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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 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.

Environmental Policy

The Edinburgh Festivals are committed to minimising their impact on the environment and continue to work both jointly and independently to achieve this. By the end of 2021 we will have a robust sustainability plan in place to 2030 across all our areas of work - Edinburgh Science Festival, Learning, and Worldwide. We will:  

  • Reduce emissions by 75% by 2030 

  • Set carbon budgets for all projects, per unit of activity* 

  • Report our UK and Worldwide emissions both separately and together, each year  

  • Support our staff to make carbon-conscious choices, through implementing the Cycle to Work Scheme and carbon literacy training 


  •  Adopt a circular economy model, planning out waste from the start 

  • Adopt a sustainable procurement strategy by 2024  

  • With e-tickets and online programmes, the festival is paperless where possible. Where printing is unavoidable we source FSC approved paper and all printed material is recyclable.   


  • Reduce vehicle emissions for Generation Science, our travelling workshop in schools. We will do this through a combination of using rental electric vehicles as they become available and optimising the efficiency of the routes used 

  • Continue to encourage sustainable travel by festival participants and guests – working with Lothian Buses to achieve this 

  • Upon return to the office we will introduce the Cycle to Work scheme, to allow employees to commute actively and sustainably  

  • We use shipping rather than air freight where event timelines allow 

  • We have already reduced our flight volume to our international sister festival, the Abu Dhabi Science Festival, by 20%. We will continue to look at ways to reduce air mileage and commit to offset any unavoidable flight emissions 

  • We avoid internal flights where a train can get us there in a day and no longer pay for internal flights for our speakers and performers unless it is an accessibility requirement 


  • Ensure that our office heating is decarbonised by 2025  

  • We have already transferred energy supplier for our offices and warehouses to Good Energy, meaning that all the electricity we use is accounted for by renewable generation  

  • We sort 100% of recyclable waste in our office 

Our own climate work 

As part of the culture sector, festivals have influence and must therefore lead by example. Edinburgh Science has been programming for the planet for a number of years as part of its mission to foster a scientifically-literate society. Since 2019, we have also been taking a proactive approach to engaging with our supporters, other businesses and politicians through our Climate Opportunity Ideas Factory roundtable events and The NetZeroToolkit. The Climate opportunity Ideas Factory provides a unique and open discussion forum for senior business leaders, politicians, research stakeholders and charities alike; fostering the generation of ideas.  

One idea to emerge and develop was The NetZeroToolkit. Delivered by Edinburgh Science, it provides a free and simple 8-step toolkit to help SMEs on their journey to Net Zero. Feedback so far confirms that the toolkit is an incredibly useful resource as it breaks down carbon management into smaller actionable goals. We are continuing to expand our outreach of The NetZeroToolkit through network marketing, showcasing it at events and personally supporting users. 

Edinburgh Science will be using The NetZeroToolkit as a framework for reducing its own emissions and setting more robust environmental targets.  

Watch this space! 


*We believe 'CO2E/Unit of Activity to be a better measure of our emissions reduction progress due to the variation in amounts of events delivered year-on-year. For Generation Science, we will measure CO2/show, and for international work we will measure our emissions against turnover for worldwide work.