THE EDINBURGH Festivals have announced plans for how they will tackle the climate emergency - including encouraging people to attend online instead.

In a new publication titled ‘Taking Action on Climate Change’, the festivals outlined steps they are taking in a bid to help the city reach its goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

The actions which the festivals claim will help them reach this target are:

  • Switch to fully renewable electricity suppliers, as verified by Energy Savings Trust
  • Shift from paper-based systems towards digital systems
  • Strengthen sustainable procurement policies
  • Build sustainability into production design and reduce emissions from production freight
  • Engage participants for longer periods so they can make fewer journeys
  • Encourage audiences to choose lower impact travel options and expand our digital offers
  • Motivate others to reduce their own carbon footprint through our creative programmes

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The plans outlined come at a time when Scotland is getting ready to host COP26 and the festival organisers have taken inspiration from the climate hype surrounding the country as many business are doing their part to go green.

They address issues of travel for both staff and visitors attending the events which attract thousands of people from around the UK and the rest of the world.

With the new initiative, the festival is encouraging people to travel by land and "avoid domestic flights", as well as expanding their digital offers to enable a portion of international audiences to enjoy the festivals without attending in-person.

Chair of Festival Edinburgh, Sorcha Carey, said that the plans will help tackle "one of the most important issues" in this generation.

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She said: “The work outlined today builds on the Festivals long term commitment to minimising our environmental impact, as seen through the earlier creation of the Festivals Green Venue Guide and our role in founding Creative Carbon Scotland (CCS), in conjunction with the Federation of Scottish Theatre and the Scottish Contemporary Art Network.

“Our actions, at both a collective and individual festival level, are aimed at helping Edinburgh achieve its goal of reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2030 and thus address one of the most important issues of our time.

”If our festivals are to flourish in a net-zero carbon future, we need to find innovative, sustainable ways of operating and fulfilling the function of festivals, providing time and space for people to exchange ideas and celebrate our common humanity.”

To help ensure that these aims are met, an Independent sustainability consultant has been hired. Beyond Green – the consultant’s - specialise in resource efficiency and carbon reduction and have delivered to the Edinburgh festivals phase 1 of their ambitions to reach net zero.

They will tackle the core emission categories which are electricity, gas, fuels, water, travel, and freight.