Fossil Free Books

We're organising as workers for a books industry free from fossil fuels and fossil fuel finance.

Whether you're an author, editor, agent, production editor, publicist, librarian, designer, proofreader, copy editor, bookseller or festival staff — we invite you to organise with us.

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We speak as workers in the literary industry, and make this call in the spirit of a Just Transition that protects the jobs and livelihoods of all workers.

We unite in solidarity with the millions of people in the Global South who have lost homes, livelihoods, and loved ones as a result of climate change; the people in the UK affected by flooding, air pollution, and heat waves; and with the countless non-human species being driven to extinction.

Our current campaigns

BREAKING: Scottish arts sponsor revealed to hold £61m in arms company linked to Israeli genocide

We’re calling on Baillie Gifford to divest from the fossil fuel industry and all companies involved in Israeli occupation, apartheid and genocide.

To keep global warming below the critical 1.5°C – and so secure a liveable future – investment in new oil, coal, and gas projects must stop immediately.[1]

Baillie Gifford currently has up to £5bn invested in the fossil fuel industry,[2] including the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC)[3] and Petrobras.[4]

CNOOC is a shareholder in the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, which is already displacing people from their homes in Uganda and, if it goes ahead, will be the world's largest heated crude oil pipeline.[5] Petrobras is one of the top ten companies for projected fossil fuel development and exploration this decade.[6] These investments are funding destruction and harm in very real terms.

We've just renewed our call for Baillie Gifford to divest from the fossil fuel industry and from companies that profit from Israeli apartheid, occupation and genocide. Read our updated open letter, signed by 800 members (and counting) of the literary community.

This follows our campaign in August 2023, at the start of the Edinburgh International Books Festival, where hundreds of authors came together to ask Baillie Gifford to divest from fossil fuels.

Now, as Fossil Free Books, we are urging all UK literature festivals currently receiving sponsorship from Baillie Gifford to call on Baillie Gifford to divest.

Please join our campaign and sign our open letter. We need writers, editors, publishers, agents, festival staff – and everyone else across the literary community – to band together.

  1. To keep global warming to no more than 1.5°C, carbon emissions need to reach Net Zero by 2050 (United Nations); and we can only achieve Net Zero by 2050 if there are no new investments in oil, gas, or coal (International Energy Agency, 2021).
  2. An estimation based on Baillie Gifford's TCFD Climate Report (31 Dec 2022), which states their investments in companies which make more than 5% of their revenues from oil, gas and thermal coal mining and sale activities (p23, Baillie Gifford & Co TCFD-aligned Climate Report, 2022).
  3. p8, Baillie Gifford Asia ex Japan Quarterly Update, 31 December 2023.
  4. p7, Baillie Gifford's Emerging Markets ex China Quarterly Update, 30 June 2023.
  5. For information about the impacts of the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) on people, ecology and carbon emissions see the Stop EACOP website.
  6. According to this report by Global Witness.

Our comment on EIBF dropping Baillie Gifford

Hay Festival suspends sponsorship from Baillie Gifford

Society of Authors resolutions

The Society of Authors – the trade union for writers – granted our request for an Extraordinary General meeting (EGM) on 2nd May to vote on two resolutions.

The first resolution called for fossil fuel divestment from financial institutions that have partnerships with the literary sector. The second resolution called for a ceasefire and an end to the genocide in Gaza.

We brought these two motions together because cross-movement solidarity makes us stronger and because climate justice and freedom for Palestine are intertwined.

Read the resolutions and FAQs document.

Members voted 1,480 to 251 in favour of the divestment motion, and in doing so, cast a historic vote for industry-wide divestment from fossil fuels.

The second resolution was voted against by 883 to 786 votes.

We are disappointed that our trade union still refuses to: condemn the genocide in Gaza, support a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, or express solidarity with Palestinian writers and publishing workers here in the UK who face job loss and censorship for speaking out.

But – whatever the outcome of the vote – this was always just the start. Hundreds of workers from all parts of the books industry came together to organise for this vote. We know a books industry that is genocide and fossil free is possible.

Read our full statement.

Join a union!

Joining a collective helps you to organise more powerfully with others, to make a meaningful change in the books industry.

From the civil rights movements to the Hollywood writers' strike, history shows us that bosses only negotiate when all workers unite. Why? Because these corporations rely on our labour to make a profit. When we are united, we are powerful.

Joining a trade union allows you to organise with other workers in the literary industries to make change happen. Here are some unions (or collectives) we recommend joining.

You can also use the Union Finder tool on the Trades Union Congress website to find your best match.

Authors and translators:
Society of Authors

Editors, publicists, designers:
National Union of Journalists
Unite the Union

Association of Authors' Agents

Public library workers:

Academic library workers:
University and College Union

Unite the Union
GMB Union