Blog by Jacqui Austin, Lead Registrar: Loans, Touring & Partnerships, National Galleries of Scotland

Simon introduced himself and Crozier. He joined Crozier 13 years ago and prior to that worked in high value logistics, insurance and risk management. Crozier was founded in New York in 1976 by Bob Crozier after he was asked to move art for his artist friends. He engaged with registrars from the outset which helped Crozier establish best practice in art storage and logistics.

Crozier is now a global company with over 600 employees, 30 storage locations and globally serves over 100 cities. Over the past forty plus years they’ve handled some of the world’s most valuable pieces of art and cultural artefacts, one of which was sold for $450 million dollars. Museums and galleries account for 30% of their activities.

Simon also spoke on one the panels at Hauser and Wirth ‘Sustainability in Action’ conference in Somerset this summer and expects to pursue further conversations about sustainable shipping at ICEFAT conference in Athens just before ERC.

Crozier was acquired by Iron Mountain in 2016. They have 20 environmental goals including 25% reduction of absolute GHG emissions by 2025 (based on 2019 baseline) and becoming carbon neutral by 2040. Simon spoke about the benefits of having a parent company like Iron Mountain to support Crozier’s own sustainability journey. Crozier recently launched their first electric vehicle for transport around London with more to arrive soon in Paris.

Simon emphasised that ‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it’. The same approach which is leading UKRG to develop a carbon calculator to measure our current impact and inform our future decisions.

Crozier recently conducted research with clients and found that 68% want change and are prepared to invest in environmentally sustainable solutions but decisions need to be data driven.

85% of Crozier’s current carbon footprint comes from three areas: shipping, packing/crating and storage. Earlier this year Crozier partnered with Christie’s to launch a regular sea freight shipping service between London, New York and Hong Kong. Research shows sea freight provides an 80% reduction in carbon emissions compared to air freight and for selected objects there is no discernible reason why sea freight shouldn’t be used. According to Simon the main barriers are mindset, insurance, and government indemnity. As museums plan further in advance than commercial galleries there is an opportunity for them to pave the way with this environmentally preferable mode of shipping. They have been using a test container which measures environmental conditions and are happy to share the data.

With regards to storage conditions, he noted we need to look at and challenge the exhibition parameters, to move from Active to Passive Climate Controls. The traditional standard (18.3 – 23.8 and 45 – 55rH) vs the sustainable preservation environment (15-25 and 40-47 rH). Though I’m sure most museums and galleries are now following the BIZOT protocols in support of this more flexible approach.

This seems like a good opportunity to sneak in a plug for National Galleries of Scotland’s planned new facility which will be built to Passivhaus standards, The Art Works.

The Art Works | National Galleries of Scotland

Crozier is also looking to expand the crate rental model they use in Switzerland where they hold 1,400 crates.

And finally, there are now different ways technology can be used to enable more people to experience art that don’t require shipping. Immersive experiences are improving all the time and although very different to viewing an actual artwork, do offer another way of engaging with art.

Collaboration is the key, we need to understand the needs, concerns, and opportunities from all parts of the art world to find solutions that work at scale.