The Europeana Foundation, the Europeana Network Association and the Europeana Aggregators’ Forum (collectively referred to as ‘Europeana’ below), have agreed to advocate for and embed working practices that minimise the digital cultural heritage sector’s impact on the climate and environment.
The Cultural Heritage Sector and Europeana Have a Responsibility
Our world is at a crossroads. We are going through a decade of unprecedented extreme climate incidents. The threats that climate change poses to our planet, to humankind and to our culture are no longer theoretical. It is clear that collective climate action is needed more urgently than ever to reverse this momentum.
Europeana’s vision is of a cultural heritage sector powered by digital and a Europe powered by culture. The sector’s digital transformation will contribute to a more resilient European economy and fairer societies, however that transformation has its own environmental cost. Digital processes require energy and natural resources and leave their own carbon footprint.
So, to ensure that the sector’s digital transformation is environmentally efficient and sustainable, we will adhere to a set of principles guiding how we can plan, collaborate, operate and advocate in ecologically responsible ways.
Europeana’s Principles for Sustainable Digital Transformation
The following four guiding principles will shape how we work throughout the Europeana Foundation, Europeana Network Association and Europeana Aggregators’ Forum. Each body will incorporate these principles into its strategies and working practices.
Climate impact should inform all stages and elements of our work. We will:
- Embed eco-thinking. We will ‘think climate’ from high-level strategy setting, to yearly roadmaps and individual planning cycles.
- Set standards for managing resources. We will ensure our supply chains are as ecologically responsible as possible.
- Benchmark and measure our progress. We will carry out sustainability audits and impact assessments so that we can reduce our carbon footprint in targeted areas.
Collective action is essential. We will:
Learn together. We will progress further and faster if we work together, collaborating with experts, organisations and networks who are similarly committed and who may be further along this journey than we are.
Harness our networks. The expertise and experience of the professionals and organisations in our networks are integral to our ability to address the complexities of climate change in our sector. Together, we will work towards common solutions, standards and frameworks for climate-responsible practices for digital culture.
Share what we learn. Sharing good practices and the challenges we encounter can empower further change at professional and organisational level. We want our learnings to be helpful for others to use or adapt for their own settings. So, Europeana’s climate actions will be transparent and made available through, for example, easy-to-access guides or working documents.
Small changes contribute to a big impact. We will:
- Make systematic changes. The development of a climate action strategy will be an important tool to help us to exercise material and digital minimalism in all our operations.
Meet sustainably. When we convene either physically or digitally, we will minimise the damage we do, from considering the impacts of travel and catering, to the green credentials of the conferencing software we use.
Clean up our digital practices. Every individual can make a difference so we will educate ourselves to clean up our personal digital practices.
Change doesn’t end with us. We will:
Lead by example. We will raise awareness of climate issues related to digital cultural heritage and highlight environmentally-friendly practices on both individual and organisation levels.
Provide support. We will help our members and peers, partner and contributing organisations, to develop their own capacity for making sustainable change, through sharing tools and case studies and providing opportunities for learning and discussion.
Join the Europeana Climate Action community through the Europeana Network Association to share your experiences, and help us to promote these principles and put them into action. For more information, please visit the website of Europeana.
Background Image: BARRE DES ECRINS 4103 M. ET GLACIER BLANC, Creator: SELLA VITTORIO, Date: 1900, Institution: Archivio, Fotografico – Fondo Gabinio, Country: Italy