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When the arts world goes green

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Financial Times or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: The Edinburgh International Book Festival has come under scrutiny as climate activist Greta Thunberg canceled her appearance, accusing the festival's lead sponsor, Baillie Gifford, of using its arts support to "greenwash" its reputation
• Fifty authors, including notable writers such as Zadie Smith and Jessie Burton, have demanded a change of sponsor, citing Baillie Gifford's investment in companies related to the oil and gas industry

🔭 The context: The conflict stems from the fact that 2% of Baillie Gifford's total investments are in companies that derive at least 5% of their profits from oil and gas
• Some see this as the investment giant's way of glossing over its role in greenhouse emissions 
However, the company's share in such businesses is reportedly beneath the average for its peers, and it has also stated that 5% of its client funds are invested in clean energy development

🌎 Why does it matter for the planet: This issue reflects a broader debate about the ethics of sponsorship in the arts world, especially concerning investments that might be connected to climate change

⏭️ What's next: The decision by some authors to take a stand could influence how festivals and artists approach sponsorship in the future, possibly affecting the entire literary scene

💬 One quote: " they should consider whether that argument will result in the arts world burning itself up in its own piety — and doing nothing to meaningfully help the cause of net zero either” (Sir Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum in London)

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