Advice for a More Sustainable Fringe

2nd February 2017

Advice for a More Sustainable Fringe 3

Whether you are a Fringe first-timer or an experienced veteran, there are lots of opportunities to make the 2016 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.

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 participant, or venue:

Advice for Participants and Companies

1. 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 latest official Fringe Guide to Sustainability.

2. 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.

Fringe Sustainability Award from arts-news on Vimeo.

3. The Fringe Swap Shop

Formerly known as the Fringe Re-use and Recycle Days, the Swap Shop welcomes 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.

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

Fringe Reuse and Recycle Days from Creative Carbon Scotland on Vimeo.

4. Top Tips for Companies and Participants

  • 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 like 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

1. 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 organisations to become greener and communicate their efforts to audiences and the public. There are over 160 arts organisations in Scotland currently members of the initiative.

CCS offers 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 contact to arrange for one of our staff to come out and meet your team.

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

2. 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! Click here to find real-world examples of everything from environmentally-friendly touring and publicity, to sustainable catering and audience engagement.

3. Top Tips for Venues

  • 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 FacebookTwitter and our festival-specific #GreenFests blog.

Image: Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society

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About Creative Carbon Scotland

We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

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Supported by

Edinburgh Festival City Edinburgh Festival City

A project initiated by Edinburgh’s Festivals with key partners the Federation of Scottish Theatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network

Edinburgh Festival City Federation of Scottish Theatre Scottish Contemporary Art Network