How can an international dance and theatre festival contribute to the well-being of the planet? Almost ten years ago, FTA embarked on a sustainability journey that started with measuring its impacts. Today, building on our various achievements and the progress we have made, we seek to fulfill our mission in compliance with rigorous environmental ethics, based on the principles of reduction at source, recycling, carbon emission offsetting, and increased stakeholder awareness.
With the support of the Réseau des femmes en environnement and its Conseil québécois des événements écoresponsables, FTA continues to improve its practices with regard to its programming and overall activities, as well as its relationships to the land and citizens.
Our 2022-2026 Action Plan
In January 2022, FTA adopted a new Sustainability Policy and associated Action Plan for the next five years. A sustainability committee formed by members of the FTA team oversees the coordination of its initiatives. These efforts are supported by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and Fonds d’action québécois en développement durable.
The Sustainability Policy is governed by five principles:
Recognizing its responsibility toward the planet and its inhabitants, FTA seeks to reduce the negative impact of its activities and optimize their positive outcomes.
FTA recognizes that its activities are carried out on vulnerable ancestral land, which it has a duty to preserve.
Accessibility and inclusion
FTA seeks to contribute to inclusive arts practices and reach a diverse audience. It is therefore committed to doing all it can to reduce barriers to participation by considering the needs of all audience members.
Art can make significant contributions to the well-being of communities in a variety of ways. FTA aims to support the improvement of creative and production practices in its field of activity, to the full extent of its capabilities.
FTA is committed to encouraging all its stakeholders to adopt behaviours that give more consideration to the planet and its people. In this regard, it actively participates in the sharing of best practices.
Here are some of our current initiatives:
For its 2023 edition, the Festival is proud to have reached the level 3 classification of the BNQ Standard for yet another year! Each edition of the event is classified based on BNQ Standard 9700-253 – Responsible Event Management. FTA therefore reports to the Réseau des femmes en environnement and its Conseil québécois des événements écoresponsables (CQEER) on the following five elements: selection of suppliers; management of materials, water, and energy; waste management; selection of food; and participant and user mobility.
+ Level 3 classification (FTA 2023 + FTA 2022 + FTA 2019 + FTA 2018)
The Festival keeps track of all carbon emissions generated by transportation during the event, including the mobility of its team, guest artists and professionals, and audience members.
At the end of each edition, FTA takes responsibility for an increasingly large share of these emissions by investing in sustainable offsets. In 2022, it contributed $5,500 in total to Planetair’s Québec-Nature and Québec-ÉTS portfolios.
+ 203.37 tonnes of CO2-eq neutralized, for a total of $5,500 invested (FTA 2022)
+ $1,500 provided to Eau secours as carbon offsetting for the Holoscenes show (FTA 2022)
+ 3.1 tonnes of CO2-eq offset, corresponding to our annual digital footprint (FTA 2021)
Click here to view the carbon summary for the 2022 edition.
ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY FUND
Starting in 2023, festivalgoers automatically contribute to carbon offsetting efforts related to FTA’s programming whenever they buy tickets for a show. Specifically, the service fees now include an environmental fee of $0.50 per ticket, which is placed in FTA’s Environmental Sustainability Fund along with direct contributions by the Festival. The amount collected during each edition will be reinvested in carbon offsetting once the event is over.
Festivalgoers’ Carbon Footprint
We encourage audiences to be aware of the environmental footprint associated with attending the Festival and offset their impact by making a nominal individual contribution. To learn more, click here.
Finding artists from around the world and bringing them to Montreal is at the heart of FTA’s mission. This naturally requires multi-modal transportation, which we offset in its entirety. Our artistic team strives to optimize its international travel and favours the use of trains and other forms of public transportation.
During the Festival, preference is given to transporting artists using Téo Taxi, which operates a fleet of electric vehicles. FTA also has a group membership for the Communauto car-sharing service. The entire Festival team is encouraged to use active and public transportation.
+ 87% of festivalergoers and 91% of employees and volunteers used active or public transportation to attend the event (FTA 2022)
+ 4 international companies toured North America following their participation in FTA, thereby optimizing their travel footprint (FTA 2022)
The Festival encourages mindful use of resources on the outdoor sites where it holds activities and in its Quartier général. Recycling bins are installed on site, and compostable, recyclable, and disposable waste is weighed, making it possible to set concrete reduction targets.
Thanks to participation in the Go Zero Event Material and Signage Recycling program, almost all materials are recycled: panels, signs, displays, food containers, COVID masks, ID badges, tape, nails and screws, pencils, etc.
+ 97% of waste diverted from landfill in 2022 (vs. 73% in 2021). Learn more.
With a view to reduction at source, the Festival is careful to limit its purchases and favours local suppliers, especially those who are also committed to sustainable practices. To promote the reuse of material, the Festival rents, lends, and sells a wide variety of equipment to other arts organizations.
+ 90% of equipment used is rented or borrowed (FTA 2022)
+ 88% of suppliers located within 100 km (FTA 2022)
+ 62% of energy used for the event is considered renewable (FTA 2022)
+ 35% of suppliers have made a concrete social commitment (FTA 2022)
COMMUNICATIONS AND WORK AREAS
Each year, the Festival seeks to reduce the quantity of printed materials by diversifying its communication strategies. Our printed materials are certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council). We have significantly decreased the number of photocopies we make. We also reuse or repurpose signage.
