Nowadays, the term “sustainability” can be seen everywhere. It appears on TV, clothing tags, food packaging, and there are even university courses dedicated to sustainability. It’s widely communicated. But have you ever heard about “sustainable communications”? Neither had we until we joined the Big Green project and embarked on an exploration of this topic with 14 partner organisations from all over Europe.
The Big Green is a four-year project that unites environmentally engaged artists under a large-scale umbrella initiative and experiments with innovative ways of using art to promote sustainability. Coordinated by Pro Progressione, the project focuses on positive utopias, artivism, ecological learning, natural heritage interpretation, research, and policy building—quite a few elements in one pot!
We as zusa joined this project with a mission to gather partners and tap into the collective knowledge to explore different communication methods—what works and what doesn’t. As always, we’re curious to discover synergies, make connections, and build alliances. We firmly believe that collaboration moves at the speed of trust, and sustainable communication operates on a similar principle: to sustain something, you must first understand what that something is.
In early October this year, the Big Green held its first partner retreat in Zsennya, Hungary. After spending four days together, most of the group participated in the Sustainable Communications workshop in Budapest, facilitated by our team members Egle and Sarah. One and a half days were primarily dedicated to trust-building. Additionally, we endeavoured to define sustainable communications, delve deeper into organisational challenges related to it, set individual and organisational learning goals, and address practical communication questions within the context of the project’s objectives.
Pictures by Egle Kryzanauskaite
Following this workshop, what we took back with us is not a single, unified definition of sustainable communications. Nor did we gain absolute clarity on how we will communicate within the partnership or externally. What we did bring back is a sense of unity, motivation to continue conversations about the topic, eagerness to explore the deeper aspects of our shared challenges, and the energy to tackle them together.
If the goal of sustainability is to minimize negative impacts on the environment and society while maximizing positive contributions, we see our role in this project as exploring the field of sustainable communications and moving towards maximising collaboration among the partners!