Sustainability is core to Hay Festival, both on stage and in the development of the Festival as an organisation. Each year, Sustainability Director Andy Fryers curates a series of events on green issues, the Hay on Earth Forum, which runs on the opening day, followed by sessions on related topics throughout the following 10 days. A new initiative, Planet Assembly, was launched in 2023, and proved successful in bringing together environmental experts and a curious and informed audience to develop solutions to today's climate crisis. Over eight days, facilitated by strategy specialist Andy Middleton, the following areas were debated: energy, health, food, mobility, water, fashion, biodivesity, and housing. This culminated on day nine in a 'call to action' session led by Tony Juniper, former director of Friends of the Earth and currently chair of Natural England, and Emily Shuckburgh, academic and director of Cambridge Zero.

In line with Hay Festival's goal to be a leader in sustainability, we carefully select our on-site exhibitors and aim to recognise those with the highest environmental and ethical standards. We are pleased to report that each year the number deserving of special praise is growing.

The Sustainability Awards have been running since 2018 and celebrate the exhibitors and caterers who are going the extra mile and demonstrating innovative and consistent green practices within their businesses and at their Festival stands. The winners of the awards put environmental impact and sustainable systems front and centre of everything they do.

The winners of the 2023 Hay Festival Sustainability Awards are:




Conscious clothing brand, based in Frome, Somerset, specialising in sustainably produced, organic, hand-block- printed and naturally dyed clothing.

● Their aim is to create positive change in the fashion industry, celebrating ancient artisan craft, using traditional techniques integrated with modern designs.

●  They use organic cotton, washed with natural plant enzymes, without bleaching or chemicals in production.

● They are plastic-free and produce zero toxic waste.

● They reuse all waste material for bags.

● No computer inks are used, even care labels are hand-block-printed on natural unbleached cotton with plant-based inks.

● Their natural or 'vegetable' dyes are made from renewable and sustainable natural materials such as plants, roots and minerals – better for the planet and for the consumer.

● Their ethos is slow fashion made in small batches with as low impact production as possible.

● They use Sissoo rosewood to make the prints and give employment to local artisans.

● They are committed to a clear supply chain and can ensure that all production has been made ethically and respectfully. Their teams are paid fair wages and benefit from good working conditions.



Claire Vaughan Designs Ltd

Unique gifts, botanic art and a wide range of homewares.

● Source all materials and products within the UK, exclusively from local and national independents, including paper from Somerset, bone china from the revitalised English Potteries, and wall art mounts and frames handmade in Cardiff.

● New for 2023 – they invested in a air source heat pump, so their whole studio is now run off green electricity.

● They have reduced mileage due to in-house manufacturing for decorating/kilning and use the kiln during the night to avoid peak electricity usage times.

● They use plastic-free packaging and the stand decor comprises crates reused from apple farms.

● All British, recycled cards, no celophane no plastic, they reuse labels, use recycled glass, acid-free paper, recycled gift wrap and unbleached tea towels.



Field and Found

An independent clothing brand housed in a small off-Grid studio in rural Herefordshire, UK.

● Their core value is sustainability and longevity of their products.

● They are avid advocates of sustainable fashion practices creating low-impact clothing and workwear.

● They use reclaimed materials for their stand, make all products locally and off-Grid within their wagon.

● They work with linen and organic cotton, no plastics.

● Linen is a low impact material using the much less water than cotton in its production.

● Their clothes are made to last a lifetime, creating positive change. Solar powered workplace; furniture is recycled or made by them.

● Flowers grown by them decorate their stand.

● They use vegan-friendly cork 'leather' straps.



Rebound Books by L’Arche

Notebooks made out of recycled books in Brecon.

● Part of the international federation of L’Arche Communities where adults with and without learning disabilities live and share life together.

● They transform unwanted books into treasured items.

● Recycle books and paper, old maps, elastic and metal used in binding.

● Process is largely manual and encourages people to give books a longer life.

● Their production practice to stops unwanted books going to  landfill.



Cwtch Soaps

Natural, sustainable beauty products from Mid-Wales

● They are passionate about keeping the farm 100% chemical free and as sustainable as possible. The business model is built around keeping things natural.

● They are close to being carbon-neutral, with solar panels and composting.

● They source nearly all of their ingredients either from their farm (own bees, all the botanicals grown in their polytunnels, fruit).

● They have planted over 650 trees on their farm as paty of a rewilding project.

● They use recycled packaging.



Jane Williams Silks

Slow fashion, eco-printed and painted silk scarves and clothing.

● Jane sources pre-loved silks that would otherwise go to landfill and either sells them as pre-loved items, repairs them or dyes them with sustainable natural dyes.

● Makes her own dyes using locally sourced ingredients, such as onion skins, maple leaves and ferns, coffee grounds from local coffee shops etc.

●  Annually puts on an event each year in her local area and 50% of the profits go straight back into the community field (funding the allotments, kids playground etc).



