GIAF partners with major funders and sponsors towards a more sustainable future

7 July 2022

Galway International Arts Festival (GIAF), is delighted to announce that it is making step changes to reduce its impact on the environment and move towards a more sustainable future.

Working with its major funding and sponsorship partners The Arts Council, Fáilte Ireland, NUI Galway, Flogas and Heineken®, GIAF is committing to source 50% of its total energy requirements from renewable resources and reducing current waste production by 55% all by 2025.

GIAF is leveraging some of the resources provided by the named partners and partnering with others on the creation and application of event best practice and initiatives to reduce GIAF’s carbon footprint. As such, GIAF has hired a Sustainability Manager, Georgina Edziwa, who, along with festival management, will oversee a number of initiatives at the festival this year that will assist it in transitioning to a more sustainable future.

GIAF has reduced its printing output by 50% in 2022, will power the Festival Garden from renewable sources and has a strong focus on recycling and reusing materials with an estimated 75% of materials used in the redesign of the Festival Gallery this year repurposed from previous builds.

It is also promoting behaviours among staff, volunteers, artists and audiences that will help reduce their impact on the environment and is now working with its supply chains to help deliver more sustainable options.

The Festival is also highlighting sustainability in its festival programming, including a First Thought Talk on climate change, Climate, Again, a major outdoor installation on the heating of the world’s oceans in John Gerrard’s Flare [Oceania], and the presentation of the Irish Pavilion from the Venice Architecture Biennale, Entanglement, which addresses the environmental, cultural and human impact of data.

This year, GIAF, along with some of its supporting partners, is also looking to bring in a suite of measures that will support the organisation on its sustainability journey.

With 16% of GIAF’s Festival venues located on NUI Galway’s campus, GIAF and its Education Partner, NUI Galway are working together on ensuring any venues used by the festival are run sustainably.

NUI Galway has already made substantial inroads on its sustainable journey and is ranked #1 in Ireland and top 50 in the world under THE Impact Rankings 2022 for success in delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goals. NUI Galway ranks 14th in the world in the THE Societal Impact Rankings for Affordable and Clean Energy.

GIAF and its Energy Partner Flogas are working together to power the Festival Garden with renewable energy, via the installation of a row of solar panels on the roof of the concession stand at the garden that will be used to power the garden. Back-up generators will be powered using hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO).

Flogas will also be operating a stand at the Festival Garden during GIAF 2022 to inform patrons of sustainable energy options. Flogas electricity supply is generated via 100% renewable sources, including renewable generation sites comprising wind, solar generation, and anaerobic digestion. The generators range from small rooftop domestic solar installations to large wind farm sites in rural locations.

Flogas are also again partnering with Galway electric bike company Brite Mobility to offer free e-bikes on dedicated Flogas branded e-bikes to organisers, artists, accredited staff and ticketholders for this year’s Galway International Arts Festival. 35 Flogas branded zero carbon Brite electric bikes will be based at Brite Mobility’s five central locations and can be located by users in Brite’s smartphone app.

Flogas will also distribute compostable rain macs to patrons at the festival, so that they can keep dry in a sustainable manner while enjoying GIAF’s extensive street programme.

Flogas Managing Director John Rooney stated: “We’re delighted to be working closely with the GIAF team on its sustainability journey. Sustainability is at the heart of our energy portfolio because, as a utility company, we are at the forefront of the transformation of energy generation. We are fully aware that our role in the development of renewable forms of energy for all our futures has never been more important.”

GIAF and Heineken®, meanwhile, are working together on the use of more sustainable cups at the Festival Garden and at the Heineken® Big Top. At the Heineken® Big Top, a reusable cup system will be trialed, while a single use rPET cup, made from 100% recycled material, will be available at the Festival Garden. Patrons will be advised to reuse or recycle their cups by additional messaging and branding on site during the festival.

Heineken® Brand Manager Anna Walsh said: “Heineken Ireland has continued to showcase its commitment to making events a little greener every day. One initiative we’re excited to partner with GIAF on is a reusable cup option, which will be available at the Heineken® Big Top for the first time this year. Our mission is to bring the most sustainable cup solution to the festival that retains the highest possible quality experience for consumers.”

Galway International Arts Festival CEO John Crumlish said: “We have been working on how we might mitigate our impact on the environment for a number of years but this year we want to make a number of bigger changes to how we operate to help us achieve our 2025 sustainability goals. We are excited by what is possible and, with the help and support of our partners and also our audiences, we can make real progress in 2022.”