Holyrood COP26 Fringe Festival

Holyrood’s COP26 Fringe Festival took place over 4 days, exploring a different climate-based theme each day. With 12 panel session and 39 speakers confirmed, the Fringe Festival was a place for people to meet, discuss ideas and share best practice.  Watch on demand now for free.

David Speirs Headshot
David Speirs MP
Government of South Australia
Cindy Venho Headshot
Cindy Venho
Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Màiri McAllan MSP
Scottish Government
Gov David Ige Headshot
Governor David Ige
State of Hawaii (Under 2 Coalition Member)
Gillian Docherty Headshot
Gillian Docherty OBE
The Data Lab
Philippa Vigano Headshot
Philippa Vigano
Beverley Gower Jones Headshot
Beverley Gower-Jones
Clean Growth Fund
Madeleine Gabriel
Vida Han Headshot
Vida Han
Force of Nature
Collette Stevenson MSP Headshot
Collette Stevenson MSP
Meghan Gallacher MSP Headshot
Meghan Gallacher MSP
Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee | Motherwell West
Matthew Kennedy Headshot
Matt Kennedy
Georgia Yexley
Andrew Learmonth Headshot
Andrew Learmonth
Holyrood Communications
Marsha Smith Headshot
Marsha Smith
IKEA UK and Ireland
Viana Maya Headshot
Viana Maya
Wouter van Tol headshot
Wouter van Tol
DS Smith
Peter Clutton-Brock
Centre for AI & Climate
Jeremy Darot
Scottish Government
Gwilym Gibbons Headshot
Gwilym Gibbons
The Crichton Trust
Professor Sir Geoff Palmer Headshot
Prof. Sir Geoff Palmer
Heriot-Watt University
Bruce Adamson
Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland
Maria Nazarova-Doyle Headshot
Maria Nazarova-Doyle
Scottish Widows
Annie Shepperd Headshot
Annie Shepperd OBE
Salix Finance
Eileen Stuart Headshot
Eileen Stuart
Muhammad Imran Headshot
Dr Muhammad Ali Imran
University of Glasgow
Abi Gardner Headshot
Abi Gardner
NatureScot | Climate 2050 Group
Hannah Clark Headshot
Hannah Clark
2050 Climate Group
Frances Guy Headshot
Frances Guy
Scotland's International Development Alliance
Ailsa Raeburn Headshot
Ailsa Raeburn
Community Land Scotland
Professor Deborah Roberts Headshot
Prof. Deborah Roberts
James Hutton Institute
Dr Emma Woodham Headshot
Dr Emma Woodham
Glasgow Science Centre
Ingvild Solvang Headshot
Ingvild Solvang
Global Green Growth Institute
Frank Rijsberman
Frank Rijsberman
Global Green Growth Institute
Leads the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) in supporting governments transition towards a model of economic growth that is environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive.
Adam Lang Headshot
Adam Lang
Nesta Scotland
Joe Franses Headshot
Joe Franses
Coca-Cola Europacific Partners
Cornell Hanxomphou Headshot
Cornell Hanxomphou
CEMVO Scotland
Lolita Jackson Headshot
Lolita Jackson MBE
Sustainable Development Capital LLC (SDCL)
Chris Stark Headshot
Chris Stark
Committee on Climate Change
Oliver Greenfield Headshot
Oliver Greenfield
Green Economy Coalition
Paul Coffey
Scotland 5G Centre
Grant Ervin
City of Pittsburgh
Dr Scott Steedman
Cllr. Ricky Bell
Glasgow City Council
Marc Strathie
Mandy Rhodes
Holyrood Communications
Ivan McKee Headshot
Ivan McKee MSP
Scottish Parliament
As well as being a politician, Ivan's career has involved a number of senior roles in manufacturing and business; managing companies in the UK as well as Poland, Finland, Croatia and Bosnia.
Prof. James Curran MBE FRSE
Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Strathclyde
Hamish Trench
Scottish Land Commission   
Iain Stewart MP
Iain Stewart MP
UK Government
Iain Stewart was appointed as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Scotland Office on 2 June 2020. He was a Government Whip (Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury) from 2019 to 2020.

Climate change is a social as well as ecological crisis. Women and girls often bear the brunt of the damage wrought by climate change, with the UN estimating over 80% of those displaced by climate change are female. Meanwhile women are too often locked out of the policy-making process with men making up 70% of climate negotiators worldwide. 

