• The Exchange. Photo by Simon Cook



Some of the things we’re doing, see below for more details.

  • 63% of our waste was recycled in 2020 and 95% was recycled (landfill diversion) in 2022
  • In our shops, all our in-house packaging is plastic-free. We use brown paper bags, tissue paper for packaging, and degradable bubble wrap for posting glass and ceramics.
  • We are supporting local makers and artists in our shops. Approx 40% of the shop stock is made and supplied by local makers and designers, and we hope to increase this.
  • We use reusable Huskee keep-cups in the cafes and we’re part of the reusable Huskee Cup scheme in Penzance.
  • 60% of staff walk or use public transport to work.
  • We have switched to 100% renewable electricity and our gas is from a carbon neutral source. We use low-energy LED lighting across both galleries.
  • We have reduced the use of paper programmes and handouts, and instead use QR codes to access information on our website.
  • We reuse materials for temporary walls in exhibitions, no longer sending plasterboard to landfill. We reuse exhibition furniture, and have reduced painting gallery walls.
  • Artist and staff travel is reduced, and transport trips are consolidated, when possible.
  • Our Gallery Trail encourages visitors to walk or cycle from one venue to another.
  • We are actively supporting organisations such as Cornwall Wildlife Trust, and Growing Links.



In 2019 we became an Arts Council Collection National Partner, enabling us present exhibitions of works drawn from the Arts Council Collection. To be able to show these works we need to achieve consistent environmental conditions in the gallery spaces to protect and preserve the works.  This has led to an increased use of our building management system year-round, leading to increased energy usage. However, recent analysis suggests that substantial investment in our plant, and close monitoring by specialist contractors has limited the negative effect, particularly at The Exchange.  We will continue to closely monitor the situation, but, based on current data, our carbon footprint has levelled off at The Exchange, but increased at Newlyn Art Gallery, where a less sophisticated building management system is installed. In addition, after reviewing our energy contracts in June 2021, we have been able to source and move (and in the process of moving) all of our energy supply to 100% renewable. This action has had a positive impact, reducing our overall carbon footprint by approximately 40, 150 tonnes.


It is now more important than ever to support local suppliers.  Over a third of the products in our shop are made locally and a large quantity by hand or using natural materials.  We will deliver a number of small capital projects over the next 12 months, and where possible will seek to use local suppliers and contractors with green credentials. We will also review the way we store and transport artwork. This year we plan to start using and researching plastic-free alternatives when storing and transporting artwork to and from the galleries. We will use couriers with green credentials and consider our ecological impact when organising and transporting works. This is a new aim for the gallery for 2021/22.


In 2017 we installed new, energy efficient LED lighting throughout both buildings, including the office and café spaces; these continue to be replaced as required, funded through an Arts Council England Small Capital Grant. We have also installed internal doors to our main exhibition spaces enabling us to better control the climate and reduce energy usage.


Across both sites we have introduced the use of unbleached, recycled paper for all printing and photocopying activities. At both sites we recycle as much waste as possible including all glass, plastic, and paper and have begun a system of monitoring our waste. Where possible, we use natural, and environmentally friendly cleaning products, including floor cleaner, disinfectant sprays, and bathroom cleaner.


Our shops and cafes use sustainable packaging, that’s recycled (where possible) and recyclable with zero plastics. Our online shop uses brown paper packing, brown recycled boxes and brown hive roll. Unfortunately some suppliers still use poly wrap for their cards and some books. The Garden Café uses reusable keep-cups or Vegware compostable cups, lids, forks, and spoons for takeaway use.


We adhere to the following four principles as set out in the International Green Museum Framework:

  • Commitment to respond meaningfully to the climate change challenge
  • Understanding our environmental impacts
  • Acting to minimise our impacts and improve environmental performance
  • Reporting and communicating our environmental impacts and our efforts to reduce them


We will work with our Trustees, senior management, staff, suppliers, and funders to ensure we consider and communicate the environmental impacts of our activity. The main area where our activities have environmental consequences is electric and gas usage, so these are the areas where we want to focus on this year, researching replacing our heating system with a greener alternative of heat pumps or electric boilers.

Environmental Action Plan  (Updated Sep 2023)