Carbon Reduction Goals

The Edinburgh International Book Festival is working towards the Silver Route for emissions reduction of our Festival site and the Gold Route for author travel to the Festival and encouraging international audiences to engage with our events online. The Silver and Gold carbon reduction routes form part of the Festivals’ Carbon Reduction Route Map.

We will focus on the following areas between now and 2025.

  1. Buildings – heating and powering our Festival site, which may include venues not owned or operated by the Edinburgh International Book Festival and use outdoor spaces with limited existing infrastructure.
  2. Transport – author, performer and audience travel to/from Edinburgh.


Our Festival site is a combination of outdoor spaces and venues which we do not own. The outdoor spaces we have used previously lacked existing infrastructure such as power and heating, and historically the Book Festival has used diesel generators to provide electricity for its range of temporary marquee venues, bars, bookshops and kitchens.

Where possible we will move away from the use of diesel generators by investigating other options and working with the landlords of our future Festival sites to supply power via renewable mains electricity and alternatives to diesel generators.

As part of the festivals Outdoor Venue Carbon Reduction Group, the Book Festival is collaboratively exploring alternative ways to power festival sites more efficiently.

Our target

By 2025, our Festival site will have a footprint of 21 tonnes of CO2(e) or less. This will be a 51% reduction from our 2019-2020 Festival site footprint.

For reference, the Edinburgh Climate Commission says that Edinburgh must reduce emissions by 80% by 2030 (with carbon sequestration on top of that), to stay within the carbon budget the city has set. Download a pdf of A Net Zero Carbon Roadmap for Edinburgh.


Author, performer and audience travel to the Festival. Staff and author travel within the city and staff travel throughout the UK.

We will continue to offer remote participation in events using new technologies and through the development and expansion of our digital festival. We will invest in studio spaces and our website to create and deliver a programme of hybrid events for audiences to watch online and in person, and with authors appearing on stage in our Edinburgh studios as well as participating remotely.

Therefore, we will explore the opportunities to allow international authors (especially those outside Europe) to appear at the Festival without flying to Scotland. International audiences will also be able to watch and participate remotely without the need to travel to Scotland. We plan to start capturing the carbon footprint of our online events to demonstrate that the development of a hybrid festival model will lead to a reduction in overall emissions.

Our target

By 2025 our author travel by airplane to Edinburgh will have a footprint of no more than 50 tonnes CO2(e). This will be a reduction in our air travel emissions of 50% from 2019-2020.

See more about Edinburgh's Festivals Environment Policy here.