Sustainability at Vivid Sydney

Hika Rakuyo
Hika Rakuyo

Vivid Sydney – Humanity

As the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest festival of light, music, ideas and food, Vivid Sydney aims to lead the way in sustainability. Championing creativity, innovation and cutting-edge applications of technology doesn’t end with our program but influences all elements of the festival including operations, environmental impact, marketing and many other areas.

To produce our festival, we engage an entire ecosystem of local and international businesses, artists and visitors. Each year, we aim to work collaboratively to embed sustainable practices across all levels of Vivid Sydney – and encourage positive behaviours and practices that resonate long after the lights are switched off.

Our goals:

  1. Become climate positive and regenerate resources where possible, while growing Vivid Sydney.
  2. Create a positive social impact for everyone across all levels of Vivid Sydney.
  3. Continue collecting data on Vivid Sydney’s environmental impact to enable us to move forward smarter and greener each year.
10 sustainability wins from Vivid Sydney 2023

1. Offsetting more carbon 

Partnering with Huddle Agency, Vivid Sydney is in the process of offsetting 269,488kWh of electricity. This initiative involves supporting a carbon offset project based in NSW, registered under the Emissions Reduction Fund project register. The electricity offset will cover the entire 23 nights of the festival, equivalent to the daily consumption of 313 Sydney households with an average of 2.5 people each.

2. More renewable energy use 

86% of Vivid Sydney’s lighting installations used LED, significantly reducing the total energy consumption over the festival period.

3. Flying green 

All directly produced flights for Vivid Sydney’s front-line artists on the Vivid Ideas and Vivid Music line-up were offset in partnership with The Huddle Agency.

4. Flushing smarter 

By using 6-Star WELS-Certified Water Efficient Vacuum Toilets along the Light Walk, we saved 4,567,500lt of water with the cabins only using 0.35lt per flush.

5. Reducing plastic landfill 

In partnership with Sydney Water, Vivid Sydney installed taps across the festival footprint to offer places to fill up water bottles. 20,575lt of water were consumed, preventing 34,290 bottles of 600ml water being purchased and 264kg of plastic water bottles were saved from landfill.

6. Reusing and recycling materials 

By using electronic alternatives to physical signage wherever possible, Vivid Sydney significantly reduced its use of corflute and other non-sustainable materials. Where corflute signage is essential, we’ve created generic signage that we can continue using for years to come.

7. Eco-friendly fencing 

By using crowd control barrier covers, we significantly reduced the use of non-reusable materials like cable ties and gaffer tape.

8. Paper-free, wherever possible 

Vivid Sydney used an electronic ticketing system, minimising ticket printing. We also eliminated the handout of physical program guides, maps and flyers, redirecting people to digital versions.

9. Vivid Light lives on 

Vivid Light artists are strongly encouraged to reuse and recycle their materials, and most installations continue to be shown elsewhere and have a new life after the 2023 festival.

10. Most Vivid Sydney visitors use public transport 

In 2023, 63% of people travelling to Vivid Sydney used public transport, with Transport for NSW reporting 3.8 million total public transport trips arriving at the CBD during the festival. We strongly encouraged the public, staff and suppliers to use public transport where possible, and highlighted the ease of public transport via our website and across social media channels.

What’s New for 2024

Refill, not landfill

We’re continuing our mission to reduce the need for purchasing plastic water bottles by encouraging our visitors to bring their own water bottle.

More green power

We’re green-powering even more of our light installations, aiming to increase from last year’s 86% rate of installations grid-connected to 100% green power. Similarly, we’ll continue increasing our use of LED fixtures, which consume less power than other lighting options. And by measuring our energy usage, we will offset any carbon emissions with the purchase of accredited carbon offset credits.

Drastic on plastic

No more single-use plastic bags: we’re aiming to remove them from Vivid Sydney’s sites where possible. We are also removing plastic water dispensers at staff site locations, replacing them with a sustainable-material alternatives.

War on waste

By continuing to move away from single-use and non-recyclable materials wherever we can, Vivid Sydney is lessening its impact on the Earth. This year, we’re adding more digital kiosks and digital signage, with less corflutes or other signage made from non-sustainable materials.

Improving public transport options

Vivid Sydney offers bookable and complimentary accessible mini-bus parking to aged-care facilities and community groups. In addition, our website's trip planning guide is filled with tips for off-peak visits, making planning your trip to Vivid Sydney easier than ever.

Working closely with Transport for NSW, Vivid Sydney aims to expand public transport options to attend the festival. More information will be available closer to the event.

10 ways you can help
  1. Minimise your footprint – use public transport or carpool.
  2. Bring a reusable water bottle or coffee cup.
  3. Follow the signage at our recycling and waste stations.
  4. Avoid single-use plastics.
  5. Go digital – switching to mobile ticketing removes the need for unnecessary printing.
  6. Turn off water taps after washing your hands.
  7. Avoid plastic straws in favour of recyclable paper straws
  8. Consider carbon-offsetting flights or travel.
  9. Engage with Vivid Ideas’ range of humanity focused events.
  10. Consider donating to Vivid Sydney’s Official Charity Partner, Doctors without Borders. Each donation gets them closer to reaching more patients requiring urgent medical attention, no matter who or where they are.


Our sustainability partners

Sydney Water

Sydney Water supplies world-class drinking water and is committed to protecting and caring for our waterways and the community. They provide vital water, wastewater, recycled water and stormwater services to more than five million people in Greater Sydney, the Illawarra and Blue Mountains. Sydney Water have a vision to create a better, more sustainable life, with cooler and greener cities and you can play a part. Refill your water bottle at one of the ten Sydney Water installed water stations on the Vivid Sydney Light Walk. By refilling your bottle, you will reduce the impact on the environment and help you be a conscious water consumer. After the event a sustainability report will show the volume of tap water consumed by event attendees, amount of single-use plastic bottles avoided, amount of waste avoided, and amount of energy saved.

Doctors without Borders

International medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been named charity partner for Vivid Sydney 2024.

For over 50 years MSF has provided medical assistance to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or exclusion from healthcare, regardless of gender, race, religion, creed, or political affiliation.

As an independent, impartial, and neutral organisation, MSF responds rapidly to emergencies and delivers urgent medical treatment in places like Gaza, Sudan or Ukraine. The partnership will provide a platform to share these frontline stories of humanity.

MSF go wherever the need is greatest. By donating throughout Vivid Sydney, you can help ensure that we can be there to provide emergency medical care to those who need it the most.