Despite this there are fantastic examples of women both in Scotland and around the world acting as agents of change, providing innovative solutions to the climate emergency.

So how can we unlock the potential of women and girls across Scotland and the rest of the world, empowering them to take a leading role in reversing climate change?

This is the last generation of young people who can have a meaningful effect to mitigate and reverse the effects of climate change and the next are the generation who will live in the world they inherit from us.

It is therefore imperative that we ensure that we have a forum by which young people can contribute to our discussions as the biggest stakeholder of all with a vested interest in positive outcomes for the planet from COP26 to tackle the climate emergency.

People of colour are more likely to be affected by the climate crisis, but with a continued lack of representation they are still often erased from conversations on potential solutions. With climate activism historically perceived as a white, middle class conversation, we want to shine a light on the work of inspirational BAME people working to achieve climate justice. This session will give a platform to BAME climate experts, activists, and campaigners. We will explore their work and its impact; why BAME voices have been ignored in climate conversations and the harm this is causing and how we can improve representation and ensure BAME people have a seat at the table.

Scotland is well placed to capitalise on the emerging climate tech industry based on its highly successful energy and technology sectors. There are already numerous examples of Scottish climate tech businesses who are developing innovative approaches to reducing emissions both at home and abroad. How can Scotland build on these green shoots and scale up its climate sector? What is required in terms of financing and the skills pipeline to allow these businesses to grow and play an even greater role in tackling the climate emergency.

As we have seen above there are several ways technology can help tackle the climate emergency, including AI and the cloud. Yet they are currently all hampered by a lack of adequate connectivity.

5G has the potential to solve the connectivity problem and unleash the potential of technology as a solution to the climate emergency. 

However, 5G is still only available in some parts of Scotland. 

In this session we would discuss how Scotland can speed up the deployment and adoption of 5G as well as spotlighting early examples of 5G enabled projects that have helped tackle the climate emergency.

AI has the potential to play a significant role in Scotland’s efforts to tackle the climate emergency. Data-driven innovation can be used to develop new, cleaner, and more efficient approaches across energy, transport, and land use.  

For instance: 

• AI to facilitate indoor farming and reduce agricultural emissions 

• An AI driven map of Scotland’s natural capital developed for NatureScot 

• AI led analysis of patterns of waste across the globe drawing on governments, waste producers and recyclers 

• AI supporting the development of a Hydrogen production plant in Orkney 

• In this session we would examine existing case studies from across Scotland and discuss challenges and opportunities for expanding the role of AI in Scotland’s efforts to tackle the climate emergency 

Scotland’s land produces the food we eat; renewable power we use to heat our homes and timber and space to build our communities.  It is the basis of the ecosystems we all rely on for air and water and is a vital part of our natural capital – an asset that underpins our entire economy and will be of increasing importance towards 2045 and beyond.  Furthermore, only by taking care of our land can be protect and increase our biodiversity crisis and solve both the climate and nature emergencies.

The Scottish Government has recently published their Third Land Use Strategy with three key objectives: to drive a green recovery with land use at the basis of that and to continue to drive a diverse pattern of ownership and take a holistic systems approach to use and management that broadens the range of interests engaging in debate about the often competing priorities in land use, thus democratizing the debate and further democratizing our use of land to the benefit of people and planet.

Join us for this exemplar discussion in what can be learned from the latest developments in Scotland’s approach to land use.

The twin crises of climate and nature are inextricably linked as the change in the former is a driver the decline of the latter and the situation is alarming  In 2019, both the biggest ever health check in the state of global ecosystems, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and our own State of Nature for Scotland report concluded that biodiversity is declining faster than at any time in human history and an unprecedented number of species are at risk of extinction. It is incumbent upon all of society to take action now to avert further loss of biodiversity and further climate change. 


The transition to a circular economy is one of the single most transformative things we can do as a society to halt biodiversity loss, as well as tackle climate change and pollution.  Relying on a clean energy transition will only take us so far as it will address 55% of greenhouse gas emissions.  The rest of the heavy lifting must be done by widespread cultural and behavioural changes, including waste management.


This discussion will highlight the plight of the natural environment, bring the issue of biodiversity to the fore and discuss how adoption of the principles of circularity and regeneration across society and business can be part of the solution in the restoration of nature to the benefit of us all. 

One of the key positive opportunities afforded by the COVID-19 pandemic is it created the space for governments and city authorities around the world the opportunity to pilot ways alternative approaches to city management and to lock-in positive behaviour amongst their citizenry with public and active transport solutions and re-envisioned public spaces at the heart of this. 