Cape Cornwall Trading

Slow fashion, using one-off pieces with recycled materials

● All recycled saris and materials.

● Eco packaging

● Owner decorates her stand with bunting made from material offcuts.

● Supports women to find high welfare, fairly paid jobs in the factories she uses.



Woofy’s Brewery

Handcrafted beers from Ross-on-Wye.

● Brewery situated on an old dairy farm, which has solar powered electricity.

●  They get their hops/grain from the farm next door and the grain by-products get fed to the animals so nothing is wasted.

● Recycled packaging, no plastic.

● All the beer is vegan-friendly.




Coaltown Coffee 

● Planet, People and Profit are at the core of their business.

● They focus on ethical sourcing and sustainable production, working together with industry leaders to develop new and innovative green practices that benefit not just the consumer, but the coffee industry as a whole.

●  In 2019, Coaltown became one of the first B Corp certified coffee companies in the UK, which means they are now morally and legally committed to prioritising responsibility to the environment and society, from the experts who produce their coffee at their roastery to the baristas who brew it.

● Direct trade coffee deals to support minority and more remote growers.

● Use compostable coffee bags made by Biotre and exclusively use compostable coffee cups in all sites, made by a fellow B corp, Decent Packaging (https://decentpackaging.co.uk).

● All waste coffee chaff and grounds get donated to local gardening groups for composting. They also educate their wholesale clients to encourage planet-friendly procedures.

● Roastery is run on 100% renewable energy working with Octopus energy – the first UK energy supplier pledging to be carbon negative in the next 10 years.

● Uniforms are made by Fifth Column, which uses 100% organic cotton and inks that are vegan-friendly and free of phthalates.

● All paperwork is primarily digital to reduce waste plus any paper that is used is made from 100% recycled paper.



Fritter Shack 

Vegan and gluten-free food from Mid-Wales.

● They won Silver in 2022 and Gold in 2019

● Their core ethos is sustainability. They have been consistently leading the way so we are recognising them for being the benchmark other caterers look up to.

● Oil is recycled for car use.

● Use eco cleaning products recommended by Environmental Health Officers.

● Subsidised staff travel.

● All eco packaging, minimising food waste.

● All produce is sustainably sourced and they buy local where possible or source bulk ingredients from co-operatives or Fairtrade producers.

● If they are booked at smaller events with no recycling available, they take their rubbish home, sort and recycle.

● They are a vegan caterer as this is low impact.

● Their stand frontage is all upcycled and re-used materials. They donate any surplus food to their local Food Hub.

● Always looking for new ways to lower their carbon footprint.



Good Slice 

Social enterprise pizza company. Ethos is 'eat good, do good'.

● They won Silver in 2019 and Gold in 2022 and are doing great work supporting local suppliers and giving 20p from every pizza sold to charity.

● Use local suppliers for packaging, eco cleaning products from Leominster.

● Whole set-up built in Herefordshire working with local farmers.

● Use biodegradable/compostable plates/boxes. Vegware cups and small pots.

● Staff are camping and walking to site.

● Use recycled scaffolding and board for their counters.

● Fuel is recycled wood blocks.

● Minimal food waste, and if they have any dough leftover they make a batch of pizzas and give to staff or visitors so nothing is wasted.

● Big on car sharing and limiting vehicles to one or two per event to reduce carbon footprint and staying local to reduce travel miles.

● They have funded over 5,000 meals since launching in 2017 – for every pizza they sell, they provide a meal to someone in need working with Glass Door Homeless Charity and offer training to those affected by homelessness with Hotel School.



Yellow Turban Thali 

Vegan, gluten-free South Indian street food.

● They won Bronze in 2019.

● They have been consistent in their methods and ethos so deserve recognition for keeping standards high and for making reuse, reduce and low impact their core ethos.

● Refuse to sell bottled water completely many years ago before everyone else was doing it and stopped serving meat a few years ago as realised this was how to be as low impact as possible.

● They believe that plant-based food is biggest change a caterer can make to be as sustainable as possible.

● Convert some of their waste oil into bio diesel for their van and recycle the rest.

● All of their produce is local, organic and seasonal and as sustainably sourced as possible.

● They minimise food waste and compost what little waste they do produce.



Leaps & Grounds

Social enterprise from the British Red Cross, kickstarting refugee women’s careers, through a blend of extensive training, paid work experience and one to one mentoring.

● Coffee grounds are composted.

● Recyclable and compostable serveware.

● Compostable coffee bags and buckets are re-used back and forth to their coffee supplier Caravan, so a fully circular system.

● They use local, ethical and conscious suppliers – clear supply chains and thoughtful product selections




Locally made sheep's milk ice cream

● They won Bronze in 2022.

● Grow willow for their reed bed to filter waste water.

● Use local fruits, handmade.

● Minimal packaging, local milk sourced, seasonal approach to flavours.


Find out more about our sustainability projects and policies here.