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Covid19 Impact and Policy Bulletin
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Covid19 Impact and Policy Bulletin 6: Culture and the Climate Emergency

In our sixth WCCF COVID-19 Impact and Policy Bulletin we looked at how COVID-19 is affecting climate action plans for culture. We found three main areas of impact.

Covid19 Impact and Policy Bulletin

In our sixth WCCF COVID-19 Impact and Policy Bulletin we looked at how COVID-19 is affecting climate action plans for culture. We found three main areas of impact.


Positive and negative impacts:


  • Lockdowns have reduced industrial activity and travel, reducing greenhouse gases and pollutants. There has been less pressure on ecological systems, as well as increased engagement with nature during the pandemic.

  • However, there is increased use of single use plastic and medical waste, and risks of carbon emissions rebound as industries return to ‘business as usual’.

  • Longterm behavioural changes are not yet clear – there is an opportunity for governments to shape and support positive behavioural and attitude shifts.


Intensified challenges for cities and culture:


  • Competing priorities with limited resources has impacted on environmental action and forward planning.

  • Missed opportunities to embed green recovery in COVID-19 responses.

  • Culture is facing a crisis of survival, with severe impacts of lockdowns and loss of work across the sector. With reduced workforce, internal capacity and environmental skills have been lost.


New policy challenges:


  • How can policy makers find a common ground between mainstream economic restart objective and climate action?



We identified five priorities for cities in the recovery period:


Limit emissions rebound



Drive collaboration


  • Recovery provides opportunities for culture to collaborate

  • Cultural policy must align with local social and environmental strategies; urban design; education and distance-learning; digital services; tourism; employment and reskilling

  • This also presents opportunities to attract different types of funding


Support transition


  • Seize opportunities for growth in the low carbon and circular economy

  • Cultural organisations can maximise the opportunities of a ‘green recovery’ with support and capacity building


Align funding


  • Cultural recovery funding must be linked to environmental targets

  • Raise awareness of the value of culture among other public and private investors

  • Cultural spaces and programmes can influence audiences’ environmental behaviours


Revive engagement


  • Capture public interest in the transformational climate agenda

  • Culture provides many opportunities for targeted engagement and community building

  • Many cultural leaders are looking to go beyond ‘recovery’ and contribute to transformation on a more systemic level


Download the full report below. With thanks to our research partner Julie’s Bicycle.

Culture and the Climate Emergency

5 priorities for world cities in the post-COVID recovery period. We looked at how COVID-19 is affecting climate action plans for culture.

Apr 22, 2021

Feb 16, 2024

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David Hingley BEM

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Jan 10, 2024

2023 was marked by our fastest-ever expansion. Our team reflects on this landmark year, highlighting key milestones and projects.

BOP’s 2023 in Review

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Dec 13, 2023

Our team shares how the framework behind BOP500 can power sustainable development in cities around the world.

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Dec 1, 2023

Senior Consultant Martha Pym travels to Casablanca to share how strengthening place and authenticity can ensure citizens have a place alongside tourism.

Africa Place Marketing Conference: Citizen Participation for Sustainable and Inclusive Territorial Marketing

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Nov 22, 2023

Co-founder Paul Owens joined by regional panel to discuss the Gulf’s rapidly growing sector and exciting possibilities for international collaboration.

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Nov 14, 2023

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Creative Industries Council Endorse Creative Climate Charter

Rebecca Davison-Mora

Oct 23, 2023

Co-founder Paul Owens and Consultant Genevieve Marciniak represented BOP Consulting at the World Conference on Cultural Cities in Chengdu, China.

World Conference on Cultural Cities, City Ideas

Genevieve Marciniak

Sep 12, 2023

Chief Economist, Jonathan Todd, travelled to V&A Dundee to present the findings of our five-year Impact Study with 'tialt' to museum staff and stakeholders.

V&A Dundee Impact Study Featured in the Scotsman, The Herald & Scottish Field

Teodora Lazar

Jul 20, 2023

Co-Founder Paul and Senior Associate David travelled to Qingdao for Beijing design week 2023 and the city of Qingdao’s transforming cities through design.

Beijing Design Week and the city of Qingdao’s Urban Regeneration Global Trends Forum

Rebecca Davison-Mora

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By BOP Consulting

Paul Owens

Co-Founder and Director

Paul Owens is a leading international advisor and practitioner in cultural policy and creative economy. He is Co-Founder of BOP, and alongside his fellow directors he has pioneered now well-established methods to measure the impact of cultural policy. 

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Co-Founder and Director

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