This set of ecological guidelines has been prepared by the Helsinki-based association The Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes (SKTI).
With these guidelines we wish to make it easier for the seventeen Institutes around the world to make more sustainable decisions, and reduce our carbon footprint. The Institutes are asked to share this among their staff, and use this as a common reminder when making decisions that have an impact on our environment.
The guidelines are based on the mapping of good practices that the Institute network has done in their working group for Ecological practices. In a lot of our discussions, and in these guidelines, we have looked for reference in the HIAP and Mustarinda Post-fossil transition project.
Offering food and drinks
Offer plant-based foods and drinks. Avoid serving meat and dairy products. Make sure to choose a caterer that has experience with cooking vegetarian or vegan dishes, so that the food is tasty.
Choose seasonal, local, organic, environmentally certified products if possible. Find out what the seasonal produce in your area are, and prioritize these. In general, pay attention to the supply and transportation chain of the produce.
Minimize food waste. Plan your menus carefully, and do not buy more than you need. Freeze or redistribute all leftovers. At the staff kitchen, make sure to regularly check for expiring products. Do not make more coffee than what you consume.
Special diets. Choose a service provider that can make all catering vegan and gluten-free. This ensures that catering for different diets is not always necessary.
Organic drinks. A great variety of organic wines and beer are available for receptions and dinners. As with all other produce, pay attention to the transport emissions. Use tap water when possible, and avoid plastic waste.
Eating out. If hosting guests, be conscious of your choice of restaurant, and consider choosing a restaurant committed to zero-waste, serving vegetarian, local and/or organic foods.
Travel less. Consider if travel is necessary, or if the goal can be reached via a remote connection.
Travel by sea or land, if possible. Encourage and enable your staff and your guests to travel by land or by sea. Offer support for planning the trip via land to your guests, and/or allow your staff to use working time to plan and do their travel by land.
Favor local service providers. Reduce travelling by collaborating with local service providers, for example technical staff in projects.
Compensate. When travel cannot be avoided, compensate for the emissions, if possible.
Collaborate. Use your networks to share resources. Consider if you can share your programming with local partners, or partners on your guest’s route to your institute, in order to optimize the outcome of the used resources. Use your Finnish network in Finland, including SKTI, to arrange practical matters in Finland.
Minimizing all material use
Minimize the amount of all waste. Recycle all materials at the office and in connection to events. Purchase only what’s necessary, and choose products that are recycled, or sustainably and fairly produced. Borrow, rent and share items when possible.
Minimize all printed material. Mainly provide meeting materials and other event related materials electronically, and ask participants to bring their materials in an electronic form. Look for the FSC label on paper products.
Avoid use of harmful chemicals. Pay attention to ecological values of the cleaning service firm that you are using. At the office, use natural or ecologically certified cleaning products.
Use less energy. Investigate if you and your landlord can switch to a smart heating system and buy renewable electricity (wind, water, solar power). Turn off electronic devices and lights when leaving the office. Save water.
Questioning and reforming standards
Advocate for sustainable solutions. Join local agencies or working groups and work for a paradigm shift related to energy use. Consider how your programming can reconstruct infrastructure around overuse of energy and natural resources.
Demand more of yourself than from individual artists. When working on projects and programming, do not only demand invited participants to make environmental decisions, focus on the whole organisation. Most of the emissions are produced on the institutional level.
Less is more. Choose quality over quantity.
Educate and motivate. Keep the staff of the institute educated on why radically lowering climate emissions is critical.
Work for continuity. Do not think environmental issues are a periodical trend within arts and culture – work for a permanent structural change in the whole society.