A Greener Festival

The climate crisis is of central importance to the Book Festival, and we consider our environmental impact in all elements of our work, and across all of our communities. We continually seek to increase our sustainability, and are in continual discussions both internally and with external partners about how we can accelerate our journey towards Net Zero.

As a key member of the Festivals Edinburgh Environmental Group, we have worked to create a joint Environmental Policy across all ofEdinburgh's Festivals. We are also part of the Green Arts Initiative, the interactive community of over 200 Scottish arts and cultural organisations working to improve their environmental performance, run by Creative Carbon Scotland and Festivals Edinburgh. We are signatories to Edinburgh City Council’s Net Zero 2030 and the Scottish Government’s 2045 targets.  

The Book Festival creates events which allow us to educate and explore the search for climate justice, seeking out voices and perspectives who can influence and create change and who are contributing to transition across society.  We are dedicated to ensuring that the Festival is an important discursive and inclusive platform for this crucial conversation, where nuanced and complex discussions on a range of topics can take place between the tens of thousands of people who attend, participate, run and lead our events each year.  

We do not accept support from fossil fuel producers and all of our sponsors meet our ethical funding criteria. We are in regular dialogue with our funders about their progress towards transition and seek ways to work with climate campaign groups. We do not operate in a vacuum, but are part of Scotland’s literary and events ecology, part of Edinburgh’s world-renowned festivals, and part of a wider global publishing industry.

We have implemented a number of measures over the past few years, to accelerate our sustainability journey, key to which has been our move from Charlotte Square to our new August home at Edinburgh Futures Institute, a site which will hugely reduce our carbon emissions from generators and haulage, in particular. We are in the process of removing all single use plastic from our Festival site and advocate a ‘train first’ policy with authors, working with other festivals and organisations to optimise their travel arrangements. In 2024 we are also piloting a new sustainable travel scheme for international authors to reach us by sea rather than air, with the support of Culture Ireland. You can find out more about some of our specific achievements below.

Green Team  
We have our own Green Team – a cross-departmental team of staff who champion sustainability throughout the year, attending workshops and the Green Arts Conference hosted by Creative Carbon Scotland, communicating issues and the latest thinking across the organisation. The Green Team ensure that environmental matters are considered at every stage of activity to help identify where changes can be made, however small, to reduce our impact. 

If you have any questions or suggestions relating to our green initiatives, please contact our Green Team by emailing admin@edbookfest.co.uk.