Art and Sustainability at the Time of Crux – UBS Launches #TOGETHERBAND at Taipei Dangdai 

#TOGETHERBAND’s booth at Taipei Dangdai. Photo courtesy of Taipei Dangdai.
Johan Jervoe, Global Chief Marketing Officer of UBS. Photo courtesy of UBS.
17 colours each denoting one of the SDGs. Photo courtesy of United Nations.
TOP
496
44
0
 
31
Jan
31
Jan
ART AND SUSTAINABILITY

Sustainability, legacy and philanthropy were the key themes addressed by UBS at the second edition of Taipei Dangdai, which received its VIPs on 16 January in 2020 and opened to the public from 17 to 19 January. The financial corporation dedicated its booth on the fair floor to #TOGETHERBAND, aimed at raising awareness toward sustainability among the art community and the general public.

TEXT: Isabelle Kuo
IMAGES: Courtesy of UBS

#TOGETHERBAND’s booth at Taipei Dangdai. Photo courtesy of Taipei Dangdai.

 

#TOGETHERBAND is a global initiative that UBS co-founded in partnership with sustainable fashion brand BOTTLETOP, setting out to engage the world with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) addressed by the United Nations. Ranging from eliminating hunger, improving equality and well-being to climate action, the SDGs are diverse, some even utopain, but obviously are critical challenges to the human race. Wristbands in 17 colours each denoting one of the SDGs were available at the booth for visitors to purchase and spread word of the goal most appealing to them. In an interview with CoBo Social, Johan Jervøe, UBS Group Chief Marketing Officer, pointed out three aspects of the initiative. Firstly, to raise people’s awareness of sustainability. Secondly, by creating the bands from 100% recycled plastic gathered from the ocean and decommissioned firearms, the production is a step towards cleaning up the Earth. Finally, sales revenue will go back to initiatives and non-profit organisations that are developing programs to push one of the goals of the 17 SDGs of the UN through the UBS Optimus Foundation.

 

Johan Jervoe, Global Chief Marketing Officer of UBS. Photo courtesy of UBS.

 

Sustainable Financial Services

Well known in the art scene for its corporate art collection, as well as its partnerships with the Art Basel mega-fairs, major fine art institutions, and now also the relatively young Taipei Dangdai, UBS is also the leading bank in sustainability practices. It was the first bank to obtain an ISO 14001 certification for its worldwide environmental management system in 1999. Since 2006, the company has been, and still are, offsetting all CO2 emissions resulting from business air travel. Recently in 2019, it has banned project-level financing on new coal-fired power plants. Jervøe explained, “As a logical consequence of that, we really want the sustainable part of the finance to find the larger demographic, and this is where the #TOGETHERBAND initiative comes in. The more people that are investing, the faster the 17 SDGs can be achieved.” He indicated that, “The acceleration is important, as we are right at the edge of writing the next chapter.”

17 colours each denoting one of the SDGs. Photo courtesy of United Nations.

 

Well-informed on the importance and long-term benefits of being sustainable, the multinational investment bank and financial services company has also been providing sustainable products and services to its clients since the mid 1980s, with much heavier emphasis over the past six years. Sustainable investing, which incorporates environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria into investment decisions, has been gaining more attention among both individual and institutional investors globally. UBS has launched the first 100% sustainable multi-asset portfolio for private clients, a part of which consists of innovative SDG-related impact investments in equities and bonds. The portfolio recently surpassed seven billion USD in invested assets.

Dennis Chen, Group Managing Director and Head of UBS Taiwan, shared his insights regarding the response from the riches of Taiwan, who are traditionally low-key and private, both in terms of investment and philanthropy. “We have been constantly talking about sustainability in charity and investment to our clients, and sometimes we would be surprised because they’re already doing it.” Chen described the local riches, especially the young generation, to be very up-to-date on sustainability and responding quite positively and actively. Some of them could be very specific when making investing decisions such as to avoid oil related industries, or to target companies that are building with clean energy.

 

Art Fairs Should Go Greener

Yet, activities of the art industry could be quite polluting. As energetic and compact as an art fair could be, it produces huge amounts of waste and carbon emission—from all the jet-setters to the transportation of artworks and operational logistics—all for an event that lasts less than a week.  Fair organisers can—and more should—introduce actions towards sustainability. For example, MCH Group, the organisers of the Art Basel fairs have promised to pay to offset the carbon emissions of their team, external coworkers and invited guests for last year’s edition of Art Basel Miami Beach. Apart from that, digital VIP cards were offered, architectural elements from years past were reused, and catalogues for its Kabinett, Survey, and Meridians sections were no longer printed. Meanwhile, since its first edition last year, Taipei Dangdai, has opted for online catalogues, while food and beverage caters do not serve with single-use plastics. There are certainly more things that can be done by organisers and exhibitors as well as visitors. The question clearly is not whether we should carry on doing fairs or not, but how we should be conscious of our carbon footprint and thus reconsider the ways we move, eat, purchase and produce during art events as well as in everyday life.

“It starts with us not getting a bottle of water in plastic and that goes all the way to consider how we travel, how many shoes do we really need. ” said Jervøe. In order to fully turn the tide, he pointed out that, “Recycling is not good enough. The ocean doesn’t care if I’m dumping a piece of used or new plastic. The idea should be we recycle in order to get rid of producing. The next step is to find a replacement for plastic so we will not produce plastic anymore.” Jervøe also stressed that governmental regulation is the key citing Art Basel Miami Beach as an example. “[The fair] should be regulated by the city of Miami regarding what to do with the waste, and it’s up to the state of California to make people taking public transport to the fair instead of driving cars.”

Human activities have brought about decisive changes to the Earth that in turn threaten us and the flora and fauna of this planet. As the clock is ticks towards the tipping point, it is critical to be more conscious and creative to put sustainability into practice. Taking past human history as proof, Jervøe commented, “Do we survive as a race? Yes, I think we will. Without scars? No, we already started to see them.” Indeed, the world we are heading into is going to be very different from that of the past, and only by actively taking steps towards climate change action and environmental concerns will there be a future.

 

 


 

Isabelle Kuo is trained in Biochemistry but later went astray into the fascinating field of Art History, Isabelle was a senior editor of Art Investment and is now working as a freelance writer.

 

 

 
Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply