Festivals Edinburgh is a strategic umbrella organisation bringing together eleven iconic Edinburgh member festivals in collaborative and strategic projects.
This project covered providing Festivals Edinburgh, and the eight participating individual festivals, reasonable assurance of their carbon baseline, and recommending improvements to their carbon accounting methodology.
Festivals Edinburgh approached Beyond Green in April 2021 to explore the most pragmatic and reliable way to obtain independent assurance of the combined carbon baseline for some of Edinburgh’s iconic festivals.
Although not a formal audit, Beyond Green devised a risk-based approach and followed the principles of environmental reporting. The aim of our approach was to identify any significant errors in existing calculations within a defined scope of emissions, such as energy and travel & logistics for staff and performers. To ensure as many festivals as possible could be included within tight budgets, we provided a lite version of the verification for those festivals with a smaller carbon impact while maintaining the risk focus.
The impacts of the pandemic on the creative industries have imposed untold pressures and staff changes, and it is commendable that Festivals Edinburgh and the individual festivals embarked on the challenge to have emissions verified, especially as the carbon baseline data relates to activities pre-pandemic!
From our work, we could verify the reported emissions for 2019-20 to some extent, and any limitations identified were reasonable given the last two years. Our risk-based approach backed up with robust evidence did identify significant adjustments to the combined baseline. Though ensuring their carbon targets are reliably quantified is important and reassuring, it is also essential that the Festivals understand the reasons behind the adjustments so that future target setting is robust, and consequently our work included providing guidance on how they can improve.
The value of any assurance work is more than the green tick and peace of mind that everything was correct, it is also about learning and knowledge building from the assurance process. This ensures carbon calculations, methodologies and processes to gather information improve for the future; leading to a more efficient process, more targeted actions, and speedy verification!
With the carbon baseline for the eight participating festivals in scope on a sound footing, Festivals Edinburgh now wishes Beyond Green to support these individual festivals to set valid targets for their carbon reduction plans.
Here is what Gary Stewart, General Manager for Festivals Edinburgh, said about our work with them to date:
Beyond Green conducted a Carbon Verification project in 2021 during which they engaged with Festivals Edinburgh at the project level and with eight individual festivals to gather and verify their reported carbon emissions. During the project they helped us manage complex information flows, communicated with us throughout the work and produced professional and succinct results and reports that are of value to ourselves and the individual festivals. We found the team a pleasure to work with and they conducted all stages of the work with transparency and professionalism. We are continuing to work with Beyond Green who are now supporting individual festivals with validation of their carbon reduction goals and targets.”Gary Stewart, General Manager, Festivals Edinburgh, April 2022