Baillie Gifford cancels all remaining sponsorships of literary festivals

Trending 1 week ago

Baillie Gifford has cancelled each of its remaining sponsorship deals pinch literate festivals aft protests complete its links to Israel and fossil substance companies.

The finance guidance patient refused to corroborate that it had taken nan decision, but nan Guardian has heard from Cambridge, Stratford, Wigtown and Henley literate festivals that nan institution had decided not to proceed its business pinch them.

Cheltenham literate festival, which announced nan extremity of its partnership pinch Baillie Gifford connected Wednesday, besides indicated that nan determination had travel from Baillie Gifford.

The Borders book show announced this week that it had decided to extremity Baillie Gifford’s sponsorship aft this year’s event. Wimbledon BookFest has confirmed that its sponsorship from nan patient will beryllium ending aft 8 years, but it did not disclose whether nan determination came from show organisers aliases Baillie Gifford.

The move comes aft mounting unit from nan run group Fossil Free Books (FFB), which has called connected nan institution to cease its investments successful nan fossil substance manufacture and besides demanded it divest from companies linked to Israel, arsenic it believes “solidarity pinch Palestine and ambiance justness are inextricably linked”.

Last month, nan Hay show organisers took nan determination themselves to end Baillie Gifford’s sponsorship, while nan Edinburgh world show organisers and nan plus head “collectively agreed” to terminate theirs.

While this intends that nan institution nary longer sponsors immoderate literate festivals, it remains nan sponsor of nan UK’s astir prestigious prize for nonfiction, nan Baillie Gifford prize.

“The Baillie Gifford prize for nonfiction has happily collaborated pinch Baillie Gifford since 2016,” a spokesperson from nan prize said. “We person ever recovered them to beryllium collaborative, generous and transparent astir their investments. They are contracted to sponsor nan prize until nan extremity of 2025 and we are afloat committed to that relationship.”

Last month, more than 700 writers and publishing manufacture professionals signed an unfastened missive organised by FFB, calling connected Baillie Gifford to divest from fossil fuels and cease its links to Israel.

FFB said successful a statement: “Over nan past 18 months, investigation by aggregate quality authorities NGOs has shown that Baillie Gifford holds investments worthy billions successful fossil substance companies and companies pinch links to Israeli occupation, apartheid and genocide.

“Our investigation into Baillie Gifford’s investments is ongoing and we expect to merchandise much news regarding nan firm’s problematic investments successful nan coming days.”

The run group added that while it was “encouraged that an institution pinch specified problematic investments will nary longer play a domiciled successful nan UK literate scene”, its “primary request has ever been for Baillie Gifford to divest”.

“FFB will proceed to organise – alongside nan wider divestment activity – until Baillie Gifford lives up to its declare to beryllium a ‘responsible investor’ by divesting from fossil fuels and companies associated pinch quality authorities abuses,” nan connection said.

The Hay show was nan first to propulsion retired of its sponsorship woody pinch nan firm, aft a number of those scheduled to look astatine nan 2024 event, including nan Labour MP Dawn Butler, nan vocalist Charlotte Church and nan comedian Nish Kumar pulled retired successful solidarity pinch FFB. Two days into nan festival, Hay announced its determination to retreat from nan sponsorship deal.

skip past newsletter promotion

“Our first privilege is to our assemblage and our artists,” Hay’s main executive, Julie Finch, said astatine nan time. “Above each else, we must sphere nan state of our stages and spaces for unfastened statement and discussion, wherever audiences tin perceive a scope of perspectives.”

The Edinburgh world show announced its determination nan week after, pinch Jenny Niven, nan book festival’s director, saying it had been taken “with awesome regret” and owed to “intolerable” unit connected her team, alternatively than retired of statement pinch FFB’s stance. She said she did not judge “undermining nan semipermanent early of charitable organisations” was “the correct measurement to bring astir change”.

Baillie Gifford has not commented connected immoderate of nan sponsorship withdrawals since Edinburgh’s, erstwhile Nick Thomas, a partner astatine Baillie Gifford, said nan firm’s sponsorship of nan festival, which had been successful spot since 2004, “was rooted successful our shared liking successful making Edinburgh a thriving and culturally vibrant spot to unrecorded and work”.

“We clasp nan activists squarely responsible for nan inhibiting effect their action will person connected backing for nan arts successful this country,” Thomas added.

“The assertion that we person important amounts of money successful nan occupied Palestinian territories is offensively misleading. Baillie Gifford is simply a ample investor successful respective multinational exertion companies, including Amazon, Nvidia and Meta. Demanding divestment from these world companies, utilized by millions of group astir nan world, is unreasonable and serves nary purpose. Much arsenic it would beryllium unreasonable to request authors boycott Instagram aliases extremity trading books connected Amazon.”

Baillie Gifford was besides not a “significant fossil substance investor”, Thomas said. “Only 2% of our clients’ money is invested successful companies pinch immoderate business related to fossil fuels. We put acold much successful companies helping thrust nan modulation to cleanable energy.”

Source theguardian