Every visitor to the Verbier Festival—whether they be an Academy student, international star of the concert stage, or eager member of the music-loving public—is each year presented a precious gift: time spent in the spectacular alpine village of Verbier. Discover steps we’re taking to make the Festival as sustainable as possible, as well as how we’re inspiring environmentally friendly choices amongst Festival participants.
Travel represents the largest source of negative emissions, and it’s therefore the main focus of our ‘green’ actions.
Coming to Verbier
- Inspiring our musicians and staff that are coming from neighbouring countries to take the train to Switzerland instead of flying
- Making public transport the norm, and taxis the exception: inspiring our conductors and soloists to ask to take the train from Geneva or Zurich airports instead of a taxi
- Taking the train instead of bus: on orchestral arrival day, we will change the form of transport from bus to train, thereby reducing our emissions, and inspiring the musicians to use public transport
Getting Around Verbier
- Campaigns to inspire Festivalgoers to walk, use public transport or hire an electric bike instead of using a car
Over the last three years we have drastically reduced the number of plastic bottles we buy and give out. Instead, we:
- Provide refillable metal bottles to all performers and staff when they arrive in Verbier
- Install two water fountains backstage in our main venue, Salle des Combins
- Provide refillable bottles onstage
Making recycling visible and easy:
- We make recycling areas simple to use and visible in all backstage areas
- For all participants for whom we organise housing, we inform them about the recycling requirements in Verbier
Print brochures, programmes, etc.
- We encourage the public to take as few printed materials as possible (just one programme per person)
- Our ticket brochure and programmes are printed on recycled paper
- We are continually looking at ways to reduce or streamline printed materials
- Improving our digital communication to make it easier for Festivalgoers to find all information they need online
- Tickets may be presented via smartphones, thereby reducing paper
supporting local businesses
- When provided at concert venues, refreshments are sourced from local businesses
- We try, where possible, to source materials and equipment (such as Festival T-shirts, instrument hire, printed materials) locally, thereby reducing transport emissions as well as supporting the local economy
- Between editions of the Festival, Salle des Combins, our principal performance venue, is deconstructed and stored nearby in the town of Martigny
green coffee corner
At École de la Comba—our primary rehearsal venue—we operate a coffee corner running on an ‘honesty box system’, encouraging people serve themselves and contribute to cover the costs. All profits support environmental charities.
guide to a green festival
Each Festival artist, student, staff member and volunteer receives a digital document with ideas of how to make their Verbier Festival experience ‘greener’. The document covers topics including: the advantages of walking around Verbier instead of driving; why it’s important to try and buy food produced locally and in season; how to reduce our digital footprint during the Festival, and many others.
awareness about meat consumption
We provide a canteen for our Academy students, and as part of an initiative to raise awareness about the need to reduce our consumption of meat (one of the main ways we can reduce our footprint), we:
- organise a Vegetarian Day during the Festival, the idea being to inspire all staff and students to try to just eat vegetarian food for one day. It’s a fun day where people cook for each other and eat together;
- run a free vegan breakfast on one weekend during the Festival. It’s an interactive experience where participants find out how they can have a protein rich breakfast with only plant-based foods.
powering the festival
- we have switched the energy provider for our offices to a renewable source, and we are working on doing the same for the power used during the Festival;
- on-stage: we’re looking into changing our on-stage lighting to LED, thereby greatly reducing the electricity consumption of our performances.
auditions and tours
For the annual VFO and VFJO live auditions we hold in the winter months, each applicant is asked to fill in a questionnaire about their travel to the audition. It is made clear that this doesn’t have any impact on their application. The idea is for us to inspire more thought about the decisions each of us make regarding our travel, and to calculate the carbon footprint of our live auditions, and how we can reduce it.
During orchestral tours we strive to make, and inspire our musicians to do likewise, more environmentally friendly decisions. For example, we:
- try to organise train or bus travel instead of flying;
- choose hotels which are acting sustainably.
in the office
We know that for our Festival impact to reduce as much as possible, we need the whole team onboard. Changes must start ‘in the home’ (our office!). Therefore we:
- send a monthly email to our staff, raising awareness about one issue of sustainability, and giving one idea of how we can address it;
- have installed a recycling system in the kitchen;
- switched our coffee source to a non-capsule source;
- made our terrace into a ‘living space’, with many native plants;
- encourage staff to turn their heating down as well as turn off all electrical devices (much energy is lost with devices on standby mode) when they leave the office.