Creative Carbon Scotland’s Advice for a More Sustainable Fringe

Whether you are a Fringe first-timer or an experienced veteran, there are lots of opportunities to make the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe your greenest yet. Here are just some of the ways to reduce the environmental impact of your Fringe involvement.

Every year, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe hosts hundreds of temporary venues, visiting companies from around the world and thousands of productions, all over the course of a single month. However, even in this fleetingly temporary festival setting, there are many ways of reducing the environmental impact of your show.

Listed below are just some of the initiatives which you can join to operate in a more sustainable way this August:

Advice for Participants and Companies

The Fringe Guide to Sustainability

Produced by the Participant Services team at the Fringe Society, this guide offers accessible advice and practical steps for production companies to make their shows more sustainable. It provides a list of first steps and creative ideas for action, case studies of past sustainable productions and useful resources for sustainable operations, communication and monitoring.

Click here to download the 2015 official Fringe Guide to Sustainability.

The Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice Award

Run by Creative Carbon Scotland and the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, this yearly award celebrates the most sustainable shows appearing at the Fringe. Shortlisted productions are named in The List magazine, and the winner receives a special feature in the CPSA quarterly as well as recognition in a ceremony at Fringe Central.

For more information and to apply, click here. The deadline for 2015 applications is July 24th.

The Fringe Swap Shop

Formerly known as the Fringe Re-use and ReFringecycle Days, the Swap Shop is back for 2015, welcoming companies and individuals participating in the festival to bring good quality props, costumes and set materials to be reused by other productions or members of the local community. The event has grown year on year and is now a popular fixture in the Fringe calendar. This year’s Swap Shop will take place from Sunday 30th August to Tuesday 1st September 2015, 11am – 6pm – details of which can be found on our Events page.

Participants can contact Fringe Central or to find out more about what can be donated.

Top Tips

  • Ask your Fringe venue about their environmental policy, and whether they have energy monitoring systems and recycling options
  • Advertise the most environmentally-friendly way to get to your venue – Edinburgh has excellent public transport and cycling networks – and most city centre locations can easily be reached on foot. Websites and can be used to find new routes and avoid the manic festival traffic.
  • Reduce and re-use your materials by investing in responsibly sourced set items that can be used repeatedly, and commit to efficient waste disposal methods (like the Fringe Swap Shop)
  • Always use recycled and/or recyclable paper. The price difference is often negligible while the environmental benefits are huge. See here to learn more about your paper options.

Advice for Venues

The Green Arts Initiative

Run by Creative Carbon Scotland and Festivals Edinburgh, the GAI is a simple accreditation scheme designed to provide advice, support and tools for venues, companies and organizations to become greener and communicate their efforts to audiences and the public.

In 2014, nearly 70 organizations across the UK were signed up to the GAI, taking proactive steps to reduce their environmental impact across waste, travel and energy areas.

This year, we are offering a free staff induction service for GAI members. The CCS team is available to give a 5 minute sustainability talk to festival volunteers and seasonal staff members to help raise awareness of the small actions that can make a big difference! Please to arrange for one of our staff to come out and meet your team.

We are also offering supplemental branding for those GAI members participating in Scotland’s various summer festivals to assist in making your green achievements that much more visible. to arrange for an additional GAI sticker delivery and social media coverage.

To sign up to the GAI, and to find out which organisations are already members, click here

Case Study Examples

We’ve been putting together case studies of good practice in the arts and cultural industries, constantly adding more to highlight the best efforts of the festivals! Click here to find real-world examples of everything from environmentally-friendly touring and publicity, to sustainable catering and audience engagement.

Top Tips

  • Address the four main areas of environmental impact: energy, water, waste and travel
  • Develop your own environmental policy, set your own targets and create action plans for minimizing your impact
  • Be inventive with your publicity method – paper flyer use can be reduced easily with more efficient targeting of material, a good social network campaign or the use of ink stamps and poster QR codes.
  • Encourage staff members, volunteers and audiences to use the greenest transportation options available. Edinburgh has excellent public transport and cycling networks – and most city centre locations can easily be reached on foot. Websites like and can be used to find efficient routes.
  • Run a simple staff induction addressing environmentally-responsible behaviours and locations of recycling facilities (or, if you are a GAI member, invite us to do this for you!)

Keep up to date with sustainability news and opportunities throughout the Fringe, and Scotland’s other various summer festivals, by following Creative Carbon Scotland on Facebook, Twitter and our festival-specific #GreenFests blog.

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