New NEMO report supports museums in taking political action in the climate crisis

At the recent NEMO European Museum Conference, NEMO announced its new report “Museums, Climate and Politics - Taking political action in the sustainable transition”, which presents summaries of national sustainability and climate policies relevant for museums in the European Union.

NEMO hopes that that the report will contribute to awareness within the sector and support museums to fulfil their potential as partners with policy makers and community leaders in the sustainable transition of Europe.

NEMO’s research from 2022 on museums in the climate crisis showed that only a fraction of museums is aware of climate policies that address them, and that even fewer are consulted when policy makers develop climate policies. Therefore, NEMO decided to follow up with research on existing climate policies on national level that include museums or culture at large.

In a press release, NEMO’s Secretary General Julia Pagel elaborates “If we, as museum community, want to make a change on  structural level, influencing the legal framework in which we operate in order to be able to address climate change and sustainability, we have to know the political preconditions that we are working in. Do museums, cultural heritage, culture at large, even exist in climate policies in Europe? And if yes, how can museums work with and use them?

In additional to helping museums understand their current role in the political framework, NEMO also wants to assist museums to use the information to ask for adequate support from funders and acknowledgement by policymakers.   

NEMO encourages museums and museum professionals to use this report to develop a strategic plan and campaign in their institution and to take inspiration from the good-practice examples. The report also includes a 7-step guide (pages 36-37) to help museums advocate for necessary support for their sustainable transition.

NEMO Statement and Call to action

NEMO has been active lately in its contribution towards sustainability. The report was first announced at the recent NEMO European Museum Conference 2023: and… ACTION! Museums in the climate crisis that united 300+ museum professionals in commitment to climate action. At the conference, NEMO presented a statement and call to action where the European museum sector pledges to move forward and to become more sustainable:

“Our ethical and professional priority is to work with our communities for the future sustainability of the planet. Museums have a critical role to play in environmental sustainability and imagining our possible futures. Our commitment is that we will use our diverse collections and the stories that they hold to inspire people and facilitate change. We realise that it is no longer possible to preserve all heritage and collections in their current conditions. We are committed to re-evaluating our collections in terms of their social, historical, environmental, and educational impact.”

This call to action is well-suited to the latest formal objective of NEMO, phrased as a transversal theme in its updated policy statement.

Map of climate action in museums

To further aid museums in the sustainable transition and put the pledge into concrete action, NEMO has also launched a map of Climate Action in Museums. The map demonstrates museums' strength in creating awareness, adapting, and fighting climate change.

Museums in Europe are encouraged to participate by submitting their big and small projects via