The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, taking place from 4th to 9th February, has announced a raft of measures to minimise its environmental impact as part of its commitment to sustainability.
The measures include targets of zero disposable plastic for the 2020 festival, filtered water stations and onsite recycling, in addition to many Festival sessions dedicated to sustainability.
The Festival’s CO2 savings will be recorded by Dubai Carbon in an official sustainability report, along with those of the Emirates Literature Foundation, the organiser of the Festival, which strives to radically cut its carbon footprint through a sustainable supply chain management policy and a staged implementation programme of environmentally friendly practices. A green procurement strategy gives preference to environmentally preferable products, with the ultimate aim to actively stimulate market demand for eco-friendly products and services.
“Sustainability is an urgent issue for us all. We want to be at the forefront of change,” said Ahlam Bolooki, festival director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. “We want to inspire everyone to embrace sustainability as part of their daily life and we intend to lead by example. Last year we installed a water fountain on site, offering free refills of still and sparkling water, and we asked all visitors to bring their reusable water bottles. The Festival’s venue partner, the InterContinental, Dubai Festival City, ensured there were no disposable bottles on site. All our suppliers are committed to implementing our changes and this year we are tackling food waste, recycling, and much more.”
“You can’t manage what you can’t measure. The report is the first step to continual improvement,” said Jennifer Malton, Chief Operating Officer of Emirates Literature Foundation and the organisation’s sustainability champion.
This year’s sustainability strand includes Henry Firth and Ian Theasby, the duo behind the internet sensation BOSH!; internationally recognised campaigner and sustainability advisor Tony Juniper, with his thoughts about life, the planet and the economy; and Green Sheikh Green Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Nuaimi who shows how to make life-style changes which will contribute towards a sustainable future.
There is also environmentalist and wildlife expert Kate Humble, who will be talking about the power of walking and her year-long journey on foot; Miriam Lancewood, with her amazing story of her life in the wilderness, foraging, hunting and being at one with nature; and Gavin Thurston, who tells of his work as a wildlife cameraman on Sir David Attenborough’s series, Blue Planet II, Planet Earth II and Our Planet.
The 2019 Festival made significant progress on the path to becoming a single-use-plastic-free event with the water fountain which was installed on site offering free refills of water to all visitors with reusable water bottles. Through these efforts, the nine-day Festival made a CO2 saving of more than 168,000 kg. More than 5,400 litres of water from the water fountain equalled savings of almost 11,000 water bottles, saving more than 145,000 kg.
The Emirates Literature Foundation has a staged implementation programme of environmentally-friendly practices across the organisation including energy-efficient lighting, the installation of solar panels in their offices, upgrading to energy-efficient office equipment, as well as extensive recycling initiatives for paper, plastic, metal, and glass.