The media devote a lot of attention to Socially Responsible Enterprise (MVO), sustainability and sustainable enterprise. Every self-respecting organisation joins in, with the world of industry and commerce in the front line: they consider it important to do something in return for society with their commercial activities. But what about the cultural sector? The cultural field is already socially committed by its very nature and it is becoming more 'green' as well.
What is sustainability or MVO
With sustainability we deliberately focus on the future generations. The concern that they will be able to live and work in a congenial environment is a responsibility for our generation. The way in which many organisations have translated this awareness into action is also referred to as MVO. The terms ‘sustainability’, ‘sustainable enterprise’ and ‘MVO’ are often used interchangeably. See 'links' below for good examples in various disciplines.
Triple P approach
One way to interpret MVO is in the so-called Triple P approach. MVO is a form of enterprise aimed at economic performance (profit), with respect for the social aspect (people), within the ecological limiting conditions (planet). It is a question of finding a balance between people, profit and the planet.
What can you do
- Waste: what do you do with marketing material, exhibition material, etc.?
- Use of energy: do you use LED lighting, do you think twice about printing, etc.?
- Transport: is the place where you work, show or perform easy to reach by public transport?
- How can you cut down on costs: you can spend less instead of earning more.
- Think in terms of partnerships: can you share a depot, workspace or storage facility, or buy green electricity together with others?
There are very many different ways of looking at the social aspect of sustainability.
- Social responsibility: do you take good care of the people you work with or who provide you with a service? Is there scope for personal development? Do you work with volunteers? Do you work with the underprivileged or handicapped? Environmental impact
- Do you make use of local suppliers: are locals involved in your activities? Do you work on a long-term relation? Do you establish links with social institutions or companies in the neighbourhood, for example for the use of premises, logistical support or sponsoring?
- International responsibility: where do the materials you work with come from? Is there child labour involved? Do you use fair trade products and communicate the fact too?
What is the result?
- Raison d’être: cultural organisations and individual artists are increasingly expected to make their social role explicit. You enhance your raison d’être through sustainable enterprise.
- Fun: it is fun to join with colleagues in thinking about sustainability, especially if you think of the advantages it offers.
- Network: it opens doors to new networks, to organisations or people who share the same attitude.
- Reputation: sustainable enterprise is a process of becoming aware. The more sustainable your enterprise is, the more attractive you become for government bodies or for companies who want to invest in you on the basis of their MVO policy!