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Edinburgh International Festival follows Tate and ends BP sponsorship deal

Environmental campaigners have said they will turn their attentions to other arts institutions that receive fossil fuel sponsorship. Photo: Julius Kielaitis/Shutterstock
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The Edinburgh International Festival will no longer be sponsored by oil and gas giant BP, bringing an end to a 34-year relationship.

The move comes weeks after environmental campaigners pledged to focus on performing arts organisations in receipt of money from fossil fuel companies as a response to the news that the Tate will drop BP as a sponsor.

The end of EIF’s partnership with BP has been hailed by campaigners as proof that sponsorship of the arts by fossil fuel companies is becoming untenable.

A statement from EIF confirmed that the 2016 festival, which takes place in August, will not be supported by BP but that the organisation was grateful for the company’s long-term support.

In March, BP said it did not have any plans to exit any other of its arts partnerships beside Tate, however it has now claimed that the difficult decision to end sponsorship of EIF was a result of an “extremely challenging business environment” and reductions in spending.

“We are delighted to have supported the Edinburgh International Festival for a number of years. However, as a result of the current business environment, we have reluctantly decided not to renew our very modest sponsorship this year. We wish the festival all the best in its preparations,” a spokesman for BP added.

Anna Galkina, from arts activists Platform, welcomed the decision.

She said: “With Tate and Edinburgh [International] Festival deals ending, it’s clear that buying public trust from cultural institutions is becoming untenable for BP. The British Museum and other oil-sponsored institutions are behind the times.”

Other arts organisations that receive funding from fossil fuel companies include the Royal Opera House, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Hull UK City of Culture 2017 Initiative. Meanwhile, Shell is listed as one of the National Theatre’s corporate sponsors.

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