Fossil fuel-free culture
Consistent implementation of greening policies means revising cooperation principles with external entities, regarding both funding of your institution’s activities by private entities and making your space available for external business industry events. Foreign movements such as Fossil Free Culture (#fossilfreeculture), BP or not BP? or Liberate Tate, successfully pressure institutions to give up funding coming from megacorporations making their profits on extensive mining of natural resources. They demand that art and culture should not be treated by these megacorporations as a means to clean up their public image (so-called greenwashing). The financial policy of an institution should reflect its programming assumptions. Before you start cooperating with sponsors, find out their approach to sustainable development and caring for the environment, check their production methods and how they treat their employees. Bear in mind that as a cultural institution you enjoy social trust and prestige and have an influence on the image of your business partners and sponsors – you raise their status. Although it may be tempting to increase your budget, your institution should check where the money came from and how it was generated. Create a list of guidelines and values which your corporate partners and sponsors should adhere to, e.g. does the company invest in mining fossil fuels? Is its activity connected with exploitation of water and land, polluting of surface or groundwater or labour exploitation? Does it pay taxes in the country of its operation? (see: ECO-ETHICS OF COOPERATION)
An institution which wants to lead a sustainable financial policy should cooperate mainly with entities of the social and solidarity economy, such as cooperatives and foundations which strive for change in social, economic and ecological relations. They are smaller than global corporations, so it is easier to verify the standards important to you. Cooperation with social and solidarity economy entities should be prioritised in all competitions, tenders or requests for quotation. (see: ECO-ETHICS OF COOPERATION)
Being green means caring for justice for the environment, other species, society and the economy. Therefore, it is necessary to apply transparency in the remuneration system regardless of gender, age, ability, political views, nationality, ethnic origin, sexual orientation and to avoid disproportionality resulting from symbolic capital associated with personal branding or positioning in the sector. It is good practice to create and adhere to remuneration rules for co-workers so that all teams could apply them. It would be a step forward to make the rules public so that future co-workers know the rates. Treating remuneration as taboo leads to abuse, manipulation and inequality. The same set of problems is associated with covert systems of fees for artistic work. (See: EMPLOYEES)
Co-deciding about the budget
In treating finance as an organisational framework of an institution, it is worth planning the process of co-deciding on spending. At first, this could concern only a portion of the budget, which could be systematically increased. Being green is also about looking after one’s own wellbeing, caring for a diverse environment and a good future. An important tool in this process includes making decisions and setting priorities together. This would allow various perspectives and needs to be taken into account and would start a conversation about resources. Below you will find a few examples on how to start such a process.
1) Feminist Fund is a grant-giving organisation. The choice of the initiatives to be funded is made by a public forum: initiators assess each others’ projects and choose the ones to receive support.
2) Every year, Warsaw initiative Open Jazdów in cooperation with the District Cultural Centre organises Jazdów Open University. A specially appointed board which chooses projects for implementation is not only made up of the cultural centre’s employees but also organisations and residents from Open Jazdów, hosts of the area where projects are carried out.
3) The same mechanism was used by the Programme Committee of the Bródno Sculpture Park (representing various parties: institutional, official, social and artistic) during open recruitment for artistic projects in the 12th edition of the programme.
These examples show models where decision-making concerning funding is devolved – more perspectives are included, often diverse but allowing for equal treatment and discussion giving a fuller view of needs and aims.