AIC-SC Celebrating our belated 10 year birthday!


What has happened in the decade since the AIC Sustainability Committee was formed?

The AIC Sustainability Committee was established in 2008. We have been asking ourselves, what is on the horizon for the next decade? But before we get there, we thought we’d take a breath to look at the progress that has been made towards Sustainability, with a capital S, over the past decade. In the world at large we have seen changes such as the ubiquity of hybrid vehicles, green jargon, like ‘carbon footprint’ and ‘carbon neutral,’ and CFLs and LED light bulbs in our homes. Here is our list of the top eight changes seen in the library, museum, and collections world over the last 10 plus years. Let us know if you agree!


  1. TRUE (Total Resource Use and Efficiency) Zero Waste certification: This certification program (and others like it) helps businesses and organizations define and achieve zero waste goals, ultimately cutting their carbon footprint by considering the entire lifecycle of products to support public health as well as cut operational costs. Find out more at:
  2. Emergence of various organizations globally to address sustainability, climate change, preservation, and museum work, including: Climate Heritage Mobilization Network, Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice, Museums and Climate Change Network, Sustainability in Conservation etc.
  3. Glove waste mitigation: Conservators and collections care professionals contribute to the waste of single use nitrile gloves. Nitrile Recycling Programs and Biodegradable Gloves to the rescue! TerraCycle and Kimberly Clark joined forces to create the first recycling program for disposable gloves. Various companies also now make biodegradable nitrile gloves.
  4. Development of AAM Sustainability Standards in Museums 2013 white paper
  5. The Paris Agreement signed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in April of 2016
  6. Managing Collection Environments Initiative: In 2015, the Getty Conservation Institute started this initiative, which focuses on the outstanding issues and questions relating to sustainable collection environments.
  7. Publication of the JAIC article Life cycle Assessments of Loans and Exhibitions: Three Case Studies at the Museum Fine Arts, Boston, in 2016.
  8. Broadening the definition of Sustainability: Thinking beyond green towards inclusion for the effectiveness and sustainability of museums as a whole.


BONUS 9. AIC Sustainability Committee's Wiki page of practical tools and tips!