documenta is one of the most important exhibitions of contemporary art worldwide. Given its role, it has a special responsibility as regards sustainability and seeks to act as a role model. We see sustainable action as an important cross-cutting task.

For us, sustainability goes far beyond environmental sustainability. The most important benchmark for all our efforts is the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the documenta is guided by the three-pillar model of sustainability anchored in the Agenda: Sustainability embraces ecological, economic, and social aspects.

The documenta 15 sustainability concept

In line with ruangrupa’s artistic concept a holistic approach to sustainability was taken for documenta 15. Sustainability was incorporated into all areas of the exhibition’s planning and implementation. Aside from addressing ecological factors there was also a focus on cultural, social, political, and economic aspects. For ruangrupa, togetherness and sharing as well as the exchange of knowledge are essential prerequisites for sustainable development.

Within these areas of activity, various measures and projects were implemented, some examples of which are listed below:

• The Sustainability Euro in the ticket which generated a total of 375,000 euros for reforestation projects in Indonesia and Germany
• The Solidarity Ticket, which was donated by visitors to allow free admission to documenta 15
• Free use of public transport included in the ticket
• A strong focus on material cycles in production and infrastructure (recycling and reuse)
• Installation of a dedicated food market with a sustainable orientation (regional, vegetarian and vegan, reusable tableware) in collaboration with Kassel Marketing
• Separate evaluation / visitor survey on the topic of sustainability

About further measures and projects

Consolidation of the sustainability approaches

Building on the sustainability concept of documenta 15, documenta and Museum Fridericianum gGmbH are currently implementing sustainable development measures and projects in the organization of documenta on a permanent basis:

• Since November 2020 documenta has been a member of the Action Network Sustainability in Culture and Media, which is funded by the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media. The aim is to learn from one another and to advance this field as a whole through active exchange on a sustainable future for the cultural sector
• Recording of CO2 emissions in the Fridericianum and in the documenta archives with the support of artist and conservationist Haley Mellin and the financial support of the Tiger Foundation in New York
• Extensive use of the principles of “avoid, relocate, reduce” when realizing exhibitions e.g., by relying on marine shipments for transporting artworks
• Further commitment to and expansion of the existing material cycle initiatives that address the distribution and reuse of materials for the organization and production of exhibitions
• Increased use of digitalization to cut down on paper use. The Blauer Engel eco label will be standard for all print products
• In April 2023, the documenta and Museum Fridericianum gGmbH set up a works council for the first time to support the legal and social claims of employees relating to the company organization
• We are seeking organic certification for the café in the Fridericianum

We see sustainability as an interdisciplinary task, which we are addressing ever more intensively on an ongoing basis and our gradually expanding and consolidating our measures in this area.