Greta Thunberg’s Decision Impacts Edinburgh Book Festival: Authors Unite Against Fossil Fuel Sponsorship 2023

Greta Thunberg, a widely recognized climate activist, recently made waves by announcing her absence from the Edinburgh Book Festival this year. This announcement has sparked a series of events involving more than 50 esteemed authors, including well-known figures such as Zadie Smith and Ali Smith. Their collaborative effort has resulted in a joint letter addressed to the festival’s organizers. The central request of this letter is for the festival to reevaluate its associations with organizations heavily invested in fossil fuels.

Baillie Gifford

Baillie Gifford, a longstanding sponsor of the Edinburgh Book Festival which commenced on August 12th, has come under scrutiny due to a recent expos√© by The Ferret. The article sheds light on Baillie Gifford’s substantial investments, totaling nearly ¬£5 billion, in companies profiting from fossil fuel activities.

In the wake of these revelations, Greta Thunberg decided to cancel her participation in the festival, expressing concerns that the festival’s principal sponsor, Baillie Gifford, was engaging in “greenwashing.” This term refers to the act of projecting an environmentally friendly image while simultaneously engaging in environmentally harmful practices.

In a concerted effort, a group of authors and event organizers collaborated on an open letter directed at the festival’s management. The essence of this letter is a strong assertion that companies capitalizing on global environmental crises are using reputable cultural institutions, like the Edinburgh Book Festival, to legitimize their less-than-ethical activities. The authors’ collective appeal is for the festival to sever ties with Baillie Gifford as its sponsor for the upcoming year, 2024, if the company persists in significant investments in fossil fuels. They underscore the possibility of a collective boycott of the festival in the following year if their request remains unheeded.

Nick Barley, the Festival Director, responded to the open letter with a commitment to a thorough review of the matter. He emphasized the festival’s desire to steer clear of any perception of conflicting interests and proposed the idea of addressing this issue during the festival.

As of now, Baillie Gifford has yet to release an official statement regarding these unfolding developments.

Established in 1908, Baillie Gifford stands as a notable firm with a history of supporting numerous literary events throughout the UK, including the renowned Hay Festival. Additionally, they sponsor the Baillie Gifford Prize, a prestigious accolade celebrating outstanding non-fiction writing within the UK literary sphere.


AI, Artificial Intelligence, Technology , Marshall Speakers

Leave a Comment