The Nordics highly value their culture – after all, it’s them building a society’s identity. Gunn Hernes, the director of the Nordic House in Tórshavn, and Birna Jacobsen, project manager meetings & conferences, share their experiences in
- Transferring the 40 – year old building into a sustainable conference and cultural centre to get the Green Key certificate
- integrating sustainability as a concept in cultural performances and business operations.
The Nordic House in the Faroe Islands (NLH) is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Faroese Parliament – and it is an important instrument for implementing cross-Nordic cultural co-operation.
(More about the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Nordic Council https://nordics.info/show/artikel/nordic-council-and-nordic-council-of-ministers/)
The Nordic House in the Faroe Islands is the largest in the series of 5 Nordic culture institutions across various nations and is the only one engaged in international meetings. It is one of the sustainable partners of Visit Faroe Islands Meetings.
Green Key Certification: how to transfer the building into a sustainable venue for conferences and cultural education.
For international conferences coming to the Faroe Islands, the Nordic House’s new “Green Key” certification is particularly significant. The venue has received the Green Key certification last year, second after the newly built Brandan Hotel. Green Key is a “door opener” and a helpful standard for conference organizers to ensure sustainability aspects at their events.
“in the Green Key certification process, the most complicated part was to align the various third-party partners of the venue, like gardeners, cleaning service, Café etc. However, all were very open to the concept and the good thing is, now that they had to go through the process for their own segment, they are obliged to continue with their efforts, if they want to stay part of our collaboration. “
The Green Key regulations demand controlling and reports on the progress of its members. Which leads to other commitments for more improvements in the Nordic House:
“We are working now on a new project to find more sustainable ways for office work and the technical side of the stage/ events.”
Partners for this project are: Svanemerket*, the Nordic House in Reykjavík (IS), the Nordic House in Faroe Islands (FO), Oseana kulturhus (NO) (*Svanemerket = a Nordic Eco-label)
It takes a lot of creativity to balance the demands of the artists and speakers with our sustainable objectives. One good example, Gunn mentions, are the batteries for microphones. To be on the safe side, these are usually replaced by new batteries for every event – regardless how much the reserves. This obviously is not sustainable, so better solutions need to be found here.
“Another challenge for us is the growing pool of equipment – what do you do with all those items that are not used anymore? Trends and technology change so quickly. What is the best decision here for new purchase? To buy high quality and long duration – and then face that the item is outdated quickly?”
“We search for a label for the production part of events – like big Festivals have, where everything is recyclable, organic, reusable – like Oya in Oslo.”
Challenge to find better supplies:
Sourcing of better solutions in general can be quite demanding. For example, no “green” industrial dishwasher soap is available here, but we work together with the Brandan Hotel (holding the second Green Key certificate in the Faroe Islands) on this kind of issues. We found an organic soap for the dishwashing which we could import together, and it is now used by both partners. Also, Brandan Hotel operates the new pop-up café until our own will be renovated. For local food there is no label in the Faroe Islands yet but since Brandan Hotel caters for our events and the pop-up, their focus on using local produce is as good as any label as they take it very seriously.
For themselves, the Nordic House Team has identified 5 Key Points to follow, on which everyone agreed to:
- turn off the lights in rooms that are not in use and turn off my computer when I am done using it
- delete unnecessary e-mails and print out less and consider which documents should be saved
- sort waste
- consider durability and price when I shop
- buy environmentally friendly, ecological or local products”
Weak points for the Venue are the present unavailability of green energy for the building and no public concept for disposal of food waste such as a Biogas plant.
The Nordic House also has replaced their car by an electric vehicle and added a public charging station for the neighbourhood.
Part 2 will showcase some examples of how to integrating sustainability as a concept in cultural performances and business operations.
More stories showcasing sustainability aspects for international events will be shared in Visit Faroe Islands Meetings LinkedIn profile – make sure to follow the LinkedIn showcase!
Johanna Fischer for Visit Faroe Islands Meetings, March 2022