Festival leads the way in sustainability

Dubai, UAE: The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature (4-9 February) has today announced a raft of measures to minimise its environmental impact. Its commitment to sustainability includes targets of zero disposable plastic for the 2020 festival, filtered water stations and onsite recycling. This is in addition to many Festival sessions dedicated to sustainability, including the iconic pre-Festival event with celebrated ethologist Dr Jane Goodall, the world’s leading expert on chimpanzees.

The Festival’s CO2 savings will be recorded by Dubai Carbon in an official sustainability report, along with those of the Emirates Literature Foundation, the organiser of the Festival, which strives to radically cut its carbon footprint through a sustainable supply chain management policy and a staged implementation programme of environmentally friendly practices. A green procurement strategy gives preference to environmentally preferable products, with the ultimate aim to actively stimulate market demand for eco-friendly products and services.

“Sustainability is an urgent issue for us all. We want to be at the forefront of change,” said Ahlam Bolooki, festival director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. “We want to inspire everyone to embrace sustainability as part of their daily life and we intend to lead by example. Last year we installed a water fountain on site, offering free refills of still and sparkling water, and we asked all visitors to bring their reusable water bottles. The Festival’s venue partner, the InterContinental, Dubai Festival City, ensured there were no disposable bottles on site. All our suppliers are committed to implementing our changes and this year we are tackling food waste, recycling, and much more.

“Our programme is full of panels and sessions to enlighten and inspire, bringing our relationship with our natural environment to the fore.”

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure. The report is the first step to continual improvement,” said Jennifer Malton, Chief Operating Officer of Emirates Literature Foundation and the organisation’s sustainability champion. 

This year’s sustainability strand includes Henry Firth and Ian Theasby, the duo behind the internet sensation BOSH!, sharing a tastier way to live the vegan life; internationally recognised campaigner and sustainability advisor Tony Juniper, with his  thoughts about life, the planet and the economy; and Green Sheikh Green Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Nuaimi who shows how to make life-style changes which will contribute towards a sustainable future.

There is alsoenvironmentalist and wildlife expert Kate Humble, who will be talking about the power  of walking and her year-long journey on foot;  Miriam Lancewood, with her amazing story of her life in the wilderness, foraging, hunting and being at one with nature; and  Gavin Thurston, who tells of his work as a wildlife cameraman on Sir David Attenborough’s series, Blue Planet II, Planet Earth II and Our Planet.

The Festival’s 2020 targets include:

  • Reduced numbers of printed programmes
  • Preferred Electric/Hybrid transport with partner Careem
  • On-site recycling of aluminium and paper
  • Effective sustainable food waste solutions.
  • Vegetarian and vegan food alternatives for authors and visitors to the Festival.
  • Reusing branding and marketing materials, and repurposing those parts that cannot be reused into bags for 2021
  • Filtered water stations, bring your own refillable containers campaign and only sustainable and reusable bottles available to purchase on site
  • Partnering with Dubai Carbon

The 2019 Festival made significant progress on the path to becoming a single-use-plastic-free event with the water fountain which was installed on site offering free refills of water to all visitors with reusable water bottles. Through these efforts, the nine-day Festival made a CO2 saving of more than 168,000 kg. More than 5,400 litres of water from the water fountain equalled savings of almost 11,000 water bottles, saving more than 145,000 kg.

The Emirates Literature Foundation has a staged implementation programme of environmentally-friendly practices across the organisation including energy-efficient lighting, the installation of solar panels in their offices, upgrading to energy-efficient office equipment, as well as extensive recycling initiatives for paper, plastic, metal, and glass.

The Festival is held with Founding Partners Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated authority for heritage, arts, and culture.

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.

To buy tickets and for the full list of authors, visit http://www.emirateslitfest.com/shop

More information about the Emirates Literature Foundation can be found online and year-round news about #EmiratesLitFest is available on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


For more information, please contact:

NAME Tel: +971 (0)55 [email protected]Rahaf Awad Tel: +971 55 591 0723 [email protected]

Notes to editors:

  1. About the Emirates Literature Foundation:

The Emirates Literature Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation which supports and nurtures a love of literature in the United Arab Emirates and the region, through a programme of varied cultural initiatives.

Established in 2013 by Royal Decree issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Foundation aims to foster a love for literature, with a focus on the Arabic language.

In line with the National Reading Policy of the UAE, the Foundation has implemented several long-term projects including the School Librarian of the Year Award and the annual Arabic Language Week, as well as conducting year-round student education programmes, book clubs and creative writing courses. The Foundation’s previous initiatives included the 2016 Dubai Translation Conference and the 2017 Dubai International Publishing Conference, which hosted a number of international participants.

The Foundation is also the governing body of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, the UAE’s premier literary festival, which will be held 4 – 9 February, 2020.

Emirates Literature Foundation

Dar Al Adaab

Al Shindagha Historical Neighbourhood

PO Box 24506

Dubai, UAE


2. About the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature:

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is the Arab World’s largest celebration of the written and spoken word, featuring international and regional writers, poets, thinkers and speakers from around the world. In 2019 the Festival reached more than 45,000 people through the Festival’s main programme of events  which featured Ahmed AlShugairi, Chris Gardner, Darcey Bussell, Jane Hawking, Saud Alsanousi, Douglas Coupland, Ian Rankin, Jeff Kinney, Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, among many others.

The aim of the Festival is to develop a culture of reading as an enjoyable habit in the UAE, and its efforts have been recognised through many awards over the years. By providing an equal platform for international and locally based talents, the Festival continues to build the literary landscape in the UAE and further afield.

Alongside the main programme, the Festival organises an Education programme, which positively impacted on more than 30,000 students across the UAE in 2019. The programme includes education days, student sessions and author school visits where young people meet and interact with their favourite authors, plus student competitions, held in Arabic and English, which allow young people to showcase their skills through poetry, short stories and reading.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Festival is a key part of the Emirates Literature Foundation, which was established in 2013 by Royal Decree. In partnership with Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated authority for heritage, arts, and culture, the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will be back for 2020.

For information and updates about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature visit the website: www.emirateslitfest.com

3. About Emirates Airline

Emirates Airline is the world’s largest international airline, flying to 158 destinations in 85 countries. Emirates operates 268 aircraft and is the world’s largest operator of the Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 family of aircraft, with pending deliveries for an additional 231 aircraft. The airline’s luxurious amenities, regionally inspired gourmet cuisine, award-winning in-flight entertainment system – ice – and unmatched hospitality provided by its iconic multi-lingual Cabin Crew from over 130 nationalities have made Emirates one of the world’s most recognized airline brands. Emirates has been supporting the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature since 2009, and the event offers an opportunity for the airline to connect with customers in the UAE with a keen interest in literature, and Emirates is committed to  supporting the growing cultural, arts and creative industries in Dubai.

4. About Dubai Culture and Dubai Art Season

The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) was launched on March 8, 2008 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, in order to drive the growth of the city’s artistic and cultural landscape. The Authority has grown to play a major role in the realization of the Dubai Plan 2021, to highlight Dubai as a thriving capital for creative industries and further embed the Emirate’s credentials as a city of happy, creative and empowered people.

As part of its mandate, Dubai Culture has several initiatives that are focused on strengthening both the historic and modern cultural fabric of Dubai, including Dubai Art Season – the city’s premier umbrella arts initiative which kicks off with Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and encompasses Art Week including Art Dubai and SIKKA Art Fair- an annual initiative aimed at promoting Emirati and local artists in the UAE and the wider GCC region, Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre – an annual festival that fosters the art of theatre in the UAE and that celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016, and Dubai Next – a dynamic platform that aims to showcase the Emirate’s cultural ethos and its vibrant creative scene on the global stage.

The Authority’s other key initiatives include Creatopia (www.creatopia.ae) – the nation’s first government empowered virtual community that guides and nurtures the creative culture of the nation and provides a platform of information and opportunities that lead to exposure and personal growth.

Dubai Culture also plays a leading role in support of the UAE National Strategy for Reading 2026, in particular by undertaking a major refurbishment of all Dubai Public Libraries branches to transform them into state-of-art cultural and artistic hubs. Across all of its branches, Dubai Public Library also provides children and young adults with a range of educational and entertaining activities that encourage the use of its facilities. The ‘Our Summer is Filled with Culture & Arts Programme’ is a Dubai Public Library initiative which complements the UAE National Reading Strategy, with its activities open to all age groups, and which revolve around four key themes: happiness, reading, family and the future.

The Authority also manages more than 16 heritage sites across the Emirate, and is a key government stakeholder in the development of the Dubai Historical District. As the custodian Authority of Dubai’s museum sector, Dubai Culture officially launched Etihad Museum in December 2016. The museum provides platform to encourage cultural exchange and to connect Emirati youth with their culture and history. As part of the Authority mandate to support Dubai’s vision of becoming the focal point of diverse cultural exchange (regionally & globally), the museums will play a catalyst role in preserving Emirati Heritage.

For more information on Dubai Culture, visit www.dubaiculture.gov.ae