Palm House, Bobby Niven, 2017 | Photo: Johnny Barrington

Environmental Policy

Edinburgh Art FestivalClimate Change Response Plan, Carbon Reduction and Beyond

Each year, using a robust methodology developed with our fellow festivals, we measure and report on our direct carbon emissions. This has helped us to understand our footprint and, over the last two years, reduce emissions that we have direct control over, such as travel and waste, by 5%.

In order to achieve net zero by 2030, we will:


  • Using 2018/19 as a baseline,  set overall target reductions of 15% each year from 2021/22, until we retain only 10% of 2018/19 emissions.
  • Work with our building landlords to identify ways to use greener energy providers and invest in smart meters to accurately monitor energy usage by 2022. 
  • Continue to offer only meat-free catering from Edinburgh-based companies for festival events, using biodegradable plates and cups.


  • Use trains for domestic journeys rather than flights for all staff and participating artists. When flights cannot be avoided, we will aim to book economy class in newer aircraft and offset emissions via a Scotland-based reputable source.
  • We will cut our long haul flights by 50% by 2023.
  • Switch to an electric-only taxi contract as soon as this is available and lobby our current contract taxi provider.
  • Use shipping rather than air freight.


  • Review our supply chain and procurement of goods and services, to ensure that by 2024 we are only using environmentally responsible suppliers and materials.
  • Reduce carbon emissions generated through print initially by 25% annually, using 2018/19 as our baseline. We will review this percentage annually.
  • Work with technicians to ensure as many end-of-festival materials as possible are re-used or passed on, reducing our waste by 15% each year.
  • Provide guidelines for participating artists on the festival’s environmental policy, encourage use of sustainable materials and practices where possible; and from 2022 include this policy and advice in contracts with artists and freelance technicians.


  • Advocate good environmental practices and policies across all areas of our work.
  • Progress opportunities for environmental and climate justice related programming.


  • Our priority will be to avoid and mitigate emissions, but we also accept that we will need to use sequestration to reach net zero. We will ensure any sequestration providers we use are ethical and follow best practice. We will contribute to sequestration projects based only in Scotland.

We will review and update this plan on an annual basis, to assess our progress and adjust targets where required.