Imaginate’s Climate Emergency Statement of Intent

We recognise climate change is a serious threat to life, well-being, culture, social justice and opportunities, particularly for future generations. We believe in the importance of bringing internationally renowned work to children and families in Edinburgh and touring performing work across Scotland, we also recognise this carries an environmental impact. We are therefore committed to minimising our impact on the environment and climate change across our programme by decreasing emissions, by 20% year on year, across the company in the following ways:

Staff Travel

  • Commit to reduce international travel across the company, against the baseline figures for 2019-2020 by 20% year on year until Net Zero is achieved.
  • Continue our commitment to eliminate domestic flights.
  • Interrogate the need for each trip, and research alternative ways of achieving our aims.
  • Consider and research lower-carbon forms of transport for all staff journeys.

Performance Programme

  • We will work with artists to reduce international artist travel emissions in 2022 by 20% against our 2019-2020 baseline figures and 10% each year thereafter. Renewing our focus on train travel from Europe.
  • When touring nationally, we endeavour to plan the most efficient route possible, to minimise travel emissions. We will switch to electric vans for touring once the vehicles are readily available to hire.
  • We commit to offer one digital festival performance to enable national and international engagement for audiences.
  • We commit to offer a digital strand within our Delegate programme for national and international delegates to participate.
  • We will lobby delegates, using clear and strong examples of the impact of different forms of travel and offering resources to support travelling via lower-carbon forms of transport.
  • We will research how to improve the energy and resource efficiency of performance productions, and will gather information that can be shared with all artists we work with, to increase efficiency and set targets for reduced emissions during future festivals.


  • We budget for the higher costs of sustainable choices, e.g. sustainable procurement, train travel and paying staff and artists for extra time spent travelling by train instead of plane. 
  • We have signed the Oil Sponsorship Free pledge, declaring that we will not accept financial support from any oil, gas or coal company.
  • We provide an environmental induction for Festival volunteers, touring teams and artists including sustainability at venues, low carbon travel at the Festival, and communicating the rationale behind these efforts.
  • From 2021, both the Festival's schools programme and delegate programme will be publicised digitally without printed brochures or postcards. 
  • Sign documents, file financial statements and record approvals digitally rather than printing.
  • We will undertake a monthly reduction in the number of files saved on our server and email accounts, reducing the impact of our data storage.


  • We will seek to influence those with whom we work to take lower-carbon transport, visiting school children to Festival delegates.
  • We will stay engaged in the latest technological developments for combatting climate change and seek to act as an exemplar where possible.

This is a live statement of intent; it will evolve through time as we work on discovering the best ways to respond to the climate emergency and as relevant technologies develop.

“Nearly six in 10 young people, aged 16 to 25, were very or extremely worried about climate change, according to the biggest scientific study yet on climate anxiety and young people, published on Tuesday. A similar number said governments were not protecting them, the planet, or future generations, and felt betrayed by the older generation and governments.” Guardian 14/09/21


How You Can Help

Travelling to the Children’s Festival

At the Children’s Festival

We try to make it easy for audiences to minimise resource use at our Festival:

  • Return: You can return your lanyard if you are a delegate/visiting company/staff. You can return your Imaginate t-shirt if you are a staff or volunteer - unless you are planning to use it again on the following year!
  • Recycle: Please use the recycling facilities at our venues (including for your tickets and any plastic cups), and ask staff if you cannot find them. Most of our venues are members of the Green Arts Initiative.
  • Reuse: Some of our venues now serve drinks in reusable cups that can be taken into the theatre, and serve hot drinks in plant-based cups, rather than traditional single-use plastics. To make sure to avoid single-use plastics, you can bring a KeepCup or choose to sit in with your coffee rather than taking it away in a single-use cup.
  • Food: Edinburgh has plenty of vegetarian and vegan restaurants to choose from, so you can enjoy food with a lower carbon footprint. Check out the lists here and here. This site maps the best shops for local food which reduces air miles and supports local businesses.

Keeping in Touch

  • You can choose to have a digital version of our brochure rather than a printed version. If you currently receive your Imaginate Festival brochure by post every year and would like to change the way you receive your future brochures, you can email us at and we will change your preferences for you. If you do receive a printed brochure, you could reuse it by giving it to a friend or colleague when you’re finished with it.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact our Green Champion, Ondine Oberlin, at Thank you for helping us be green!