Borders Book Festival are to cut ties to Baillie Gifford sponsorship

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Borders Book Festival has ended its partnership with investment management company Baillie Gifford amid pressure from climate activists.

The move follows a similar decision by the Hay Festival in Wales after activists criticised the firm’s alleged links with the fossil fuels industry and Israel.

And the Edinburgh International Book Festival has ended its 20-year partnership with the company amid “intolerable pressure” from protestors.

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All eyes turned to the Borders Book Festival, which, up until this week, remained silent on its partnership .

The directors of Borders Book Festival released a statement.The directors of Borders Book Festival released a statement.
The directors of Borders Book Festival released a statement.

When pressed by the Southern Reporter today, directors of Borders Book Festival announced that after 2024, the festival will no longer be sponsored by Baillie Gifford, following protests around their sponsorship.

Borders Book Festival Directors Alistair Moffat, Paula Ogilvie and Chairman Michael Moore issued this statement: “We took this decision with great regret because we have enjoyed eight happy and productive years working together to make our festival better, more accessible and in particular more attractive to children and families.

"Without the support of Baillie Gifford we would not have been able to mount such a vibrant and varied children’s festival (where adults go free) and do all that we do with schools in the Borders. Baillie Gifford’s support has enabled us to put free books into the hands of thousands of children, and that aspect of their support will be sorely missed.

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“We wish to put on record our thanks to the company for their solid and passionate support not only for our festival, its authors and audiences, but for all the book festivals across Britain who have benefitted from Baillie Gifford’s commitment to the world of books and readers.

A local artist and writer in the Borders launched a petition to ask Borders Book Festival to cease their relationship with the company.

The protestor said: “Baillie Gifford’s does not deserve the good press that supporting the Borders Book Festival gives them, and the Scottish Borders doesn't deserve the association with businesses that are invested in fossil fuels and genocide.”

The organiser of the petition accepts that funding is always difficult to secure in the arts, but maintains that a smaller book festival or no book festival is preferable to one paid for by the destruction of lives and our planet.