At the occasion of COP21 in Paris in 2015, about 450 cultural organisations from Belgium signed an open letter addressing the authorities to do their best in tackling climate change. The open letter shows that climate change and other issues related to sustainability are deemed important matters among cultural professionals in Flanders and Brussels. There are prime examples of cultural professionals implementing this ecological awareness. These include (subsidized) organisations in arts, architecture, design or socio-cultural work that devise projects in which sustainable practices (with regard to socially just transition, reducing carbon emissions, cradle-to-cradle strategies, green mobility, etc.) are central. Despite these examples, sustainability remains a challenging matter for many other cultural professionals, who find it difficult to reconcile it with their ways of working (such as international touring).
When looking at policy statements of ministers of Culture, ecological sustainability is primarily mentioned in relation to cultural infrastructure. The exception is former minister Joke Schauvliege (2009-2014) — then also minister of Environment and Nature — who made “initiating eco-culture” a strategic goal during her term. In 2010, workshops with cultural professionals gathered around the topics of Schauvliege’s strategic goals. The vision paper delivered by the workshop on eco-culture was one of the impetuses for Pulse, a network of individuals and organisations that connects and shares knowledge on sustainable practices in the domains of culture, youth, and media. In 2013, Pulse also started receiving funding from the Flemish government.
In the wake of the Flemish government’s commitment to the COP21, Schauvliege’s successor, Sven Gatz (2014-2019), commissioned Pulse to create Cultuurzaam.be, a collection of online toolkits that culture professionals can use to make their practice more sustainable. With a financial injection from the Flemish Climate Fund, Gatz redirected the funding schemes of the Cultural Infrastructure Fund (FoCI) to prioritize investments in energy efficient buildings (these priorities are in place until 2021, see also 2.5.6). Special loans for culture and youth organisations to invest in solar power were also made available.
Other pertinent funding schemes in the policy field of Culture include the policies of the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF) on sustainable film production. Outside the area of Culture, we should mention the Public Waste Agency of Flanders (OVAM). They have support schemes for sustainable events (which include cultural events) and promote sustainable design projects with their Ecodesign Awards. Local authorities can also be relevant on a policy level with regard to culture and sustainability. Some cities, for example, provide support to their local Greentrack network. Greentrack networks gather arts organisations that strive for a socially just and sustainable society in Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp, Bruges, and Courtrai.
 See also Kunstenpunt, ed. 2019. Landschapstekening Kunsten: Ontwikkelingsperspectieven voor de kunsten anno 2019. Brussel: Kunstenpunt, 138-143; Wellens, Nikol. 2020. ‘Klimaatregeling’. Kunsten.be. 17 September 2020.