As an international music and performing arts venue and congress location, the Concertgebouw strives to be a green organisation that also encourages its audiences, clients and partners to be ecologically aware.
Since its construction in 2002, the Concertgebouw has paid great attention to sustainability and ecology. One great trump card in this quest is its modern architecture, which complies with the most stringent current standards:
In the workplace an eco-team teaches employees to be actively aware, launches new ideas and calls upon everyone to ‘think green’. A list of some initiatives:
- Reduction and sorting of waste: Waste is sorted immediately, and this at various locations in the building. Backstage, we switched from bottled water to tap water in early 2014.
- Reduction of (toilet) paper consumption: By using central planning software, a server on which employees share documents and a digital archive, we limit paper use. We are striving for a paperless office. If something does have to be printed, this is always done on recycled paper. The paper dispensers in our toilets reduce the consumption of toilet paper.
- Since 2014 our season brochure has carried the FSC label, certifying the use of paper from sustainable forestry. A few seasons ago, we also drastically reduced the print run and encouraged our audience to opt for a digital version rather than the Since 2019, we have shipped our brochure in biodegradable foil. We try to limit the print run of all of our other printed matter as much as possible and always look for environmentally friendly paper.
- Green cleaning and maintenance products: Since 2011 the whole building has been cleaned and maintained using the greenest products on the market. The packaging of these products is fully recycled.
- Recycled water: a few years ago we switched from bottled water to filtered tap water for drinking. Water is provided for meetings. Any water left over is used to water our plants or by the cleaning crew for cleaning.
- Away with disposable beakers: at our coffee machines we provided trays of porcelain cups. This reduces the use of disposable beakers, even by visitors who are only in the Concertgebouw briefly.
- Ban on unnecessary paper and packaging: wherever possible, we avoid the unnecessary use of paper. We have abolished paper cutlery covers in the Concertgebouw Café, for example. For staff usage, we now opt for loose tea instead of teabags and for a large bottle of milk and a sugar bowl instead of individually packaged milk and sugar.
In the workplace an eco-team teaches employees to be actively aware, launches new ideas and calls upon everyone to ‘think green’.
- We encourage staff and artists to take the stairs instead of the lift. We foster this by highlighting the signs for the stairs.
- We call upon the public and the staff, whenever possible, to car pool, use public transport or to visit us on their own bikes or on Blue Bikes. Those who come by bike receive a bicycle allowance. A bicycle inspection is occasionally provided free of charge for colleagues who come to the Concertgebouw on their own two wheels.
-Each staff member is given a reusable Concertgebouw drinking bottle made from sustainable plastic. Artists are also offered such a bottle and are encouraged to fill it at one of our building’s ‘water points’.
- Staff members and volunteers can use our cargo bike for Concertgebouw-related errands in the area.
- We sort our refuse with great enthusiasm
- We resolutely opt for tap water, using our reusable glass bottles
- Since 2011 the whole building has been cleaned and maintained using the greenest products on the market.
- We closely monitor our paper consumption; we are heading down the path to the paperless office!
- In a work environment in which we are increasingly glued to our screens, we encourage our staff to stretch their legs at regular intervals, because: the healthy way, is the way to go!
- Naturally, the majority of us come to work by bike, and certainly not only on Wednesday Bicycle Day. Thanks to cycling, but also thanks to numerous other health and exercise initiatives, we make sure we are getting the necessary vitamin -C- .
- Every year we participate in the clean-up campaign on the nearby beach of Zeebrugge.
- Members of staff with green fingers have united in Ekiep botaniek– the botanical team. Together they ensure that our workplaces are green and full of air-purifying plants.
Audiences are also encouraged to reduce their ecological footprint.
The reduction of the ecological footprint of this flourishing arts centre is nevertheless an ongoing ambition.
- To contribute to a low carbon society and to propagate this aim further, Concertgebouw Brugge supports Green Track, a transition network of partners who want to make the Bruges arts sector more sustainable and more environmentally friendly.
- Concertgebouw Brugge endorsed the climate initiative Sign for my future.
- On 22 October, 2019 we organised a meeting day for Pulse – Cultural Network for Transition in our building. This initiative connects cultural organisations that experiment with sustainable alternatives to our current societal model. It believes that culture can help to drive our transition to a socially just and sustainable society. This meeting day also gave us an opportunity to explain our own initiatives on corporate social responsibility.
- We remain ambitious and are always on the lookout for new initiatives. For example, we are currently looking at which eco-labels we can achieve and which steps we have to take in order to attain them.
Our efforts – small and large – are not going unnoticed. Within the framework of Sustainable Municipality Week (18-25 September, 2019), the City of Bruges selected us as a Sustainable Hero. We will never be able to fly under our own power, but we are always happy to talk about the ecological efforts and campaigns that are giving us – and society in general – wings.