We strive to be a sustainable organisation. That means we are constantly looking at how we can reduce the amount of the Earth’s resources we use, reuse the things we can’t do without, and recycle the materials when we can no longer use them. But that is not all. We believe our responsibility as a Foundation and as a Festival of Literature goes further.
We are a meeting point for new thoughts and ideas. Our audiences come to our events to discover something new, and when they leave, they are changed from the experience.
Through our programme of events and our initiatives, we take an active role in giving people the opportunity to think deeply about their impact on our communities and our planet. We are proud to have welcomed some of the world’s greatest conservationists, environmentalists, and advocates for sustainability. We believe hearing speakers like Jane Goodall, David Attenborough, Lucy Siegle, Majid Al Qassimi, The Green Sheikh and many more, is a powerful part of the education process which will ultimately help change the way we live. We are committed to continuing to invite the writers and speakers that make a difference.
Sustainability policy and progress
This is how we make a difference:
- Influence through programming. In 2020 we welcomed 12 sustainability sessions for children and adults, in English and Arabic; 40% more than in 2019. These sessions, which included Jane Goodall, The Green Sheikh and Tony Juniper, were sold out or close to full capacity – testament to the Foundation’s ongoing audience development and marketing of sustainability.
- Educating the next generation. Voices of Future Generations is a global writing competition that empowers children to learn about sustainability and children’s rights through creative writing. The programme in the Gulf Region is supported by HH Sheikha Hissa Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum who is the Goodwill Ambassador for the Gulf Region. The Foundation is delivering the initiative, held under the patronage of UNESCO, which highlights Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and contributes to the 2030 global targets. In its first year it has already attracted more than 1,700 registrations from 98 schools across the seven Emirates.
- Influencing stakeholders, 360. Our Green Procurement Strategy gives preference to environmentally preferable products, to actively stimulate market demand for eco-friendly products and services. In 2019/2020, we reduced the number of printed programmes by 55% and used wood-free recyclable paper. We share our journey and supplier details with all our stakeholders to influence them to join us in our efforts.
- Making the Festival a single-use plastic-free event. We highlighted single-use plastic to challenge people and make them think about their impact and change behaviours. Asking people to bring refillable bottles while banning the sale of single-use plastic bottles on-site lead to a tangible positive result, saving 16,830 bottles of water at the 2020 Festival.
- In 2020, the Foundation worked with Dubai Carbon to produce its first Sustainability report. All emissions resulting from the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature have been accounted for in the carbon footprint and voluntarily offset through the UNFCCC Clean Development Mechanism, deeming the event as carbon neutral in 2019 and 2020.
- The efforts of the Emirates Literature Foundation are being recognised. It has been shortlisted as a finalist at the Gulf Sustainability and CSR Awards 2020 in two categories; Best Community Development, and Best Sustainability Education or Awareness Programme.