Fondazione Santagata launches the research project “4C – Cultural and Creative Carbon Cut” to identify concrete measures to be implemented in every cultural sector to achieve zero emissions by 2050.


Culture plays a central role in the italian context: the country is a significant attraction for cultural tourism and is internationally recognized for its excellence in this sector (e.g., archaeology, restoration, creative industries). In 2022, it employed approximately 6% of the active population, for a total of 1.55 million workers (Symbola, 2023), representing 12% of the national GDP alongside tourism. Cultural activities contribute to shape our values and beliefs, transforming the reality we live in, both from an individual and community perspective. Cultural assets convey significant content and meanings, and their role appears essential when the need for a paradigm shift becomes urgent.

Today – given the sustainability targets, notably the EU target for zero emissions and carbon neutrality by 2050 – it is crucial to strategically examine and understand the interdependencies between the cultural sector and other sectors (agriculture, construction, energy, mobility, digital technology, transportation, education, health, etc.) to work towards a more sustainable economy. In this context, the cultural sector needs to evolve to stay relevant; considering its central role, the sector can become one of the levers that  accelerate this systemic transformation.

Decarbonizing culture – implying reducing to zero the emissions deriving from cultural activities – means allowing the sector to play a more significant role in our lives and in a society that will be subject to profound changes (activities connected to fossil energy sources will disappear and business models will need to be revised, integrating environmental, social, and economic dimensions into daily activities).

For this reason, following established international experiences such as those proposed by the Art Council in the United Kingdom, with Julie’s Bicycle, or Decarbonons la Culture in France, among others, Fondazione Santagata – in collaboration with sector partners – has launched “4C – Culture and Creative Carbon Cut” (supported by Banca d’Italia): a research aimed at identifying concrete measures to be implemented transversally across cultural sectors to achieve carbon neutrality in Italy by 2050, proposing feasible, measurable, and scalable measures.


The research objectives are:

  • Evaluate the overall and sectoral situation of cultural and creative industries regarding changes and measures taken to address climate change and compare them with the international situation.
  • Conduct an assessment of the main sources of emissions in culture.
  • Identify needs in terms of organizational change, as well as governance and dialogue with local actors.
  • Identify needs in terms of skills and training.
  • Suggest strategies in response to the identified criticalities.
  • Recommend concrete and valid measures at the national level, considering the characteristics of Italian creative and cultural industries.


The project, partially funded by Banca d’Italia, will be structured in seven distinct phases:


Analysis of specific literature on ecological transition, decarbonization, and the cultural sector.


Preparation of a framework for measuring the starting situation and the ecological footprint of cultural realities. The framework, administered through a survey, will:

– Assess the magnitude of environmental impact, including energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, water resource usage, and other relevant environmental variables;
– Aid in identifying areas where cultural entities generate the greatest environmental impact;
– Establish concrete objectives for reducing ecological footprint based on tangible data;
– Provide clear and transparent data useful for reporting on actions taken.


Assessment of the ecological footprint for activity/sector to identify which sectors are the major contributors to pollution and emissions.


Analysis of best practices and identification of the major critical factors, considering the socio-economic context, legislation, available resources, and stakeholders involved.


Interviews with sector stakeholders to identify perspectives and experiences of key actors – local authorities, civil society organizations, private sector, and communities – to ensure effective and sustainable implementation.


Indication of adaptable best practices to the national and/or local context, considering the specific factors characterizing the territory.


Proposals for national and local policies, based on the analysis of best practices and stakeholder involvement, and related monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.


The final result will be a report on the state of the sector, on working tools to facilitate institutions and cultural organizations, artists, and cultural enterprises in sharing best practices and innovative ideas for decarbonization.

Specifically, the project includes:

1. A research report comprising intervention sheets organized by types of activities and conditions in which they take place (area and reference period, responsible body, main emissions, and existing proposed strategies to counter identified emissions).
2. A map of the needs of cultural and creative organizations, to have a clear picture of the organization, governance, and multilevel relationship between territorial actors, and of the needs to implement training and upskilling activities.
3. Identification and definition of concrete measures to promote decarbonization and sustainability (environmental, social, economic) of the sectors involved.


Banca d’Italia, Ateatro Association, Trovafestival Association, F@Mu – Family Day at the Museum, Film Commission Turin and Piedmont.


Andrea Porta (coordinator), Lorenza Bizzari, Giovanni Bausano, Sara Ciarlantini.