At this stage, support pro-environmental behaviour by organising green public procurement with environmental friendliness as one of the criteria, promoting cooperatives and purchasing ecological services and products. This would help reduce the carbon footprint of institutions by impacting the supply chain. When preparing Terms of Reference (TOR) for an Invitation to Tender, it is worth including points such as: confirmation of submitting environmental reports, use of ecological and/or recycled materials, environmental criteria (e.g. how the company in question reduces carbon footprint), being up to date with sustainable solutions and keeping the clients informed about them. When drafting TOR, it is also worth paying attention to other criteria associated with sustainable development such as job security (employment contracts), equal opportunities (description of staff, remuneration policy). An example of such a tender carried out by Zachęta art gallery is available here.
At this stage, consider signing a contract with an eco-friendly power supplier and purchasing appropriate infrastructure, including energy and water-efficient appliances.
The main goal is to reduce power consumption through server consolidation and using energy efficient electronic equipment.
Supporting local natural ecosystems (green spaces, squares, parks) or creating new ones (community gardens, permaculture gardens) requires time (length of plant development cycle) and effort. With more advanced projects, take advantage of the specialist knowledge and experience of botanists. Refer to the advice available on the website of organisations promoting urban greenery, such as the Sendzimir Foundation; Bujna Warszawa initiative [Lush Warsaw]; or the local Greenery Department or Environmental Protection offices.
Community gardening can be an excellent tool for activating, supporting, motivating, educating and raising awareness of various groups, including employees.
When you have discovered how many elements are included in the notion of good and ecological neighbourliness and when you have defined what activities you would like to take, with whom, and using what tools, think about how you want to talk about your activities. Remember that a cultural institution is a platform of knowledge. Make sure you communicate facts, explain why you have entered into cooperation with the local activists or local businesses and why you are engaging with local nature. You have a number of tools at your disposal: campaigns on social media, newsletters, posters which can be displayed in the common spaces of residential buildings. Or perhaps there is some space for local and environmental cooperation in the already established programmes of your institution? You do not have to create separate dedicated projects to include local and environmental topics in the programming. Local activists, young people or seniors may help you carry out your research. Sometimes it is enough to let some fresh air into your thinking patterns and ensure that these topics are permanently present in the programme of the institution you work for.
Having analysed forms of employment and needs of the team, organised a safe process of group reflection on team values, work atmosphere, honest feelings accompanying work and mutual relationships, you can proceed to the next stage of changing your institution from the inside. It is important to pay attention to the workplace itself: does the institution provide sufficient access to social rooms, cloakrooms, natural light?
At this stage, the green team is able to carry out a detailed observation and analysis of the institution and propose recommendations and solutions to the management requiring time or financial resources. (see: BUILDING) . The change within the institution will also imply a change towards its social and natural environment. At this stage, it is worth formulating longer term goals – in one, two or five years’ time. Observations and recommendations of the green team may often be as valuable as the audit, which requires greater engagement, also of financial resources. (see: AUDIT)
Familiarise yourself with the idea of a circular economy and the resulting philosophy of sustainable design. It is worth testing this model right away, gradually implementing its assumptions and mapping out further possibilities. The assumptions of a ‘closed circuit’ concern holistic change, remodelling the production and consumption process. It is a difficult and long-term task. Check what others have managed to achieve in this respect and assess what you can implement. Here, knowledge is built on extending and deepening possible practices together.
In this step, it may be worth extending the solutions associated with ecological catering. If you work at a cultural institution, making this a regular practice rather than a one-off choice of an event organiser may require a longer process due to the necessary arrangements with the wider team and formal aspects. At this stage, it is also worth collecting data which will allow you to calculate the carbon footprint of your event, so that future initiatives can be planned with greater awareness.
This stage is about creating a cohesive message around the pro-environmental changes made by your institution. Consider how you would like to shape the discussion about the climate crisis and which narrative strategies you plan to use to also reach those who are less interested in this topic.
You can analyse the current situation regarding the consumption of various resources by yourself and consider how it could be reduced. Another way is to influence the supply chain through sustainable purchasing or tenders with environmental criteria. It is also worth looking at the habits of employees and through education and joint development of new rules, transform them into being more ecological. At this stage, the opinion of experts will be useful. We can develop our knowledge about the environmental impact of an organisation, but only if we know which issues are worth considering. If you have the necessary financial resources, hire an external company to conduct the audit. Select the scope and type of audit according to your needs, resources (time, human resources) and funding.
The next step may be to set consumption limits for specific resources. The easiest to monitor is the consumption of energy, water or paper (the necessary information can be found on meters or invoices). In institutions where company cars are used, it is worth monitoring fuel consumption.
Partnerships and coalitions may be built around cultural activities but they can also be made with non-institutional neighbours, residents, informal movements. We can learn a lot from each other, including diverse approaches to problem-solving. Together we can co-manage a site or a social.cultural project. Finally, we can simply share material resources – lend and borrow multimedia equipment or elements of flexible architecture.
Having taken care of the preparatory processes and ensured that our initiative was part of a wider greening programme, we are approaching the moment of meeting the public. Before that happens, however, familiarise yourself with the available data on environmental awareness. With this information in mind, try to refine the goals and directions of your initiatives. Activities aimed at the public may vary in nature and scale – from one-off educational workshops, series of meetings and discussions, to long-term participation projects or complex cross-border cooperation. They can also refer to many aspects – from the use of natural resources and simple methods of reducing resource consumption, through deeper cooperation with the local community and joint work for the benefit of local ecosystems, to speculative activities, stimulating the imagination and creating visions of tomorrow. Get to know the profile of your audience, which will allow you to indicate important programming directions and find the most appropriate language of dialogue.
Introduce socially and ecologically responsible ethics of cooperation following good practice and regulation included in so-called green public procurement. European law is increasingly supportive of ecologically responsible decisions.
Awareness of the ecological and climate crisis obliges us to bravely confront the financial sources we use. Disagreeing with economic relations focused exclusively on extensive exploration of resources and narrowly-defined profit, we should revise financial practices which we are used to perceiving as customary.
When you have gathered and agreed with your team on the recommendations and needs regarding the present and future role and mission of the institution, it is time to have a thorough look at the whole institutional body. It is time to create systemic solutions for internal work, creating a network of mutual support with other entities, implementing changes in the way work is organised and determining a broader impact. It is best to do it in an open working group specially set up for this task.