Monday, January 18, 2010


Towards Sustainability Indicators for Musuems in Australia (Eleanor Adams, 11 January 2010) provides a set of pilot sustainability indicators for Social, Cultural, Economic, and Environmental sustainability. The report is 85 pages of PDF (720 kbytes).

One shortcoming of the report is that there is no mention of the well known concept of "corporate social responsibility", as reported on by companies such as Telstra, which cover social an environmental performance using national and internationally developed measures. Some of this reporting, particularly on energy use, is mandatory under Australian law, as discussed in my book "Green Technology Strategies").

It would seem to make sense for museums to use existing measures, even if these are not mandatory for them, rather than make up new measures.
Sustainability is a goal for many institutions, including museums, but as yet there are no museum-specific methods for measuring sustainability. Museums can be both sustainable businesses and vital parts of sustainable communities. In this report it is proposed that the role of the museum in a sustainable community be considered under the four pillars of sustainability: culture, society, the environment and the economy. The pillars are then used to form the themes of a pilot set of sustainability indicators for museums. In consultation with some major Adelaide based collecting institutions about the pilot indicators, it was found that there was interest in having an effective, directed and efficient measurement system available. The consultation helped to refine a model for such a system, and to develop recommendations for future directions.

From: Abstract, Towards Sustainability Indicators for Musuems in Australia, Eleanor Adams, University of Adelaide and Collections Council of Australia Ltd, 11 January 2010

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