In Scotland, this has manifested itself in dynamic strategic policy objectives at a devolved level such as the Scottish Government’s pioneering plan to create 20-minute neighbourhoods and recent pledge to spend 10% of their transport budget (£320m) on active travel. 

Innovation, ambition and public/private collaboration - particularly in the realm of transport, which is responsible for 36% of greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland - is integral not only to optimising, the potential to decarbonise cities, but to create more liveable, sustainable and resilient urban spaces conducive to low-carbon living. 

While nation-states set ambitions and set targets, with 80% of the global population living in cities, it’s clear that a lot of the tangible action will fall on cities to deliver. In this session, we will focus on interesting and innovative approaches to sustainable city management in pursuit of net-zero.

This Must be the Place is a creative expression of shared visions of what life might be like in a sustainable future Scotland. It is an invitation to everyone to imagine the place we want Scotland to be and how we want to live when we get there.

The challenge of the climate emergency is universal. It gives us the opportunity to build comprehensive partnerships - at a community, local, national and international level.
We need state and regional governments to set net-zero targets and follow through with action. To succeed will mean mobilising and connecting people, communities, organisations and governments to experiment and innovate, and to design and test the radical policies that are needed to help us live better, as well as sustainably.

Through the Net Zero Futures project, in partnership with the Scottish Government and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Under2 Coalition is connecting its members with existing net zero targets with states and regions interested in increasing their ambition.

Nesta is the UK’s innovation foundation and has set a 10-year mission to help decarbonise the UK through social innovation.

Join the Under2 Coalition and Nesta for a discussion on how partnerships between state governments, regional authorities, organisations and communities can help us reach our net zero targets in a way that works for both people and planet.

With our world-leading emissions-reduction and air quality targets and our pioneering plans to deliver net-zero through a 'Just Transition', Scotland can claim to be a global exemplar in net-zero solutions and climate adaptation.

However, if we are to meet the urgency of the moment, if Scotland is to truly mount a response worthy of the emergency we were one of the first governments in the world to declare, then the time for deliberation is over. To meet its statutory interim target of reducing emissions by 75% by 2030 (the equivalent for the UK is 78% reduction by 2035), Scotland must spend the next decade focused on practical solutions and delivery.

Join Holyrood and Salix Finance, who are at the forefront of leading the delivery of a progressive and transformative net-zero transition in Scotland, as we host a net-zero discussion outlining some best practice emanating from Scotland. We will discuss Scotland's role as a credibly aspiring global net-zero leader, the scope of future global challenges and how Scotland can help meet them, and how Scotland can be part of a global solution to promote strong, inclusive and sustainable economic growth for all.

As the largest employer and one of the fastest-growing sectors in Scotland with an ambition to double turnover by 2030, the food and drink sector has a clear and special responsibility to exhibit leadership and best practice in tackling the climate emergency. 

Collaboration, diversity and quality have been drivers of the industry’s success over the last decade and owing to the scale of the challenge, will be key for driving the sector – and Scotland’s transition -to achieving science-based net-zero targets.

Join us in partnership with Coca-Cola as we discuss how the food and drink sector can be at the heart of a green recovery from the pandemic, precipitating sustainable growth to achieve the goals set out in Ambition 2030 for the sector; how we ensure waste is minimized as we transition to a circular economy and be an exemplar of a just transition in Scotland.


An industrial venue steeped in history and located in a prime city centre location, Platform comprises of a series of adjoining arches and is part of the substructure of Glasgow’s Central Railway Station. The venue has been sympathetically refurbished with architectural lighting enhancing the exposed brick vaulted ceilings. There is no other venue like it.

Access to the COP26 Blue and Green Zones via train is from Central Station, making Platform the ideal venue for Holyood's COP26 Fringe Festival.

Sustainability credentials (Platform aspires to be the greenest venue in Glasgow)
• Accredited with Bronze Green Tourism Award.
• LED lighting and recycled Industrial shades – with sensors for most lights.
• All waste is streamed food/glass/ paper & card/ general waste.
• Reduced usage and waste across all aspects of the toilets.
• No plastic bottle products in the bar and use of vegware/paper straws and crockery across
the venue catering. Elimination of single food plastic from outside catering.
• Installation of new boilers on the Energy Technology List to reduce gas usage.

    Event Details