Opinion: How cultural and creative industries can contribute to the green transition

By Itziar Vidorreta and Jokin Garatea, GAIA

“Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) are a key part of Europe’s economy, but as well as contributing economic growth, they are also key to identity, culture, and values. However, they can also be resource intensive and subject to changing trends, resulting in a large environmental impact.

“For this reason, the Association of Applied Knowledge and Technology Industries in the Basque Country (GAIA) and the Basque Government are leading the Basque District for Culture and Creativity (BDCC) project.

“Our goal is to establish a European District of Creative Economy to strengthen CCIs by improving their business and technological skills, and support the European transition towards climate neutrality and digital leadership.”

“CCIs are a main driver of innovation to other industries, and GAIA-BDCC wants to support innovation professionals to implement a cross fertilisation strategy with other economic sectors, like the ones represented at Greenovate! Europe, such as circular and sustainable industry and bio-based products.

“CCIs cover a large number of distinct value chains – such as design, fashion, audio-visual, cultural heritage, video games, architecture, and performing arts – with a strong innovation capacity and close connection to other sectors of the economy, through creativity, design and new organisational processes and business models. Cultural and Creative Sectors and Industries are therefore of a key importance for Europe and its future.

“On the occasion of the 31st Greenovate! Europe General Assembly held in Bilbao on 1-2 December 2022, GAIA and La Terminal organised a cross fertilisation event on sustainable and green fashion. There, Basque SMEs showcased how to improve products through green and digital transition, and therefore contribute to the challenges that Europe faces today.

“At GAIA we believe that these kind of collaborations constitute important actions in the context of the ongoing climate and ecological crisis.

“Cultural and creative sectors have a clear potential to play an important role within the European Green Deal and the New European Bauhaus by raising awareness and initiating the debate on climate change and ecology, while prototyping solutions together with civil society and economic actors. In parallel, CCIs also need to transform themselves in an ecological and sustainable way. Therefore, creative institutions, companies and professionals need to acquire a wide range of skills. In particular, and due to the digital and green deal shift in the economy, companies and employees working in CCIs need to be more creative, cross-sectoral and need to develop wider digital and green skills.

With this in mind, GAIA-BDCC, together with Greenovate! Europe, aim to contribute to Europe’s sustainable development by:

  • Supporting networking and clustering that can enable discovery of how ICT & green new business models can improve competitiveness at European level.
  • Reinforcing the resilience of European key industrial value chains by implementing new services based on sustainable business opportunities.
  • Creating initiatives for co-developing products and services, with the use of ICT and for a circular economy.
  • Upskilling and reskilling the workforce, exchanging best practices whilst bringing sustainable industries and CCIs closer.
  • Going global, to promote cross-country, cross-cultural, cross-discipline comparison and integration and define new products and services.

So, dear friends of Greenovate! Europe, let’s keep the spirit of the Bilbao fashion and sustainability event as a co-creative way of dealing with our innovation challenges!

Itziar and Jokin work at the Association of Applied Knowledge and Technology Industries in the Basque Country (GAIA), who are the Vice President of Greenovate! Europe.

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