Composting bins have been installed on our premises, and we apply the highest waste management standards in our office spaces.
+ 57% reduction in printed copies of official program (FTA 2022 vs. 2020)
+ 100% digital accounting
food choices at QUARTIER GÉNÉRAL
The Festival is proud to offer exclusively vegetarian food, including vegan options.
We support Quebec food producers by offering local, organic, and seasonal dishes. Along with using compostable or reusable dishware and prohibiting the distribution of water bottles, the Festival offers reusable cups for bar service. Surplus food is distributed to the team and to an organization that supports people experiencing homelessness.
+ 100% vegetarian! (FTA 2023)
+ 100% compostable or reusable dishware and utensils (FTA 2023)
+ 50% of food served is recognized or certified as regionally sourced (FTA 2022)
+ 5,000 washes of reusable Ecocups (and approx. 12 kg of plastic waste avoided) (FTA 2022)
The Festival has adopted a digital responsibility policy. It stipulates best practices in terms of using IT equipment and services as well as raising stakeholders’ awareness of digital activities’ environmental impact.
We rent the electronic equipment required for our shows. What’s more, we always try to repair existing office equipment before we considering making new purchases.
+ 36 second-hand laptops acquired since 2020 to facilitate remote work by employees
+ 1,820 hours of streaming offset (FTA 2021)
As a major event in Montreal, FTA is pleased to help develop Quebec’s economy and tourism industry and support the activities of artistic communities.
Programming Canadian companies as part of the Festival has a significant impact in terms of developing their tours and projects and growing their networks. Companies included in the programming, as well as those who perform as sidebars to the main event, keep us informed of the direct benefits to them.
+ 12 co-productions, including one international co-production, for a total investment of $101,000 (FTA 2022)
+ 21 projects from Quebec, Canada, and other countries supported by FTA Respirations for a total of $101,000 injected into the arts sector (FTA 2022)
+ 1,902 nights booked directly by the Festival at four partner hotels, plus bookings by festivalgoers during the event (FTA 2022)
+ $945,925 generated in sales revenues and artist fees (FTA 2022)
+ 188 employees and volunteers hired, along with personnel at our 20 production partners (FTA 2022)
CONTRIBUTING TO THE COMMUNITY
For FTA, the social aspect of sustainability – which is also addressed in our initiatives – is just as essential as the environment. The Festival is proud to have received the Prix Engagement socio-économique in the Les Vivats 2021 competition for sustainable events, as well as being a finalist for the Grand Vivat award.
Actively engaging with high school, college, and university students over the past 30 years, FTA fulfills its duty to introduce the next generation to the arts through access and outreach activities. It also runs dedicated programs aimed at young Indigenous people in Quebec and young international professionals. Visit the Eka shakuelem, Accessibility, and Student Outreach pages to learn more about our engagement in the community.
FTA makes its archives available to academic communities through the Centre de documentation de l’École supérieure de théâtre de l’UQAM (CEDEST) and Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ). Its resources have also been made accessible.
+ 1 show offered with audiodescription
+ 5 relaxed performances (FTA 2023)
+ 80 tickets distributed to Eka shakuelem participants, including members of the Akwesasne, Mashteuiatsh, and Pessamit communities (FTA 2023)
+ 1,000 students participating in FTA Student Excursions (27 schools in 17 Quebec cities) (FTA 2022)
Given that exchanging information is vital to building a more sustainable future, FTA aims to be a leader in promoting best practices among the performing arts and events communities.
+ 1 theme day devoted to decolonial ecologies (FTA 2023) and 1 professional encounter on “Travelling, Collaborating, Surviving: Theatre and the Climate Catastrophe”
+ 3 shows addressing sustainability issues (FTA 2023)
+ 87 signatories of the Festivalgoers’ Sustainability Guide (FTA 2022)
There are countless ways to take part in FTA in a sustainable manner. Discover our best practices here.
+ Kit on sustainable dance practices (in French) | Regroupement québécois de la danse: https://www.quebecdanse.org/ressources/trousse-pratiques-ecoresponsables-danse/
+ Resources related to sustainability and the performing arts: https://repere-arts.ca/
+ Tools for a sustainable development approach (in French): https://www.environnement.gouv.qc.ca/developpement/outils/
+ List of suppliers (in French) | CQEER: https://evenementecoresponsable.com/search/type/fournisseur
+ Culture and the green shift (in French) | Culture Montréal: https://culturemontreal.ca/grands-dossiers/transition-ecologique/
+ Blog | Ecoscéno: https://ecosceno.org/en/blog/
+ Planning an eco-friendly stay | Tourisme Montréal: https://www.mtl.org/en/experience/eco-friendly-stay
+ Sustainability glossary | Ecostage: https://ecostage.online/glossary-1/
+ Resources related to the digital green shift | Shift Project: https://theshiftproject.org/en/home/
+ Mobile app – sustainable digital consumption | Ecoist Club: https://ecoistclub.com/en/
+ Various study guides | Creative Green: https://www.cgtoolscanada.org/studyguides/
+ ACT – Artist Citizens on Tour: http://www.act-tour.org/english.html
+ Various guides | CQEER: https://evenementecoresponsable.com/en/guides-and-resources/