The international fine art logistics company, which provides services to museums, galleries, auction houses and collectors across the world, has vowed to think about the environment when moving art and artefacts.
Crown Fine Art is planning to reduce its carbon footprint each year as part of parent company Crown Worldwide UK& I’s pledge to reduce its company-wide figures by five per cent annually. For a business that specialises in the safe transportation of fine art is a significant challenge.
Michael Festenstein, Special Projects Manager at Crown Fine Art, said: “It’s great to see sustainability brought into focus by International Museums Day. Thousands of packing cases are thrown away every year in this industry because they are custom-built and often only used once. When you consider they also include plastic foam inside, it really isn’t good for the environment. But we have found there are ways for cases to be re-used and it is increasingly something we try to do, even when it is difficult. By re-fitting the padding inside it is often possible to re-use them.”
To achieve its goal, older vehicles are in the Crown Fine Art fleet are being upgraded or replaced with more modern stock that features fewer emissions and better fuel consumption. The logistics firm will also look at more innovative ways to help the environment by reducing the number of miles its trucks travel. A good example is a recent high profile job where the company had to deliver objects from lenders all over the country. Normally for vulnerable objects it finds that museums, galleries or private owners want someone – a courier – to accompany the painting, for example, on its journey. In the modern trucks they even provide CCTV so clients can still see the cargo. But it can mean a lot of trips. “Now lenders are encouraged to share couriers,” said Festenstein. “Even though we may be able to accommodate multiple couriers in the vehicle, if one can oversee all the works on a trip it normally provides a significant saving on carbon footprint and provides a cost benefit for all concerned.”
For that recent project, lenders in Edinburgh and Glasgow agreed to share one loan – while lenders in Norwich and Cambridge shared another. “It actually reduced our profits but it makes sense and is good for the environment as well as our clients’ budget.”
Crown Fine Art is also offering reduced rates to encourage galleries and museums to use trucks that would otherwise be returning from jobs empty. Additionally, a recent programme to help museums install LED lighting has brought another opportunity into focus. Festenstein said: “We have noticed a real trend towards museums and galleries taking an interest in LED lighting. Recent advances in technology have made it a much more attractive prospect. The benefits, in fact, are multiple. Conservators are happy because LED lights, which don’t emit damaging UV rays, are far kinder than traditional lighting which can cause art and artefacts to fade. There will no longer be a need to install filters or UV glass to protect paintings, for instance.
On top of that he said that the bulbs last significantly longer, which brings cost benefits, and use less energy, which is good for the environment. Crown Fine Art also practices what it preaches, installing LED lighting in all new premises, and using recyclable packing materials whenever possible.
“Thinking about the environment and our carbon footprint is not just a policy but an intrinsic part of our company values, culture and strategy,” said Barry Koolen, Managing Director of parent group Crown Worldwide in the UK, Ireland and Northern Europe. “When we underwent ISO 14001 six or seven years ago it came up with 80 key measures for emissions which we should look to or act on – and that’s what we aim to do. We look at reducing emissions and also at offsetting. The aim is to reduce our emissions by five per cent in UK and Ireland each year and we are already carbon neutral. These policies don’t just apply to Crown Fine Art but across the group. That’s why we fully support International Museums Day and the aim of museums for a sustainable society.”