Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival Groningen is the first public event in the Netherlands to receive the Green Key for an annual public event, and we have managed to gain this certification for the third year in a row. Green Key is a means – and thus not a goal in itself – to encourage organizers to become involved with sustainability and to communicate and manage it in a visible and tangible way.
About Green Key, KMVK and FEE
The Green Key sustainability mark of quality is one of the five programmes set up by FEE, the Foundation for Environmental Education. The ultimate target of this worldwide organization is to promote the appreciation and knowledge of nature and the environment to the greatest possible extent. More than 1600 companies and organizations in 18 countries are affiliated with the Green Key quality label. In the Netherlands, Green Key is run by Stichting Keurmerk Milieu, Veiligheid en Kwaliteit, KMVK (Foundation for Environmental, Safety-related and Quality Labels) and the controls are carried out by external inspectors.
Green Key is the international quality label for organizations in the tourism and recreation sectors, and in the market for conference and congress locations that are seriously engaged in sustainability, Socially Responsible Enterprise (SRE), care for the environment in their own organizational activities, and for nature in their own surroundings. To come into consideration for Green Key certification, an organization must take measures with respect to environmental care and SRE. These measures are partly obligatory, partly optional. Green Key Netherlands has three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. The greater the number of optional measures taken, the higher the final accreditation.
Silver for Noorderzon
As mentioned, the number of optional measures taken determines the level of the Green Key: bronze, silver or gold. We are examined twice by an external inspector: once prior to Noorderzon and once during the Festival itself. The 41 obligatory norms have been satisfied and, in addition to that, we have also taken a number of optional measures. Noorderzon is proud to announce that it has been awarded SILVER in the recent inspection. In 2009, we also contributed to the development of the Green Key Handbook for public events. This manual has now been finalized and is presented on our site (in the right column).
Our own track
Since 2007 – first cautiously and subsequently at full speed ahead – Noorderzon has been busy installing sustainability within its own organization. Our starting point is that we know all too well that a festival with so many visitors, temporary locations and deployment of materials does indeed form a source of pollution. And we know we cannot do everything we would like to do to remove this threat. This does not mean, however, that you cannot begin to take measures that will help. In our case, this began on a small scale with the introduction of the use of sustainable products in our office, and this policy has grown step by step into an organization-wide plan. Nowadays everyone is supportive of such measures and is eager to find innovative solutions. Noorderzon has chosen its own track in its adoption of environment-friendly measures, and is constantly engaged in seeking the appropriate way to steer the festival through the dense jungle of innovations and solutions now available. We do this in conjunction with the general public, the crew and the artists.