From object cases to paint brushes, audio visual equipment to cleaning materials, museums buy a lot of stuff. And in a time of increasing financial pressures, it’s vital that we get a good return on investment.
Considering the social impact of what we buy can make money go further by also taking quality, sustainability and ethics into account.
The climate crisis is having a devastating impact on our planet and museums can play a critical role in promoting climate justice. Making spending decisions that enhance social value is one way to embed climate action across decision-making and processes.
Sustainable procurement is about taking a holistic approach to buying and looking at the social impact at all stages of the supply chain. This could be buying locally to cut down on transport emissions, or researching whether the rights of Indigenous people have been violated in the making of an item.
We should follow the principles of reduce, reuse and recycle, and ask whether we need an item or whether there is one we can borrow or repurpose. This reduces waste and lessens our environmental impact.
Over the next year, the Museums Association will provide practical tips and case studies to aid museums to do this work.
Making considered decisions on how we spend will add value to our communities.
India Divers is the policy and campaigns officer at the Museums Association