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Culture and Climate Change

New report highlights how cities are linking their cultural and climate change agendas

As cities become increasingly important actors in global efforts to address climate change and environmental degradation, we see an untapped role for culture and the creative industries.

This week our World Cities Culture Forum - a network of the cultural affairs departments and cultural leaders from 35+ cities around the world- published Culture and Climate Change, the latest handbook in the forum’s Policy and Practice series. A handbook for city leaders, this publication provides the first global survey of how world cities are integrating their creativity and climate agendas.

Produced in partnership with the C40 Climate Leadership Group and cultural sustainability consultancy, Julie’s Bicycle, the report provides a framework for city leaders to examine how culture can help advance their environmental and resilience agendas; getting their message to new audiences, increasing public engagement, and driving behaviour change.

Notable initiatives profiled in the report include:

  • The City of Edinburgh’s Green Venue Guide, a partnership between Creative Carbon Scotland and Festivals Edinburgh to reduce the environmental impact of the city’s festival and events economy
  • Ecoprod, an initiative in Paris to help the capital’s TV and film sector calculate and reduce its carbon dioxide emissions
  • Amsterdam’s Cultural Venue Sustainability Action Plan, offering arts spaces across the city complimentary energy audits to monitor current use and advise on sustainability measures, in an effort to achieve a 20% reduction in energy use by 2020
  • CURRENT:LA Water, part of Los Angeles’ inaugural Public Art Biennial, bringing 15 site-specification installations throughout the city to increase residents’ understanding of and engagement with the city’s water issues
  • Refuge, a new initiative as part of the City of Melbourne’s resilience strategy to explore the role of cultural centres and artists in preparing for the impacts of climate related disasters

The World Cities Culture Forum is currently working on a new support and leadership exchange programme on this topic to help its member cities scale up their work linking culture and environmental sustainability. If you’re interested in learning more, please contact Matthieu Prin at

The full handbook can be downloaded here.

An article our Managing Director, Paul Owens wrote for National Geographic on this report can be found here.