Step 1: Finances

More time, other expenses
By implementing ecological and sustainable thinking within an institution we actually reduce the expenditure. By adhering to moderation policy, long-term thinking and recovery and reuse we can significantly lower our costs. However, we need more time for long-term planning and communicating with our partners.

For instance, museums can reduce the number of exhibitions. This is a proposal which appears not only in the context of ‘greenness’ but also overproduction. Fewer exhibitions in a year mean more time for extended research and a deeper, inclusive cooperation with the education team, artists, technical and communication teams – and all from the concept stage. This also means more time for carrying out the accompanying events programme, reaching out to new groups, developing your audience. This could bring real benefits such as increased numbers of visitors which serves as one performance indicator. We plan our expenditure differently – not according to subsequent projects but for a longer and deeper work with a smaller number of events in a year.

As far as purchasing equipment for the institution or its particular programmes is concerned, it is best to start off with thorough planning. We describe this process extensively in the PRODUCTION: MATERIALS area. Initially, it is good to begin with 3R – reduce, reuse, recycle – and add ‘repair’ as well. It is important to factor in the criteria of running costs, profitability, and disposal costs of new appliances which we decide to purchase after all. This could be associated with bigger initial investment but increased longevity of the equipment, which is also important. This theme is developed in the texts related to BUILDING AND INFRASTRUCTURE and EVERYDAY PRACTICES.

Being in a rush usually means spending more money as there is no time for thought out decisions and pro-environmental attitudes. Plan your economic and substantive activity, factor in the time needed for introducing green changes in an institution. Plan according to various timelines (e.g. annual, three- and five-year plans), which will help you plan the next stages. Carry out a thorough diagnosis of your own resources and the resources of your neighbourhood. Analyse with whom you could enter into local partnerships and share the equipment and costs. Perhaps you could find points in your programme which could be carried out in cooperation with other institutions or organisations in order to split the costs? When you invite experts from other cities or countries, let the employees of other institutions know. Perhaps the expert knowledge with which they come could also be used by other institutions in the area. You can then split the costs as well. A range of ecological practices which also turn out to be economical because they use common resources and focus on cooperation are also described in the texts related to GOOD NEIGHBOURLINESS, PRODUCTION: MATERIALS, EVENT PRODUCTION.

Educational priority reflected in the budget
As far as the budget of the institution and individual projects is concerned, priority should be given to activities raising ecological awareness. Start from yourself and allocate funds to activities within the team, such as meetings with experts and lectures. Include educational practices for all staff members in the budgets of exhibitions, performances, conferences. Do not treat extra training or workshops as something which could detract the staff from their ‘real’ work. This would only create tension. A cultural institution as a platform for distributing knowledge should always look for opportunities to deepen the competences of its team in every project it plans.

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