Festivals Edinburgh Carbon Target Validation Case Study

Our client

Festivals Edinburgh is a strategic umbrella organisation bringing together eleven iconic Edinburgh member festivals in collaborative and strategic projects. 

Edinburgh Festival City.com

The Project

This was Phase 2 of our ongoing work together; Phase 1 was a carbon baseline verification project. You can read our case study on Phase 1 here.

Phase 2 of the project covered an impartial and external review of the carbon targets set by 8 participating festivals.

Project Delivery

For this phase of the project the aim was to review the carbon targets set by the participating festivals. A realistic outcome agreed with all festivals was for each festival to have 3 verified carbon reduction targets. To achieve this, we reviewed their existing targets, held collaborative conversations with each festival about them and supported the festivals in creating new credible targets where needed. Then we proceeded to validate the targets. 

We approached this process in three steps:

  1. Validate the design of the target
  2. Validate the underlying data and information
  3. Validate the carbon reduction calculations

This allowed us to address any big picture improvement areas for the targets before moving onto the more data-heavy, detailed validation steps where we could use our technical expertise to suggest potential improvements and long-term opportunities for development of the methodology to ensure that target setting and monitoring progress is practical, reliable and realistic.


From our work, we could validate the festivals’ targets and provide recommendations for improving on the target and on the underlying data processing to maximise the long-term benefits of their carbon reduction plans. Our collaborative approach, supported by our technical expertise, allowed us to suggest best practice improvements for the methodology of data analysis, taking into account key business concerns like business continuity and change management. We produced both an overall project report for Festivals Edinburgh, and provided a summary of the verified targets for each festival, including our supporting calculations that substantiated and quantified targets from reliable evidence. By sharing this information, we hope that each festival can use it as an internal reference, so the outcomes of our work can strengthen their knowledge base for the future.


The value of carbon target validation is in the creation or finetuning of targets that can form the basis of long-term Net Zero plans. A reliable, precise, and achievable target allows for clear actions to be defined and scheduled in advance, which ensures that the festivals can deliver on their carbon reduction goals. It is also a way of future-proofing sustainability plans – Net Zero and the related carbon accounting are constantly evolving fields of knowledge; the more visible and robust the thought process and methodology used to develop your initial targets, the easier it will be to adapt or expand on them as new best practice emerges.

We are now going to support the festivals to take forward the recommendations in our report by facilitating a workshop to help them design a more consistent approach and methodology that works for them all. 

Here is what Gary Stewart, General Manager for Festivals Edinburgh, said about our work with them to date:

We were pleased with Beyond Green’s continued high-level of service during the second phase of this 12-month project which focused on validating at least 3 carbon reduction targets for eight individual festivals. Throughout this phase, their adaptable and collaborative approach to working with a variety of festivals with different needs ensured that the process and recommendations were valuable to ourselves and the individual festivals.  They were always on hand to offer pragmatic guidance while ensuring the outcomes were robust and credible, and they often went the extra mile to help us achieve our goals. We look forward to future opportunities to work together where their services can support our requirements.”

Gary Stewart, General Manager, Festivals Edinburgh, November 2022