The climate is changing around us, and is impacting on everyone’s lives across the world. Brass bands are part of the creative industries sector and are uniquely placed to play a leading role in driving change, and in transforming understanding at a community level.
Talking about your band’s environmental activities helps to normalise sustainability and make it part of day-to-day conversation, but it’s also good for you. Because:
- Your reputation will grow because people will see you taking responsibility. By building your band’s environmental reputation, you are helping to build loyalty.
- If you create surprising and memorable sustainability experiences, people will talk about them, raising your band’s awareness and also the likelihood that people will think about sustainability beyond their experience with you.
- By talking about what you’re doing, it will become a natural part of the way you do things. This will make doing more on sustainability easier.
- A commitment to environmental sustainability is something funders are increasingly asking for. Those taking action and talking about it now will stand a far better chance of securing funding in the future.
- Cultural organisations influence our wider society: Additionally, as cultural SMEs have an influence beyond their own operations through their audience, culture can act as an example and an inspiration for other SMEs, and provoke positive change in the wider society through adaptation.
Why do brass bands need to adapt to a sustainable, resilient and climate-changed future?
Most current adaptation guidance is aimed at large-scale organisations, and is inappropriate for the scale of cultural or community organisations like brass bands or their creative activities.
These suggestions therefore aim to tailor specific guidance and a process which uses the skills, experiences and reflections of cultural institutions, as well as external climate change expertise.
There are a number of reasons why cultural or community organisations like brass bands should plan to adapt the impacts of climate change:
- Everyone in society needs to adapt: Like all other sectors of society, culture must recognise the risk climate change presents to how they work, where they work, and who they work with.
- Small cultural organisations like brass bands will be particularly affected: The cultural sector consists mostly of Small-to-Medium Enterprises (SMEs), with a huge variance in activity and a huge public audience, and are usually funded through private or grant-giving bodies.
- Early adaptation can save time, money (and even lives) later: The cultural sector must plan and adapt early to ensure that the sector becomes increasingly resilient and to thrive even with changes to our climate.
First steps: Tips for everyone:
1. Commit to action
2. Understand your impacts
3. Take action & improve
4. Get creative, speak out and push for change
Where to start
The first priorities are broken down into four key areas.
- The band Committee commit to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and set a target for creating an environmental policy
- Designate ‘environmental champions’ with specific ‘green’ responsibilities to raise awareness and enthusiasm. Involve band members in helping reduce environmental impacts.
- Write ‘green’ riders into performance contracts. This will ensure that clients and suppliers are working with the band and understand its commitment to reducing its environmental impacts.
Identify the band’s carbon footprint – Management requires measurement. A number of organisations offer free or low-cost surveys to help work out how much carbon and waste the band is producing.
Keep accurate records:
Knowledge is power – measuring energy consumption allows for tracking against targets and identification of peaks in usage.
Write an environmental policy:
An environmental policy sets out the band’s commitment to becoming more sustainable, and identifies the methods and practical areas where the band can reduce its impacts.
Move towards full public disclosure of carbon emissions, beginning with internal communications through to incorporating performance and target reporting into the band’s marketing.
Use one of the many free online carbon calculators to find out how much carbon your band is generating.
Keep it positive
Sustainability and the climate crisis are often talked about in terms of problems that can seem too big to the individual, e.g., in the face of huge landfill sites and resource shortages, an individual recycling their drinks can might not feel like it’s making a meaningful contribution. Avoid this by being positive and showing your colleagues that they are one of many people taking a small action to make a big difference.
Celebrate your achievements
Celebrating success and thanking people for their involvement are great ways to deliver your objectives. This type of message can be used to make sustainable behaviours normal and unsustainable behaviours odd, which again reinforces positive action.
Any brass band can email us via our Contact Us page and we can provide a selection of standard templates to help you prepare for your creative climate action journey.
Here are some useful links as well:
Learn how to understand your data https://vimeo.com/293318794
Consider pricing your impacts https://vimeo.com/491235214
Create an Environmental Policy and Action Plan https://juliesbicycle.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Environmental_Policy_and_Action_Plan_Creation_template_-_no_branding.pdf
Learn about digital impacts https://juliesbicycle.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/JB_Sustainability-in-the-Digital-Age-6-EXEC-SUMM.pdf
Reduce your plastic use https://juliesbicycle.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/JB-Plastics-Briefing_Web-1.pdf
Learn about Biodiversity https://juliesbicycle.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Biodiversity_Brief_Web2019.pdf
This is a partnership project with the Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy Programme who transform the fundraising knowledge, skills and levels of success of arts organisations. Find out more about them here: https://artsfundraising.org.uk/