Culture for the Planet

The challenge | Expected innovations Methods

The challenge

Museums, theatres, opera houses and other cultural institutions enjoy high levels of trust and public visibility, attracting millions of visitors across the globe each day. As such, they are predestined to shape the sustainability transition and become thought leaders and role models to inspire action for sustainability beyond their sector. The cultural sector, however, is lacking a framework and indicators for understanding and managing sustainability, as well as a benchmark to calibrate and structure ongoing sustainability efforts.

Our research project “Culture for the Planet”, conducted at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, seeks to develop frameworks and tools to accompany the cultural sector towards more ambitious and more systematic actions for sustainability.

Expected Innovations

As a transformational research project with a global scope, we will create outcomes to:

Practical innovations

  • Identify drivers and barriers and suggest ways to overcome barriers and leverage drivers 
  • Collect best practices of sustainability in cultural institutions and inspire change
  • Assess the level of sustainability of the cultural sector and identify areas for improvement

Conceptual innovation

  • Develop a conceptual model for sustainability for the cultural sector
  • Develop a benchmark for sustainability for the cultural sector
    > Find our article, published with ICOM, presenting our model here.
The sustainability star: a model for sustainable cultural institutions
© Martin Müller and Julie Grieshaber | University of Lausanne


  • Expert Panel with eleven cultural institutions and associations from around the world to develop a sustainability benchmark: Ibermuseos, Jockey Club Museum of Climate Change, La Monnaie, MUSE Trento, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Museums Association, Palais de Lomé, Sydney Opera House, Tate Modern, The Field Museum, Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum.
  • Global Survey: in June 2022, a worldwide survey of leading cultural institutions was launched to gain – for the first time – detailed insight into the sustainability efforts of the cultural sector. Up to today more than 200 answers were collected.