting, and strategies to modernize how we pack and move artworks. All topics that at Convelio we feel very strongly about, from the pivotal conversations and resources from the GCC we are developing our sustainability roadmap and look forward to releasing it early next year.

To close the conference there was a reading by the poet, writer, and artist Ben Okri. He spoke about the importance of the art world as a communicator. In doing so Okri suggests that we can use the creative industries as a tool to bring people into the climate conversation and to activate audiences. He reminded us that we are in an industry that supports vision, image, and how people see and clarify their perception of the world – something that can be highly influential in the climate conversation.

January 8, 2022

Imogen Prus