3. The Mission
A Mission Statement is a brief statement that communicates an organization's purpose and values. One reason why a mission statement is essential for working towards sustainability is that it provides a clear and unified direction. A mission statement acts as a guiding principle that outlines the purpose, values, and goals of an organization or initiative. By having a well-defined mission statement, all stakeholders involved can align their efforts and resources towards a common vision. This clarity helps to avoid misinterpretation, confusion, and conflicting priorities, fostering a cohesive and coordinated approach towards achieving sustainable outcomes. It can be developed by individual artists or organisations. A good mission statement should include the following aspects:
- reflection of different audiences and stakeholder
With a mission statement, you can communicate your purpose and values internally to your employees as well as externally to your audiences and stakeholders. The development of such mission statement includes a process of defining goals for your organisation. This can either be done individually or in bigger groups if you are an organization.
If your organisation already has a mission statement, a guiding principle, or a vision, you can update it and incorporate the topic of sustainability based on your own understanding and definition of sustainability.
A mission statement has several benefits:
- Demonstrates organizational commitment to sustainability (to stakeholders)
- Serves as a guide for decision-making
- Inspires and motivates to act (employees, audience, partners)
- Aligns sustainability efforts with organizational goals
- Helps to incorporate these essential topics into own work in order to drive positive change in the sector and society.
- First step on the way to develop a sustainability strategy, which can help with funding, especially funding applications. Sustainable criteria are increasingly playing a role in the allocation of funding and will continue to do so in the future.
Make sure to be honest and transparent in your statement and not to fall into the trap of greenwashing. Greenwashing is the process of conveying a false impression or misleading information about how a company’s products are environmentally sound. Greenwashing involves making an unsubstantiated claim to deceive consumers into believing that a company’s products are environmentally friendly or have a greater positive environmental impact than they actually do.
The British Broadcasting Cooperation (BBC), including its many musical bodies, e.g. BBC Symphony Orchestra put it very simply in their mission statement »to enrich people's life with programs and services that inform, educate and entertain.«
The idea of education and entertainment is very much part of the cultural sector. Musicians are not only somebody who plays, make or distributes music. They actually educate with every note they are playing. So it's great to see that when you get the mission statement right, you can inspire and deliver core values of your organization or your own work as an individual artist or musician.
Another good examples for a mission statement, which also incorporates working locally and addressing the audience as a musician is by the german association of Orchestras (unisono e.V.):
»Due to our values, we feel responsible for considering the principles of sustainable development in our work. We want to contribute to the sustainable development of the region and strengthen the social responsibility of our orchestra. This improves our impact on the region and its inhabitants while minimizing negative effects on the environment.«
Glyndebourne Opera in Sussex (UK) is addressing their sustainability action in coherence with their whole operations:
"At Glyndebourne we are committed to being industry leaders in minimizing both our direct and indirect impact on the environment, and encouraging everyone we engage with to do the same."
In 2021, in conjunction with COP26, Glyndebourne joined the global Race to Zero and committed to halving direct carbon emissions (from a 2019 baseline) by 2030, reaching net zero by 2050 and reporting annually on progress. The biggest step we’ve taken so far was the installation of a 67-metre wind turbine a short distance from the opera house in 2012, which already halved their emissions by 50% in 10 years.
Clubtopia devotes itself to sustainability and climate issues within the Berlin club scene, addressing clubs, event organizers, as well as club guests. The goal is to raise awareness and change behaviour for a brighter and climate friendly future. We believe that Berlins nightlife has the potential to find creative solutions to become more sustainable. At the same time, clubs, venues, and parties can positively influence their audience by being a lighthouse of green clubbing.
"We believe that culture, especially the club scene, is a crucial driving force for sustainable change in Berlin. As a creative pioneer, it should and can develop itself in a more environmentally and climate-friendly manner, while also inspiring a shift in thinking in other areas. For this reason, we have created Clubtopia."