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 your experience at Edinburgh Festival Fringe your greenest yet.
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.
This resource shares some of the initiatives which you can join to operate in a more sustainable way in August as a festival company or participating venue.
Advice for companies
- Learn from the Fringe Sustainability Toolkit
Produced in collaboration with the Participant Services team at the Edinburgh Festival 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 latest Fringe Sustainability Toolkit.
- Participate in Fringe Central’s sustainability events
Each year, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society facilitates a programme of industry events around a number of topics aimed at participants. The Fringe Central Events Programme has historically included a number of events themed around environmental sustainability, and these can be a great way of meeting other like-minded performers, and support organisations – including Creative Carbon Scotland! Find our more about Fringe Central.
- Donate to, and attend, the Fringe Swap Shop
Previously known as the ‘Reuse and Recycle Days’, the Fringe Swap Shop is a combination of recycling depot and rummage exchange: prompting re-use and upcycling of props, costumes and useable furniture. Other participants or members of the public can collect donated items for free! Email email@example.com for full details of what they can accept. For information on recycling sets, or set exchange, try 2nd Hand Scenery Scotland, Scenery Salvage or Set-Exchange .
- Join #SustainableFringe campaigns and actions
The community and network of companies participating in the Fringe can be a strong force for sustainable good. Several companies host or run campaigns around sustainable production design, sustainable behaviour whilst in Edinburgh (e.g. using reuseable cups and containers for takeaway food) and wider initiatives around social benefit, such as the Fringe Food Bank, which redistributed leftover food to food banks in Edinburgh post-Fringe. Read the blog by the #SustainableFringe campaign and find out about current initiatives via social media.
- Collaborate with your venue
Working with your venue to increase the sustainability of both your activities can often produce the best results. Ask your Fringe venue about their environmental policy, and whether they have energy monitoring systems and recycling stations you can use, and identify areas of ambition which you have in common: could you advertise the most environmentally-friendly way to get to your venue and your show? Edinburgh has excellent public transport and cycling networks – and most city centre locations can easily be reached on foot. Websites like www.walkit.com and www.edinburgh.cyclestreets.net can be used to find new routes. And pass on our advice to venues (below!).
Advice for venues
- Join the Green Arts Initiative
Run by Creative Carbon Scotland and Festivals Edinburgh, the Green Arts Initiative is a community of practice of cultural organisations in Scotland committed to environmental sustainability, and designed to provide advice, support and tools for venues, companies and organisations to become greener and communicate their efforts to audiences and the public. There are over 225 organisations in Scotland currently members of the initiative. Join the Green Arts Initiative, to find out which organisations are already members.
- Learn from others through case study examples
We have a great selection of good practice case studies in the arts and cultural industries and highlights from the best efforts of the festivals! Find real-world examples of everything from environmentally-friendly touring and publicity, to sustainable catering and audience engagement.
- Learn from the Fringe Sustainability Toolkit
Produced in collaboration with the Participant Services team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, this guide offers accessible advice and practical steps for venues, big and small. 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 latest Fringe Sustainability Toolkit.
- Create or review your environmental sustainability policy
Addressing the four main areas of environmental impact (energy, water, waste and travel) and thinking about how you can you can maximise the positive impact you can have through how you operate your venue is key. Working with your Marketing team to plan greener communications methods, to encouraging and enabling staff members, volunteers and audiences to use the greenest transportation options available is all part of creating a green venue. Take a look at our guides to creating your own environmental policy.
- Train your staff and volunteers
Running a simple staff induction to highlight and demonstrate environmentally-responsible behaviours and locations of recycling facilities is a key way to ensure sustainable practice is embedded across what you do. Creative Carbon Scotland can suggest some things to include, or even come along to help deliver this!
Creative Carbon Scotland does not regularly programme work or activities at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, but does sometimes host opportunities, blogs, initiatives and events during or connected to the festival. For more information about what we currently do: