Sustainability is not only reflected in the artistic programme but also in the ecologically sound operation of the festival. Since 2008, with the support of Swiss Re and Zürcher Kantonalbank, we have continuously implemented various measures in order to improve the festival's eco-balance and to reduce CO2 emissions.
For years, the festival has adhered to the suggestions of the Zürcher Kantonalbank for the ecologically and socially sound organisation of events. The policy paper is integrated in the contracts with the gastronomic establishments on the festival site.
Code of practice of the Zürcher Kantonalbank (in German only)
According to surveys of utility companies, lighting represents the greatest potential for saving energy. Retrofitting the entire festival illumination with LED lights has considerably reduced our electricity costs. Investing in more expensive technologies pays off as the consumption is reduced by 90% and the durability of the lamps is extended by far.
Despite the higher cost, the festival is powered by solar electricity. A part of the additional costs are absorbed by the gastronomic establishments.
Wherever possible we try to avoid waste production. Where this is not possible, the waste is disposed separately. Thanks to the disposal containers on the festival site, which facilitate the waste separation for guests and gastronomic services, we have been able to collect between 6 and 7 tons of biomass in the past years.
The biogenic waste is fermented in a plant of Axpo Kompogas AG in Otelfingen near Zurich. The biogas produced is converted into carbon-neutral electricity or used for heat production or green fuel. The fermented residue is used as certified biological fertilizer. Fermentation is one of the most ecological friendly recycling methods of biogenic waste as it produces considerably less CO₂ and has a higher energy efficiency compared to composting. The fossil synthetic material collected is processed by the company Plastoil and the oil produced replaces fossil energy in various ways.
With various on site measures we try to reduce the CO₂ emission of the festival: This includes parking for 500 bicycles, a commuter boat sponsored by the Zürcher Kantonalbank, theatre tickets that are also valid for public transport and extensive information on the ample connectivity of the festival site to public transport.
When designing and planning of new venues and infrastructures care is taken to ensure that preferably recyclable materials are used and that the various buildings can be dismantled, stored and used for several years. Latest examples of this approach are the Pavillon, which opened in 2016, and the entrance area, which has welcomed our guests since 2017.