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Climate and Sustainability

'Scotland has everything it takes to show international leadership by charting a concrete path to carbon neutrality by 2045. With the 26th Conference of the Parties coming to the UK in 2021, it is time for Scotland to lay out this path.'

Christiana Figueres, Former Executive Secretary, UN Climate Convention

Take a look below at all of the things that Edinburgh Science, and our partners, are doing to help combat the climate crisis including our exciting Climate Co-Lab Meetings (formerly Climate Opportunity Ideas Factory).

Plus, we've provided some tips to help you be a little bit greener at the Festival, on the go and at home.

Edinburgh Science is running a series of round table meetings for senior Scottish industry leaders to discuss ideas for action that will enable Scottish enterprises to respond to the climate emergency. The purpose of meetings is to generate new ideas and build new networks that can lead to action on the reduction of carbon emissions and greater environmental sustainability.

This began in April 2019 when Edinburgh Science Festival awarded the Edinburgh Medal to acclaimed diplomat Christiana Figueres, the Costa Rican Diplomat who was instrumental in bringing about the Paris Climate Agreement. We organised a round table on that day, with leaders of business, public sector, third sector and higher education present. They were challenged by Christiana to collaborate, to act, to not wait for anyone to give them permission and to use the opportunity that presented itself for positive change.

Christiana returned to Edinburgh two months later and asked to meet again for an update. Baillie Gifford hosted a larger group of senior leaders who presented a number of ideas for discussion in this forum, with Christiana Figueres and Roseanna Cunningham, then Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform. Many of the ideas have been picked up and the attendees have fed back that this group is of immense value to them, due to the diverse invite list and the facilitated discussions.

'The transition to clean energy is a huge task, but the key thing is that it is profoundly positive for us to undertake. I truly believe we can – maybe even before 2050 – with the right investment and the right infrastructure. It is fantastic to see Edinburgh Science being proactive and bringing leaders together from diverse sectors in order to expediate this transition.'   

Chris Stark, Chief Executive of the Climate Change Committee 

Now re-named Climate Co-Labs, these round table meetings encourage, support and facilitate these leaders as they address the challenges and opportunities that the climate revolution will bring. We are excited to continue to host Climate Co-Labs regularly and to work together towards bringing innovative ideas into reality.

What do Participants Say?

At our last Climate Co-Lab, 17 November 2022, the post-event survey showed that 100% of respondents made a new connection. 

'The speakers were great, the venue was lovely, there was a great atmosphere in the room and everyone was engaging and willing to chat. '

Climate Co-Lab Attendee

'The Group has brought a broad range of businesses, academic institutions and environmental organisations together in a collaborative structure. The tone and approach has acted to create a culture of shared understanding and innovative enquiry about how Scotland can address these major challenges and take a leadership role in the world. This joint learning, research and the expected development of initiatives will hopefully prove an inspiration for organisations that would otherwise be uncertain or even fearful about engaging on this agenda.'

Gordon Dewar, CEO, Edinburgh Airport

'Edinburgh Science is in a unique position to bring together the business community with statutory bodies to consider how we respond collectively to the Net Zero challenge. Net Zero will require all sectors of society to step up: it is not Government’s responsibility alone. Business has a particular opportunity and responsibility both to challenge and adapt its own practices to achieve Net Zero and to lead innovation which will provide us all with the tools to make Net Zero a reality. The added-value that Edinburgh Science provides is that it provides a neutral but informed space for businesses to discuss their innovative proposals. Edinburgh Science has the convening power to attract a wide range of high-quality businesses from a range of sectors and this cross fertilisation is incredibly powerful in developing ideas and
momentum. As an organisation with strong science credentials, Edinburgh Science is uniquely placed to focus on innovation and act as an “ideas lab” for businesses to develop innovative approaches
to net-zero.'

Francesca Osowska, CEO, Nature Scot

Climate Co-Lab Event Notes


Co-Creating a Sustainable Ecosystem for Tourism and Cultural Events, 7 August 2023

Responsible Business for an Environmentally Sustainable & Just Future, 14 June 2023

Accelerating Public and Private Sector Collaboration for Net Zero, 21 March 2023

Accelerating a Just Transition to Net Zero, 5 April 2023


Keeping Momentum After Cop 26: Changing the System, 21 January 2022

Public Engagement: A challenge of planetary Scale, 27 April 2022

Energising the Energy Transition, 10 August 2022

Financing the Energy Transition, 17 November 2022


Local Transport: Bicycle Cities and Road User Charging, 9 February 2021

Marine Environment, 18 February 2021

Land Use: Financing Nature-Based Solutions at a Landscape Scale, 30 March 2021

How can international collaboration drive forward our green economic future? 3 November 2021

Skills for a Just Transition, 5 November 2021


The Green Recovery, 5 November 2020

Heat Decarbonisation, 17 November 2020

Heat Decarbonisation: Hearts and Minds, 16 December 2020



We would like to thank the many organisations involved in supporting this exciting and unique project, particularly our 2022–2023 supporters.

For more information about our climate work, please contact our Director of Development, Hannah Schlesinger at